Israeli Paratroopers at Kotel, June 1967
When Israeli paratroopers under the command of Col. Motta Gur recaptured Jerusalem after 19 years of Jordanian occupation he radioed his superiors “The Temple Mount is in Our Hands”. We wrote about that climactic moment in the June Six Days of War in 1967 in a May 2012 Iconoclast post on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Jerusalem Day that celebrates the reunification of Israel’s eternal capital. The IDF cleared off the plaza before the Kotel, the Western Wall as units stormed the Temple Mount with the Al Aksa Mosque and the Golden Dome of the Rock. It was a glorious moment reclaiming the ancient Jewish provenance, now scurrilous denied by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas intoning the 100 year old blood libel of the Haj Amin al-Husseini that “the A; Aksa Mosque is in Danger”. Ten Israel Jews and more than 50 Palestinian and Israel Arabs are dead in the latest Intifada that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh calls the al Quds of Jerusalem ‘uprising”. Secretary of State Kerry spent time in Amman, Jordan with King Abdullah II and PA President Abbas trying to come up with a solution monitoring activity on the Temple Mount, but still affirming a policy established by Moshe Dayan in 1967 effectively ceding control to a Waqf appointed by Jordanian Muslim religious leaders denying the right of Jews to pray on the revered platform. This was supposed to be the ‘calming” solution that has yet to rein in the violence raging in episodes of murderous knifings, shootings, and car rammings in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and inside Israel. All driven by hateful incitement by Palestinian leaders like Abbas, Erekat, Hamas leaders Hassan Youssef and Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, Israeli Arab extremist Sheikh Raed Salah seeking to establish a global Caliphate on the sacred platform. It has been compounded by seditious United Arab List Members of the Knesset making common cause with the rioting Palestinians, the subject of an op ed in yesterday’s New York Times by Shmuel Rosner, “Israel’s Irresponsible Arabs”. Rosner, a Times contributing op ed writer, cited rising concern among Israel’s majority Jews:
Israeli Jews have little patience for blunt dissent or provocation, and little patience for nuance. This is an ugly truth. Too many Israeli Jews, upon encountering an Arab — be he a pharmacist or a supermarket cashier or a cab driver — are thinking: Will he pull a knife? Does he intend to kill me?
In an opinion poll published earlier this month, 92 percent of Jewish Israelis said they would feel “unsafe” walking in a predominantly Arab city like Nazareth. Eighty percent said they would feel unsafe even in a mixed city — like Haifa, Acre or Lod, where both Jews and Arabs live.
A responsible Arab leadership would consider these feelings and remember that the Arab community has a stake in coexistence, in Israel’s success, and in partnership with the Jewish majority. They may also be wise to remember that provoking a tense majority could have grave consequences, first and foremost, for the minority population.
Today’s Wall Street Journal, has a rebuttal by Jerold Auerbach, professor emeritus of History at Wellesley College near Boston, “A Boy’s Discover Rebuts Temple Mount Revisionism”. Auerbach writes of a discovery by a 10 year old boy of a 3,000 old seal from the time of King David, testimony of the ancient Jewish provenance found in the archeological scree from the underground Mosque construction by the Waqf controlling the temple mount. Auerbach noted:
If it is ironic that the Muslim excavation, undertaken to build an underground mosque, ultimately confirmed Jews’ historical claims, it is no less ironic than the fact the Waqf came to rule the site at Israel’s instigation.
What is clear is that for years the Muslim Waqf has continued to oversee excavations below the surface of the Temple Mount, with callous disregard for what archaeologists could learn about the Mount’s Jewish history in antiquity.
That is a reference to the ironic action by then Defense Minister in 1967, Gen. Moshe Dayan that ceded control to the Waqf:
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan had other ideas about Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount. A secular Israeli, he relied on a rabbinical consensus that Jews were forbidden to set foot on the Mount lest they risk desecrating the unknown site of the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the Jewish temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant.
After declaring that “we have reunited the city, the capital of Israel, never to part it again,” Dayan met with Muslim leaders inside the Dome of the Rock. An agreement was reached: The Waqf ban on Jews visiting the Temple Mount would be ended—even if many preferred to continue to observe the rabbinical prohibition—but Jews wouldn’t be allowed to pray there.
Shakespeare, not the Bible or Quran, proclaimed: “What’s past is prologue.” Dayan’s concession prepared the way for conflict on the Temple Mount that continues today. The Palestinians’ Second Intifada erupted in September 2000 after Likud leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount—not to pray but to assert the legitimacy of a Jewish presence at the most ancient Jewish holy site. He was widely castigated for asserting a historical truth.
Not that Jews ever doubted their religious roots at Temple Mount, but now they have a 10-year-old boy to thank for providing them with a three-millennia-old artifact that refutes modern propaganda designed to rewrite history. Just as the seal was used long ago as evidence of authority, so today it puts a stamp of approval on Jewish claims to their history at the holiest site in Jerusalem.