Sivan 16, 5769, 08 June 09
by Hillel Fendel
The police stopped a Jew from taking a handful of Temple Mount earth for his friend’s wedding – though they allowed the Waqf to dump the equivalent of truckloads.
The Jew in question is a student at the Elon Moreh hesder yeshiva in the Shomron. He had been asked by his Rosh Yeshiva (dean) to bring back a handful of earth for an upcoming wedding of another student, so that the rabbi could fulfill the usual custom of remembering Jerusalem during the wedding.
The friend, David B., visited the Temple Mount after taking the normal Halakhic [Jewish legal] precautions of immersing in a ritual bath and more. At one point, he bent down to pick up some dirt – and within seconds, a Waqf official was at his side, demanding that he unhand the earth immediately.
An Israeli policeman then arrived on the scene and said that he must adhere to the Waqf official’s orders.
"I refused again," David recounted later. "I told them that I know of no law that prevents me from taking dirt from the site. I know that I am not allowed to pray here or to bow down, but I never heard that I can’t take dirt. The policeman told me, ‘The law here is the Waqf. Do what they tell you and don’t cause provocations.’"
David said he had no choice and in fact let go of the dirt. He then went with the policeman to the nearby police station, "because I was told that there might be a commander there with whom I could talk. But no one was there, and they sent me home."
David wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner, and received a reply stating that earth may not be taken from the Temple Mount because it is an archaeological site.
This reply drew even greater bafflement and shock for David and those to whom he told the story, such as Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor David Harari. This, in light of the truckloads of soil – and precious archaeological remains of Jewish presence in the area – that the police allowed the Waqf to remove from the Temple Mount and dump in the Kidron Valley in 1999.
"This latest incident," Harari told Israel National News, referring to the handful of dirt the police refused to allow David to take, "is a grave example of loss of Israeli sovereignty. Yes, the law requires the preservation of the antiquities, but if the police chose to close its eyes when the Waqf dumped out truckloads of dirt, then it most certainly could have found the way to allow a groom who wishes to remember the Holy Temple to have ten grams of dirt for the purpose."
Harari also turned to Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, criticizing the failure of the police to prevent the Waqf from discarding 6,000 tons of Temple Mount earth.
Harari told members of the Jerusalem and Temple Mount Loyalists Forum in his office that he has noticed a "tendency towards purposeful powerlessness in maintaining Israeli sovereignty and Jewish national pride on the Temple Mount."