ZOA Criticizes Bennett’s Rewarding Arab Terrorism/Threats by Closing Judaism’s Holiest Site, Temple Mount, to Jews
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
ZOA opposes Israeli Prime Minister Bennett’s government appeasing Arab terror attacks on Jews and Jewish sites by punishing the Jewish victims. During recent days, Arab terrorists blocked the sole Jewish entrance to the Temple Mount with boulders and broken glass (to injure Jews who traditionally ascend the Temple Mount barefoot); collected rocks and rebar in Al-Aqsa mosque and threw rocks, fireworks and rebar at Jews on the Temple Mount and at Jews praying below at the Kotel (the Western Wall); stoned buses carrying Jews to the Kotel, injuring at least seven Jewish passengers; and beat up Jews wearing tallises on the way to pray at the Kotel.
It is unconscionable that in response to all this Palestinian Arab terror, Bennett’s government closed the holiest Jewish site in the world – the Temple Mount (site of the First and Second Holy Jewish Temples) – to Jewish visits for 12 days – including part of Pesach (one of the three festivals during which Jews traditionally visit the Temple Mount from time immemorial). In addition, Israeli police under Bennett’s administration sought to prevent Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu from holding a solemn prayer at Davidson Square in Jerusalem’s Old City (long a Jewish majority area); and declined a request for a traditional Israeli Jewish flag march around the Old City walls.
The proper response to the recent Arab terror would have been to open the Temple Mount to more Jewish worship. Open all twelve gates of the Temple Mount to Jewish and all worshipers – instead of limiting Jews and other non-Muslims to one gate, where they can be attacked. Close the Temple Mount to the Arab terrorists. All people of all faiths coming in peace should be able to pray there. See also: ZOA’s Facts About the Temple Mount (Har Habayit) for more information about the Temple Mount’s eternal, holy Jewish connection and why there should be no more discrimination against the Jewish people’s right to worship in the Jewish people’s most sacred place. The Temple Mount is not the holiest place for Muslims; Mecca and Medina are the Muslims holiest places. The Temple Mount was holy to Jews before there was even a religion of Islam. Notice it’s called the Temple Mount — not the Mosque Mount — because the Jewish Temples were there before the Muslims built a Mosque in that area.
The Bennett government’s dangerous appeasement – at the expense of Jewish worshippers and visitors – is a shameful caving in to the Arab terrorists, to Jordan and the Ra’am Islamist party leader Mansour Abbas’ threats, and to U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s immoral pressure on Israel to appease Arab terrorists.
The official U.S. State Department April 19, 2022 readout of Secretary Blinken’s call with Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid reveals that Blinken pressured the Bennett administration to “exercise restraint and refrain from actions that escalate tensions, including at Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.”
It is a dangerous mistake that the U.S. would urge “restraint” in dealing with Palestinian Arab terrorists. We have seen over and over that terrorists must be dealt with strongly or else terror will increase.
It is likewise odious and deeply disrespectful of the Jewish people that an official State Department document uses a Muslim name first for the Jewish people’s holiest site. It is not the holiest Muslim site.
Adding further insult to injury, the U.S. State Department readout used the Obama-Biden administration’s term “cycle of violence in Israel,” which falsely and immorally equates Arab terror to Israeli efforts to stop Arab terror. If there was no Arab terrorism, there would be no Israeli response to stop the Arab terrorism.
ZOA has long warned against the danger of entering into a governing coalition with Ra’am, whose governing charter calls for Israel’s elimination. We are seeing the dangers of the coalition with Ra’am coming home to roost.