Your humble servant arrived back in Israel this morning at 12:45 am. Please note that for the next six months, this blog will be published in the morning Israel time and not in the early evening.
UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Tuesday, May 27 2014:
**The bodies of Israelis Emanuel and Miriam Riva arrived in Israel this morning for burial. The couple was gunned down at the Jewish Museum in Brussels several days ago.
Unable to find the perpetrator of the crime, the Belgian police have been reduced to dithering over who the murderer actually was. At a press conference yesterday, Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, blathered:
“From the images we have seen, we can deduce that the perpetrator probably acted alone and was well prepared. It’s still too early to confirm whether it’s a terrorist or an anti-Semitic attack; all lines of investigation are still open.”
Say what? How in the world could the images of the murderer (readily seen in a security camera video on youtube carrying out the crime) inform one whether the murderer acted alone or not? Just because he walked into the Museum alone and pulled the trigger cannot possibly tell us whether he had a legion of confederates outside the museum.
More than this, anti-Semitic attacks in which a gunman murders people are terrorist attacks. Here’s a news flash for the Belgian police: a man who walked into a Jewish Museum and gunned down people inside, is an anti-Semitic terrorist.
**Pope Francis flew out of Ben Gurion this morning shortly after your humble servant flew in.
Let’s see . . . The “Holy Father” hit it off very well with Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (no comments are needed about this trio)–but less so with PM Netanyahu.
Netanyahu spent the day yesterday chiding the Pope repeatedly for his appearance and egregious comments at the separation fence near Bethlehem, and informing the Pope that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are protected.
After listening to endless papal prayers for the Palestinians, for Jerusalem, for this and for that, Netanyahu had the line of the morning when he told the Pope at Ben Gurion: “Bon voyage. We pray for you and you pray for us.”
As your humble servant wrote yesterday, good riddance.
**A Turkish court ordered that Interpol issue warrants for the arrest of former IDF head Gabi Ashkenazi, former naval commander Eliezer Marom, former IDF Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin, and former Air Force Intelligence Head Avishai Levi for their “involvement” in the boarding of the Turkish terrorist ship Mavi Marmara.
And Israel wants to reconcile with Turkey and even pay compensation to the families of IHH terrorist who tried to kill Israeli soldiers?
Today we have the last blog in our series on the Dome of “the Rock”. In just the space of time between when the first installment in this series appeared a couple of weeks ago and today, there have been numerous incidents in Jerusalem which underscore the importance of the world seeing through the misconception the Dome creates of a “Muslim Jerusalem.”
The truly appalling fact is that this misconception is supported by the Israeli government and its minion the Jerusalem Police at every turn.
Take yesterday for example.
On the one hand, we had the Jerusalem Police preventing five “right wing activists” (the Police phrase) from entering Jerusalem. The fear was that these patriotic Jewish nationalists would disrupt the Pope’s mass in the room above the Tomb of David–the room in which Jesus supposedly held the “last supper.”
Forget the fact that the pope was determined to change the status quo with full knowledge that if the mass were held, Jews could not pray in the room below. What was amazing was that the Netanyahu government not only sanctioned the mass but also would not even allow a protest of it.
And at the same time, less than a mile away, Arab nationalists were marching down Sultan Suleiman street with black flags emblazoned with Muslim verses and a picture of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Arab marches like this now take place almost every day with absolutely no interference from the Jerusalem police.
If this reminds you of something it should.
It is the same trampling of Jewish rights as on the Temple Mount where the government will permit millions of Muslims to pray, demonstrate, march, and wave PLO and Hamas flags, but will not allow a single Jew to pray at the holiest site in Judaism–a place under complete Israeli sovereignty.
So let’s go back to where we stopped several days ago. We had just passed the years 1948 to 1967 during which time the Jordanians and Palestinians ethnically cleansed the Old City of Jerusalem of every Jew while blowing up Jewish houses of worship.
No Jews had gone to the Temple Mount for almost a generation.
The date is June 6, 1967. It is the second day of the Six Day War. Israeli paratroopers under the command of Col. Mordechai Gur had fought their way to the Temple Mount. In one of the most stirring moments from that War, Gur relayed to all of Israel the glorious news that “The Temple Mount is in our hands again!”
Gur ordered a few of his soldiers to climb up the Dome and unfurl an Israeli flag on top.
For four hours, that flag flew proudly over the Foundation Stone, over the site of the First and Second Temples, over the holiest place in Judaism.
And then, Moshe Dayan inexplicably ordered it taken down.
Inexplicably because it Dayan also uttered these words at that moment: “This compound was our Temple Mount. Here stood our Temple during ancient time, and it would be inconceivable for Jews not to be able freely to visit this holy place now that Jerusalem is under our rule.”
But the most moving descriptions of that day came from IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren:
“When we arrived on the Temple Mount, I blew the shofar, fell on the ground and prostrated myself in the direction of the Holy of Holies, as was customary in the days when the Temple still stood. … [Later] I found General Moti Gur sitting in front of the Omar Mosque. He asked me if I wanted to enter, and I answered him that today I had issued a ruling permitting all soldiers to enter because soldiers are obligated to do so on the day when they conquer the Temple Mount in order to clear it of enemy soldiers and to make certain that no booby traps were left behind. … I took along a Torah scroll and a shofar and we entered the building. I think that this was the first time since the destruction of the Temple almost two thousand years ago that a Torah scroll had been brought into the holy site which is where the Temple was located. Inside I read Psalm 49, blew the shofar, and encircled the Foundation Stone with a Torah in my hand. Then we exited.”
A few weeks later Rabbi Goren created a synagogue on the Mount, only to have Dayan intervene and remove it.
In the final months of 1967, the Israeli government decreed that Jews and Christians could visit the Mount with no impediments–but added, absurdly, that they could not pray there.
And so the situation remained until September 0f 2000. In fact, in 1985, your humble servant entered the Dome of “the Rock” with no problem whatsoever. The feeling of being at the Foundation Stone, where the Ark of the Covenant had been placed, and where the Holy of Holies was located was one sheer exhilaration.
In September of 2000, the second Palestinian intifada broke out–and the unbelievable result was a return to the situation of 1948-1967; no Jews were allowed on the Mount. What is even more unbelievable is that when the Mount reopened in August of 2003 to non-Muslims, the Islamic Wakf was suddenly given the power to control if and when non-Muslims could visit the Mount.
Today, the Islamic Wakf even has its own police who patrol the Mount and work with the Jerusalem police to squash any semblance of Judaism or Israel on the Mount (no prayers, no Torahs, no flags).
No non-Muslims are permitted inside the Al-Aksa Mosque or the Dome of “the Rock”. And this despite the fact that Israeli law specifically allows freedom of worship at every holy site in Israel.
In short, no Jew can visit the holiest site in Judaism.
In summary, your humble servant hopes that the next time you see a picture of the “Dome of the Rock”, you will see it for what it is: a building built over the holiest place in Judaism–the Foundation Stone.
The next time you see a picture of the structure, remember that for 2,964 years Jews have prayed there (with only a few exceptions).
The next time you see a picture of the structure, remember that Muslims are latecomers to the site–and that even the early Muslims in Jerusalem sanctioned Jewish prayer in the Dome.
And if you insist on looking “at” the building, remember it was designed and built by Christians who modeled it after churches that were in the vicinity at the time.
In fact, you may want to begin to use the correct terminology for the site–in Hebrew and in Judaism, the Dome of the Rock is “Kipat HaSela“–“the protective covering of the Stone”.