“Israel’s” Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, recently issued a condemnation of those who visit the Har HaBayis (Temple Mount), adding his name to a long list of rabbis, both Zionist and Anti-Zionist, who have stated in no uncertain terms that visiting the site is completely prohibited according to Jewish law. Though he blames violators’ “love of the Land of Israel” for their violation of a prohibition which carries the punishment of spiritual excommunication, I take a more cynical view.
Many people love the Land of Israel without feeling compelled to use its hills and valleys, monuments and shrines as political propaganda posters. There is definitely an inherent holiness in that place, it’s palpable. However, the lines have been blurred for many between serving G-d and serving a state, and an anti-Judaic one at that.
The difference between the transcendent purity of place found in Israel and the “love of the land” that incites violence against Jews and non-Jews alike is the politicization of history that has taken place.
The Temple Mount was a place where Jews served their G-d with holiness and humility, not where they waved flags. There were no anthems sang there, especially not those written by militantly secular Jews who literally hated G-d. The distinction is important. Zionist anti-religiosity wasn’t simply an issue of non-belief. It was a distain fueled by fiery loathing. When a teenage settler ascended the Har HaBayis and proceeded to sing “Israel’s” national anthem “HaTikva” (The Hope) in February of 2016, it was akin to using a place of worship as an outhouse. Whose hope was he referring to? A place synonymous with selflessness and awe of the Almighty has somehow been transformed into a slop house of self-worship.
Never ones to let a scandalous opportunity pass them by, “Israel’s” Knesset recently allowed one day, August 29th, as a “trial”. During that period, Jewish parliamentarians will be escorted up to the Har HaBayis. Just what type of trial and for what purpose has yet to answered, but incitement seems as likely a motive as any.
Joining the periphery of the party on the trial day was MK Yehuda Glick, long-time Temple Mount activist. His frequent illegal forays onto the Har HaBayis began before they became de rigueur amongst Israeli political fire stokers. His most famous escapade was in 2014, where he so rankled local sensibilities that he was shot. In the aftermath of his prohibited visit, several Jews, including a convert and her infant child, were killed. I refer our readers to the legal concept of falsely yelling “bomb!” in a crowded theatre. The shouter is also culpable for whatever injuries or, G-d forbid, deaths that occur. This alone should give Glick, and the rest of the Israeli government, something to think about.