Temple Mount: From Hamas Broadcasts to Jewish Prayer Ban
reprinted from Arutz 7
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) Public Security Minister Avi Dichter announced on Tuesday the government's official policy regarding Jewish prayer on the site of the Holy Temple. He made it quite simple: "Jews may pray on their holiest site - but only in their heart."
Dichter explained that government policy on the Mount is dictated by the wish to ensure that bloodshed not occur. He said that Jews moving their lips in prayer on the Mount, which the Moslems have sanctified as their own, can be seen as a Jewish provocation that could lead to bloodshed.
Knesset Members Aryeh Eldad and Uri Ariel - both of the National Union party and both residents of Kfar Adumim in the Jordan Valley - had submitted a request to pray on the holy site, and Dichter's response was the result.
Though the two had pledged not to perpetrate "group prayer" or "demonstrative prayer," both of which have been banned for Jews at the Temple Mount, Dichter said that the "outer trappings" of private prayer - namely, moving of lips - render even that forbidden. In his response to the MKs, Dichter noted that the only option for Jews who wish to pray on their most sacred site "is to exchange thoughts with his G-d in his heart."
The New Jewish Congress responded with barely-controlled fury, issuing this statement:
"Minister Dichter's comments demonstrate his, and this government's, total disconnect from the reality of the Temple Mount, from the Jewish people, and from the government's obligations towards both. This is yet another indication that the government of Ehud Olmert has ceased to be a Jewish government altogether, having not the slightest connection with the Jewish people."
Just two weeks ago, the government did nothing when Fatah allowed Hamas to broadcast its anti-Jewish incitement directly from the Temple Mount. The New Jewish Congress noted the irony of the juxtaposition of the loud and clear Hamas broadcasts and the banned silent Jewish prayer emanating from the same site - that of the Holy Temple.
"In reality," the statement continued, "the Jewish people enjoy freedom of religious expression, including prayer and Torah study, everywhere - except on the Temple Mount, their only holy site."
"Minister Dichter's comments convey hatred and discrimination towards the Jewish people," the New Jewish Congress stated. "In due time, this government will be held accountable for its actions and will stand trial in a Jewish court of justice that will be established by the Jewish people."
Request for Communal Jewish Prayer
Just last week, four top Temple Mount activists and New Jewish Congress leaders - Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Rabbi Yosef Elbaum, Prof. Hillel Weiss, and Rabbi Chaim Richman - penned a letter to Prime Minister Olmert asking for specific days on which Jews would be allowed to pray atop the Temple Mount.
The letter states that while now, Jews are degraded on the Temple Mount, "it is our position that if the stature of the Jews on the Temple Mount were to change positively, then the standing of the State of Israel would immediately improve. This would effect a positive change for the benefit and security of all its citizens."
Noting that the very day of mourning prayers for the six million Holocaust victims was also the day on which Hamas incitement to violence and death to Jews emanated from the Temple Mount - "we view [this juxtaposition of] events as a horrific failure of this government" - the signatories wrote, "We demand that the Government of Israel allow the Jewish people to have freedom of religious expression on the Temple Mount. Additionally, the government must establish special fixed days for Jewish communal prayer in fixed locations on the Temple Mount. This move will serve as evidence of Jewish sovereignty on the Mount."
The specific days on which the Jews should have rights to pray communally atop the Temple Mount, according to the writers, are: Passover Eve [a day on which Jews are commanded to bring the Paschal lamb - a right that Israel's High Court of Justice has recognized, in case #2955/07], Passover, Sukkot, Shavuot, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Chanukah (first day), Israel Independence Day, Jerusalem Day, and the three fast days commemorating the destruction of Jerusalem (Tisha B'Av, Tevet 10, and Tammuz 17). In addition, once every seven years, at the Hakhel Ceremony concluding the Shemittah (Sabbatical) year, Jews should be allowed to pray at the holy site.
"If you do not accept our appeal and demand," the letter concludes, "we shall understand that the chasm separating the Jewish people - whose values have remained unchanged since time immemorial - and the current composition of the Government of Israel, as reflected by its policies, is immeasurably widening and deepening with each passing day."
Israel bars Jews from moving lips in prayer on Temple Mount
reprinted from World Net Daily
Even slightest 'sign' of Jewish worship prohibited at Judaism's holiest site
by Aaron Klein
Temple Mount in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM - Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount in any way whatsoever, even if they only move their lips or demonstrate other "signs" of prayer on Judaism's holiest site, ruled Avi Dichter, Israel's public security minister.
Dichter was responding to a recent decision by two Knesset members who said they would ascend the Temple Mount quietly - without informing the media or making any protest - and attempt to pray on the holy site.
The lawmakers, Uri Ariel and Aryeh Eldad from Israel's National Union Party, said Muslim prayer services take place throughout the day in the many mosques and Islamic religious schools situated on the holy site, and Jews should be able to pray as individuals on the Mount.
In a letter to the lawmakers, Dichter, Israel's highest ranking public security officer, wrote that while police cannot generally arrest a person "conversing with his maker ... however it is possible to carry out an arrest for expressions of outward and demonstrative signs [of prayer on the Temple Mount]."
Dichter's use of the phrase "conversing with his maker" mimicked the terminology used by Ariel and Eldad to describe prayer.
Dichter wrote his interpretation of Israeli law "is in line with the rationale that bans Jews from praying at the site, in light of serious concerns that this will serve as a provocation, resulting in disorder, with a near certain likelihood of subsequent bloodshed."
Israeli restrictions bar Jewish groups from praying on the Temple Mount and only allow Jews to ascend for certain hours on some days, while the Mount is open to Muslims all year.
According to strict interpretation of a 1973 Israeli law, a Jew as an individual can pray on the Temple Mount as long as the prayer is not uttered as a protest of Jewish rights to the holy site. But Israeli police forbid all Jewish prayer at the site, although there have been a few instances recently in which Jews prayed there without being arrested.
While Dichter vehemently opposed even the slightest pretence of a Jew praying on the Mount, his security ministry and the Israeli police have not acted to halt the Hamas terror group's daily broadcast of Islamic prayer services from the Mount's Al Aqsa Mosque, considered the third holiest site in Islam.
WND broke the story that Hamas last month starting broadcasting the Mount's daily Muslim prayers on the group's official radio station, Al Aqsa Radio. The services are broadcast alongside anti-Semitic commentary, including incitement against Jews.
The official Hamas radio network announced it would continue airing exclusive daily streams of Muslim morning services from the Temple Mount, and, indeed, the broadcasts have continued as scheduled, with this morning's prayer services streamed live by Hamas.
Hamas radio is heard throughout Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"Our broadcast is a victory for the Al Aqsa Mosque, which is suffering from Judaization efforts imposed by the Zionist government," said Rami Kaoud, a manager at Al Aqsa Radio. "Broadcasting daily radio is a way to bring Al Aqsa to the Gaza Strip and challenge the siege imposed on us by the Zionist entity."
All broadcasts from the Mount must be approved by the Waqf, which guard the Muslim entrances to the Temple Mount along with the Israeli police. Broadcasts must also be approved by the Israeli police, but cameramen and reporters routinely enter the site from Muslim gates to broadcast without prior police approval as long as Waqf agents allow the entry.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, a spokesman for the New Jewish Congress, a group of religious Zionist leaders, told WND Dichter's comments today restricting Jewish prayer "convey hatred and discrimination towards the Jewish people."
"Dichter's statement is yet another indication that the government of [Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert has ceased to be a Jewish government altogether, having not the slightest connection with the Jewish people."
Dichter is a member of Olmert's ruling Kadima party.
The Temple Mount is site of the First Jewish Temple, which was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt at the same location in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's "presence" dwelt. The Dome of the Rock, adjacent to the Al Aqsa Mosque, now sits on the site.
The Temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.
The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.
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