Fifty five years ago come Sunday, in the midst of the Six Day War, all Israel was electrified by the announcement of Motta Gur, Commander of the 55th Paratroop Brigade, which liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from the Jordanians: Har Habayit Beyadeinu (הר הבית בידינו – The Temple Mount is in our hands).
In the years that followed, however, that miraculous victory was virtually thrown away by successive Israeli governments.
The first mistake was that of Moshe Dayan, then Minister of Defence, who ordered Gur to remove the Israeli flag which the Israeli soldiers had raised over the holy site, and who personally returned the keys to the Muslim Waqf. Since then, Israeli sovereignty over the holiest site in the world to the Jewish people, has been under attack and steadily weakening.
Just think of it! A Jewish government prevents Jews from praying at our holiest of holy places! And I’m not just talking about organised prayer. Nobody is suggesting converting the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock into synagogues. But the fact is that when Jews visit the Temple Mount, they are accompanied by Waqf guards – with the agreement of the Israel Government and the Israel Police – and any Jew who dares even to utter a prayer under his breath, or don a tallit (prayer-shawl), risks being attacked by Muslims and arrested by the Israel Police for causing a breach of the peace!!!
What other country, after winning a war which had been forced upon it, in the course of which it regained control of its spiritual heart, has EVER made such a concession to its defeated enemies?!
Last week, the Police arrested three Jewish teenagers who had committed the terrible “crime” of prostrating themselves on the Temple Mount and reciting the Shema – possibly the oldest and most important prayer in the Jewish tradition. Among the conditions for their release, they were banned from the Temple Mount for 15 days. They appealed the decision and the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court (Judge Tzion Saharay) overturned the Police ban, remarking: “I believe that one cannot say that prostrating and saying Kriyat Shema can be suspected of being behaviors which violate public order. It is hard to accept a situation in which saying Shema Yisrael on Temple Mount could be deemed a criminal act and one that could bring a violation of the peace“.
Unfortunately, Israeli weakness on this subject, the way successive governments have backed down in face of the “Heckler’s Veto” exercised by the Waqf every time a Jew dares to claim the right (which no Israeli government has actually denied and which the Supreme Court has upheld) of “quiet prayer” on the Temple Mount, has merely fueled the demands of our enemies and their threats to take violent action if Israel dares to alter the Status Quo on the holy site (as the Muslims have been doing for years) – and so the Police, backed by the District Attorney’s Office hurried to appeal to the District Court. The District Court apparently lacks the courage of the lower court and upheld the Police ban.
On the other hand, the Government has not given in (yet) to Hamas demands to curtail the traditional Jerusalem Day March of the Flags (or Dance of the Flags) and prevent the marchers/dancers from entering via the Damascus Gate, though Hamas has threatened to fire rockets at Jerusalem if the march proceeds as planned (which they did, in fact, do last year, even though the route was changed).
To which I say – bring it on, boys. With any luck, your rockets will fall on your precious mosques and blow them to kingdom come.
Of course, should that happen, no doubt CNN would conduct another of their laughable “independent investigations” and find Israel guilty of deliberately destroying the mosques, just as they found Israel guilty, on the testimony of blatantly biased witnesses, of the deliberate assassination of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh, when, in fact, she was almost certainly killed by Palestinian terrorists (and that is why the Palestinians are refusing to produce the bullet which killed her). CNN, as we all know, is incapable of objectivity where Israel is concerned, but concocting this blood libel is a new low, even for them.
As the COVID statistics continue to decline in Israel, and almost all restrictions have now been abolished, this will probably be my last post to contain the title “The Corona Chronicles”. Should further developments make it necessary, that series can always be resumed. I hope, however, that that particular crisis is behind us – and that the rest of the world will be able to say the same in the very near future.
I only hope I am not going to have to start a new series – the Monkey-pox Saga.
In honour of Jerusalem Liberation Day, which, as I said, falls this coming Sunday, I will leave you with one of the loveliest songs I know about Jerusalem – Or V’Yerushalayim (אור וירושלים – Light and Jerusalem), words and music by Yossi Sarig, who was killed in the Yom Kippur War, performed by the Parvarim duo.
It’s such a beautiful song, I feel sure you will want the translation:
Again the silence falls here from the evening sky.
Like the soaring red kite (bird) above the abyss.
And a red sun kisses, like a flaming sword,
The peaks, towers and walls.
I saw a city enveloped in light (or: enveloping light)
And it rises in all the colours of the rainbow
And it plays within me like the ten-stringed harp.
I saw a city enveloped in light.
Behold, the shadow creeps from among the pine-covered hills.
It draws near, secretly, as a lover, to the neighborhoods.
And lo, before him, winking- a myriad eyes of light.
Suddenly his eyes opened as if amazed.
I saw a city enveloped in light (etc)
In the silence of the last night watch the city breaths,
And in the velvet sky a last shard pales.
But dawn’s golden dome is already turning red,
In the warm, soft touch of a young light.
I saw a city enveloped in light (etc).