The attempted assassination of veteran activist Yehuda Glick and clashes over the subsequent temporary closure of the Har Habayis have cast a spotlight once again on the struggle for Jewish prayer on the Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – and the angry, often violent Muslim opposition to the prospect of Jewish worship there.
It should be noted that going on to the Har Habayis was deemed assur by the leading poskim of the previous generation.
Despite the continued harassment and threats of violence by Islamist groups, as well as calls by Prime Minister Netanyahu for MKs to hold back, many – including senior officials and MKs – continue to visit the Har Habayis.
Soon after it was reopened, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin made the first high-profile Israeli visit, brushing off the verbal abuse and threats hurled at him by Muslim extremists. Jewish Home MK Shuli Mualem followed suit, under a similar barrage of abuse and even a physical assault, as did Feiglin’s fellow party member, Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotoveli.
During her visit Mualem was accompanied by Secretary General of the Jewish Home party Uri Bank. Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Bank explained why he felt such visits were so important and what his party believes must be done to affect positive change.
As representatives of the State of Israel, visits by MKs are a particularly powerful statement of the will of the people for Israeli sovereignty and Jewish freedom of worship on the Temple Mount, he said. “In order to implement our sovereignty on the Temple Mount we need MKs to ascend regularly.”
Bank also noted that visits by “visibly Jewish,” regular Israelis were just as significant, in order “to show we’re there” and not willing to abandon Judaism’s holiest site in spite of the difficulties.
“For so many years now that has not been the case,” Bank lamented, relating to Gur’s iconic broadcast. “De facto, the Temple Mount is not in our hands and sovereignty has been given to them because they are allowed to do whatever they want – they riot, they throw rocks at the Kotel (Western Wall) plaza and they are never accountable for their actions.”
“It’s only the Jewish side which is forced by the government of Israel, by the Prime Minister, to suffer,” he continued, referring to the much-resented practice of police banning Jews – not Muslims – from the Temple Mount in response to Muslim violence.
“The Muslims riot – so they take Jews off the Temple Mount!” he exclaimed. “And if they riot even further… and throw rocks on the Kotel plaza, the reaction of the authorities is to clear the plaza so people don’t get hurt by rocks, instead of arresting and jailing those responsible.
“So not only have Muslim threats of violence been able to prevent Jews from praying on the Temple Mount for so many years now, when they feel like it they can even stop us praying at the Kotel!”Read more at Arutz Sheva.