Wednesday, July 05, 2017


We love it when truth triumphs. It's why we love Nikki Haley, who seems astonished that she is Israel's heroine for simply telling the truth. 


Why should there be such a fuss for saying what is, asks Haley, again and again? But the fact is, a false and evil narrative regarding Israel has held sway for many years. It's frustrating to tell the truth and be called a liar. It feels like the sun shining is on us when Haley does her thing at the UN. It feels like cleansing sunlight. It makes our hearts swell. It makes us feel vindicated, even though we know we are right in our hearts.

Someone understands us! Someone knows the truth.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's office has, from time to time, issued videos of the prime minister telling the truth. Hard truths, that people don't want to hear. He has an impressive gravity in these videos. He's believable. It feels good to watch these videos and they always go viral.

There was his "The bad news and the good news" video about how minorities are treated in Israel. A clip like this draws views because we Jews have a yearning to show the world the basic goodness of Israel and Israeli society. This video helps fills that empty spot where pride wants to be and helps us soldier on.



Then there was Netanyahu's "Ever wonder what fake news is?" video. It ends with him crumpling the new (piece of lying, no good) Hamas document into a ball and pitching it into a wastebasket. Like his bomb diagram at the UN, it's a sight gag, but one that is eminently effective. Here, it seems almost daring, dashing, like he's saying, "Come at me, Bro!" to Hamas, the bad guys, simply by telling the truth!! That one had WAY more views than the bad news/good news clip.


Why is it then, that when it comes to our holiest site and freedom of religion, all bets are off and the truth is swept under the rug? How come we don't see a video about Jewish prayer rights emanating from the PM's office? What's UP with that??

It really should be so simple, so clear. The Israeli High Court has upheld the right to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount over the years. This although the court does allow the Israeli security forces leeway in preventing Jewish prayer if it will cause disorder (translation: Arabs will riot if Jews' lips move). That loophole has been exploited by security forces to prevent Jews from so much as making a blessing on a drink of water while touring the Mount. And in summer, it gets hot. If you're religious you can't take a drink without making a brocha, a blessing, which means, you can't go on the Mount.

Still, there has been some change for the better, alluded to by Jenni Heltay Menashe, a Temple Mount tour guide, in this recent interview. New people are in charge of security since Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and they seem to have a more relaxed and positive attitude about Jewish rights on the Mount. Perhaps that's why Tom Nisani and Sara Lurcat dared to very quietly get married on the Temple Mount last week. 



As you can see in the above clips, there's neither white gown nor flowers. Just a slipping on of a ring on a finger and a few quietly mumbled words. Because even this is seen as "creating disorder" (translation: Arabs will riot and kill Jews).

But it makes no sense!!!

The point of the High Court's ruling was to grant freedom of religion, and not to make Jews skulk and whisper and pussyfoot around on their holiest site. The Temple Mount is ours, on our sovereign territory. If we do not dare to take ownership, it will be lost to us.

In placating the Waqf, the Muslim religious authority, we infantilize Muslims. We turn them into toddlers experiencing their terrible twos. We dare not do anything that could set them off. Thus, the toddlers rule their parents.

It is clear that Nisani and Lurcat respected the ruling of the High Court. The ceremony was modest and quiet. To a fault, in my humble opinion.

But guess what happens next: the police summon Nisani for questioning, to "clarify the event."

Nissani said no. He's not coming in to be questioned and if they want to arrest him, they know where to find him. He said, "I married my wife on the Temple Mount, which is not a violation of the law. I call upon all couples to ascend to the holiest place in the world to sanctify their marriages, as this is the most natural thing for a Jew to do."

Yosef Rabin, International Spokesman for "The Movement for Temple Renewal" issued the following response to this state of affairs, "We no longer live under British rule, when Jews were arrested by British Police for blowing the Shofar at the Western Wall. It is time for the police force of the Jewish State to cease acting like them and allow full religious rights for Jews on their holiest site, the Temple Mount."

Because the truth is, in a democracy, people have the right to pray or get married where they choose. They have full access to holy sites and the right to pray at these places, whether they are regular, ordinary people or even an MK like Yehudah Glick, whose right to ascend to the Temple Mount has been a monumental tug of war.

The truth is, Israel liberated the Temple Mount in 1967. It is ours. That is the truth.

Why do we not cherish this truth as we do so many others? The prime minister with his truth about how minorities are treated in Israel. His "Come at me, Bro" toss of a crumpled Hamas document into a wastebasket, Nikki Haley beaming sunlight at the UN. Why should our right to prayer on the Temple Mount be quelled and put down, hushed up and kept out of sight?

Why do we pretend to be a democracy with freedom of religion?

Why should Tom Nisani be called in for questioning by the police for exercising his rights as a citizen of Israel? Is this Soviet Russia?

Here is the truth: Jews do not have freedom of religion in the Holy Land. Not because some Jews need an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel. They already have that. But because no Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, no matter what the Israeli Supreme Court rules.

What is it that the Israeli leadership fears in granting this, our most basic right as Jews in the Holy Land? 

The right to prayer on Har HaBayit, the holiest site in the world.



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