Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Plea for the Temple Mount

I would like to begin with a quote from the Book of Haggai “Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying: Is this the time for you to dwell in paneled houses, while this house sits in ruins?” As Israel capitulates to America and enforces a building freeze in Judea and Samaria, the words from Haggai ring loudly in our ears! Since the liberation of the Temple Mount in 1967 there has been an ironclad freeze on anything Jewish on the Temple Mount. No Jewish prayer or study and certainly no building. It is no wonder that the freeze has now spilled over to the rest of Israel. I do not blame the Arabs; I blame the Jewish Nation for not stepping forward and reclaiming the Temple Mount. How can we talk about building the Land of Israel when we have allowed its center to remain in ruins?

I have been privileged to visit our Temple Mount numerous times. Each time that I go to the Mount of God, I think of the verse from Psalms 24, "Who will go up to the Mount of the Lord and who will stand His holy place?One with clean hands and pure heart. " Before I can enter the Holy Mount, I am given a stern warning from the police, "If we catch you, swaying, praying, singing, dancing, bowing or closing your eyes, you will be arrested for incitement to violence. "  Aside from the humiliation of being barred from praying on our holiest site, we also have to go through a humiliating ritual of having to stand in a corner while all secular and non-Jewish tourists get to go up first.   

Once On the Mount I have to watch as the foreigners (Arabs), desecrate it. Did you know that Arab children play soccer and families gather for picnics,on the Holy Mount? So aside from the grave insult of being prevented from praying, I am forced to watch these obscenities take place.

From the very place that the Temple priests brought the holy sacrifices, Arabs now gather for picnics. From the very place that the Levites sang the sweet praises of the Lord, the Muslim leaders call for the death of our people and the destruction of our State. The place of Oleh Regel (pilgrimage) has become the place for Kadur Regel (soccer) by Arab children.

Are these the type of people that should be allowed upon the Mount of the Lord? Are these the type of people who should be standing in His Holy Place?  I say enough! The time has come to end this humiliation.

It is time to demand that Jews be allowed to ascend and pray unrestricted on the Temple Mount! It is time to demand that the police put an end to the soccer games and the picnics, make the Arabs respect our holiest site! It is time to demand that the police arrest and put on trial the Muslim leaders who use the Mount to call for our destruction! Does the verse say "And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem " or "the word of Mohammad ". Perhaps I am becoming confused?

However the silence is deafening! Where are the rabbis, communal leaders and Knesset Members? Why are they not speaking and crying out? How can we remain silent as the Arabs with the consent of the Israeli government, destroy the very remains of the Temple itself? How do we justify protesting for the Sabbath, while ignoring the Mount. Does not Maimonides teach “As it is written: ‘My Sabbath you shall guard and my Temple you shall fear’, just as guarding the Sabbath is eternal, fearing the Temple is eternal as well”.  

As liaison of  HaTenu'ah LeChinun HaMikdash (Organization for Temple Renewal)  to North American Jewish communities, I am asking for your help. We here in Israel, who carry on the daily struggle for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount are in desperate need of your assistance. Aside from all the daily humiliation and nullification of our religious rights on the Temple Mount, we have also lost the right to protest this terrible situation. If we should protest loudly the Israeli police would start a campaign of persecution against us as they have done to others in the past. The police called in the head of our organization Rabbi Yosef Elboim for questioning for simply organizing trips to the Mount. The visits were organized within the framework of our "visitation hours ". Currently Jews have visitation hours Sunday- Thursday 7:30am-10:00pm and from 12:30pm-1:30pm. A bride was arrested  a few weeks ago along with her father on her wedding day for the crime of “moving her lips in silence”. 

We must bring the Temple Mount back into our national heart and mind and begin to restore her to her former glory. Yes this will be a long difficult path, but so was our return to Zion after 2,000 years of exile. Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents had their mission and we have ours. When Ehud Barak went to Camp David, Arafat (yemach shemo v'zichro) asked him a simple question: "You neither have a Jewish structure nor Jewish presence on the Mount, so why should you maintain control? ". The only answer Barak could give was that: "Religious Jews go up every day from HaTeun’ua LeChinun HaMikdash! ". At that time our organization was only about a dozen members; a dozen Jews saved the Temple Mount from total abandonment!  Negotiations may very well start up again and who knows if Barak's answer will work a second time. We need to entire Jewish People behind us!

What can Jews outside of Israel do?
1.      Protest outside of Israeli Embassies and Consulates. This can be done by organizing family and friends. Speak to your Rabbi and lay leaders and urge them to organize a peaceful rally on behalf of Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount. 
2.  Call, Fax and Email Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Urge him to allow for unrestricted Jewish access and Prayer on the Mount immediately! Tel: 972-2-6705555; Fax: 972-2-5664838; Prime.Minister' <Prime.Minister'>

 The entire Jewish People across the word must work to insure Jewish rights and a Jewish future on the Temple Mount. We did not return to the Mount after 2,000 years so that we could lose it in 40!  When we as a nation act, then we will have regained our national pride and sanity. Until then I cry for our self-inflicted shame.

Yosef Rabin 
Liaison to North American Jewish Communities
HaTenu'ah LeChinun HaMikdash (Organization for Temple Renewal)

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