Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Hypocrisy of Israel

As a technical writer, I can tell you that the hardest part of documenting a product is when it is a moving target, when the parameters keep changing. As a parent, I can tell you that if your rules keep changing, you'll never really be able to get your children to listen to you. As a voter, I can tell you that the more a politician changes his/her position, the less likely it is that I will vote for him or her.

As an Israeli, I condemn any attempt to deny the followers of a religion access and the right to practice their religion on their holy sites. We as a nation would never enter the Bahai Temple in Haifa and remove all the Bahais. We have never attempted to close the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to Christians (and our police regularly enter only to stop Christian sects from killing each other (as told to me on three separate occasions by Israeli police).

We have only closed off the Temple Mount to Muslims after incidents of violence and even then, for very limited times and usually only restricting access to young males and not the entire Muslim population wishing to visit.

But when it comes to the Jews, our government rarely hesitates to block our access, restrict our rights, humiliate and insult Jewish visitors. And worse, the rules are arbitrarily enforced and constantly changing at the whim of the Jewish police and Arab WAQF who watches and waits to pounce because there is little more that can drive them to violence than the site of a Jewish man or woman whispering a prayer. Even moving one's lips is enough to get you thrown off the Temple Mount...if you are a Jew.

When you expect rules to be followed, but keep changing them, the less respect you deserve, the less likely it is that anyone will uphold them.

The Jewish people have been fighting for centuries, for millennia, to be free - free to live in our land, free to worship our God, free to raise our children and practice our religion. And we have been successful throughout the world. The Soviet Union has collapsed and the Jews can now freely come here and, for the most part, practice Judaism if they choose to be there. Such it is in most of Europe, North, Central, and South America.

Really, it is only in Arab countries, Muslim lands, where Jews are restricted. For the most part, they have left; only small pockets of Jews remain. Syria has no Jews; Afghanistan might have one Jew left. Egypt has less than 40 and Yemen less than 20. There are reportedly around 35 in Bahrain and less than 10 in Iraq.

Only in Arab countries...and Israel, are Jews restricted from where they can travel, where they can pray. And not just pray. In Israel, for Jews wanting to visit the single most holy place in all of the world, the list of what we are not to do is both arbitrary and growing.

Can you imagine a sign such as this one placed at the entrance to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv forbidding entrance to non-Jews?

And the list of things we cannot it least as of an hour or so ago...

You aren't allowed to pray, if you are a Jew, on the Temple Mount.

You aren't allowed to move your lips in silent prayer, if you are a Jew on the holiest site known to our religion

You aren't allowed to whisper, lest you actually be saying a prayer, if you are a Jew.

You aren't allowed to bless your people, your family, your children, if you are a Jew, unless you are a bereaved father who manages to "sneak" the prayer into a speech given during guided tour of the Temple Mount after your child has been brutally murdered, stabbed to death in her bed.

As of this past week, you aren't allowed to cry, even if you are overwhelmed with the holiness of the place and the amazing opportunity to enter this holy place.

And as of today, you apparently aren't even allowed to mourn up on the Temple Mount. You aren't allowed to rip your clothing up there, if you are a Jew, because the guards who honor Muslim sensitivities above all others are Jewish and they know that a Jew in mourning rips their clothes as a sign of their grief.

That's right. Can you imagine? A Jew is not allowed to whisper, cry, rip his shirt in grief. If he does, an Arab will come over and tell a Jewish policeman...look at him, look what he is doing. Get him out of here...and the policeman will.

This is what we have come to? This is the freedom we have in our land? That even our tears are considered enough of an insult to demand our being denied access to OUR Temple Mount?

(Video from 0404 News agency)

Tell me, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what logic are you attempting to convey about the importance of the Temple Mount to others, when you fail to uphold our rights yourself?

Yes, the world should watch the video you are so proud to announce (below) and attend the seminar you are so desperately offer the UN. Perhaps, Mr. Prime Minister, you should consider attending it yourself.

Even as the Prime Minister of the State of Israel...EVEN as our Prime Minister, you do not have the right to stop us from praying on the Temple Mount.  Why can't you just say that if Jews praying on the Temple Mount offends our enemies, that is simply proof of what is wrong with them?

You are a hypocrite if you call to congratulate our athletes in Rio for standing proud against Arab intimidation there, but fail to show the same pride here. Yes, Or Sasson was correct in offering his hand to the Egyptian athlete, even knowing that there was a good chance that good old Islam El Shehaby was going to refuse to shake it. So why is it wrong for a Jew to pray? What is wrong with you, Mr. Prime Minister?

Let us be free to pray in every corner of our land, as we are free all over the world. Let us return in pride to the Temple Mount, as we have returned in pride to all other corners of our land. Call it. Announce it. Demand it. From this moment onward, Jews WILL pray on the Temple Mount and if the Arabs turn violence, THEY will be removed, not us. If THEY provoke us, the Temple Mount will be closed every mourning for four hours a day - and only Jews will be allowed up there...and Christians, because we are not afraid of Christian prayers...and even Muslims, if they promise not to be violent because we are not afraid of Muslim prayers either. Let all who are prepared to pray on the Temple Mount be allowed to do so in peace. Remove those who cause violence, not those who are the victims.

And if you won't do it, Mr. Prime Minister of the State of Israel, then remove yourself. I think, Mr. Prime Minister, it isn't only UNESCO and the UN that needs that history lesson.

1 comment:

Terry Huffman said...

Great article Paula Stern. I'm not a Jew, but I want to hear voices like yours and certain others. It makes me feel like I'm being connected to something great: A perspective that I wd.n't have on my own. Israel is a light....

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