Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
The ZOA criticizes Jordanian King Abudullah II’s latest illegal threats, violating the Israel-Jordan peace agreements, regarding Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, named for the holy Jewish Temples that stood there. (Notice it’s not called the “Mosque Mount”). The Jordanian king told CNN that he is “prepared for conflict,” has “red lines,” and that “we have to be concerned about the next intifada” (another terror war in which Palestinian Arabs murder and maim innocent Jews) if there is a “change of status.” Abdullah II is thus threatening violence if Jews (and other non-Muslims) are properly allowed to exercise their legal and religious and moral rights to freely pray at Judaism’s holiest site.
A MAJOR FACT IS BEING IGNORED—the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, signed by Jordan’s King Hussein (Abdullah II’s father) on October 26,1994, guarantees Jews freedom of access to the Temple Mount. The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, Article 9.1, provides: “PLACES OF HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE. Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman, Esq., confirmed this, tweeting on January 4:
“Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty of 1994 required both nations to ensure access of all faiths to significant religious sites, including the Temple Mount…
Jews are not prohibited from visiting the Temple Mount under the Treaty or under the definition of “status quo” (murky as it is) and government ministers have done so on many occasions. No threat from Hamas should impair this reality.”
One should never forget that the racist, sexist, unjust status quo of Blacks and women not being allowed to vote was appropriately ended. The racist unjust status quo of Blacks not being allowed to attend “White” high schools and universities was appropriately ended. And the antisemitic unjust alleged status quo of Jews not being allowed to visit and pray on their holiest site, the Temple Mount, must be ended as well!
Signed international agreements and promoting justice overrule unlawful, discriminatory, antiquated, unjust, antisemitic supposed “status quos” which violate those agreements. Israel’s 1967 “Protection of Holy Places Law” likewise requires free access to holy places.
In fact, the real “change in status” has been the unjust, discriminatory, illegal restrictions on Jewish access and prayer, and the Jordanian Waqf’s decades of malfeasance, destruction of Jewish antiquities and violations on the Temple Mount. The proposed Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001, co-sponsored by 37 bipartisan Congressmembers, confirmed that the Jordanian Waqf engaged in “large-scale bulldozing and destruction of the Temple Mount antiquities. Thousands of tons of fill have been unearthed and simply dumped into the nearby Kidron Valley. Archeologists have verified these artifacts date from the period of the First Temple [over 2,500 years ago].”
Allowing and facilitating Jewish access and prayer on Judaism’s holiest site would merely help restore the agreed-to lawful status of this site, as a place where all people will have free access to pray.
Abdullah II’s violent threats also violate additional provisions of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, including the requirements that Jordan must: “refrain from organizing, instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party [Israel] (Article 4.3.2); respect Israel’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (Article 2.1); mutually cooperate on security (Article 4.1); and not interfere with Israel’s inherent right of self-defense (Article 4.a).
The Jordanian king’s threat is exacerbating the recent arrogant, antisemitic, racist, discriminatory, unlawful, unjust demands and propaganda falsehoods employed by the Biden administration, Hamas terrorists, the Palestinian Authority terrorist dictatorship, and certain other Arab governments, to make the Jewish people’s holiest site “Judenrein” (off limits to Jews). Minister Itamar Ben Gvir peacefully strolled on the perimeter of the Temple Mount for about 13 minutes (without stepping foot in the mosque). And yet, Israel was absurdly and falsely accused of “storming the mosque,” “invading the mosque,” “provoking violence” and planning to build a “new Jewish Temple” there. (See “The Biden Administration Sides with Discrimination on the Temple Mount,” by Morton A. Klein, JNS, Jan. 4, 2023.)
The long Jewish history on the Temple Mount pre-dates the beginning of Islam by over 2,200 years. Abraham bound Isaac there in approximately 1677 BCE. King David purchased the Temple Mount and built an alter to G-d there, and David’s son King Solomon completed building the First Jewish Temple on the site in 957 BCE – over 1,600 years before Islam was founded in 610 CE. The Jewish temples stood on the Temple Mount for approximately 1,000 years – again, long before Islam came onto the scene. Jews made pilgrimages three times a year (on Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot) to the Temple Mount. 180 (out of the 613) mitzvahs (Jewish commandments) relate to the Temple. And while Muslims pray facing their holiest place, Mecca, Jews all over the world pray facing their holiest place, the Temple Mount.
By contrast, the Muslims’ (false) claim that the site is holy to them was invented in about 1100 CE –centuries after Mohammed’s death in 632 CE, and is based on a mere dream, not an actual occurrence, that Mohammed visited the “farthest mosque.” Notably, Al-Aqsa Mosque wasn’t even built until decades after Mohammed’s death and wasn’t and could not have been the “farthest mosque” in his dream. Moreover, there wasn’t a single mosque in Jerusalem when the Koran was written. Mohammed moreover never visited the Temple Mount in real life. Thus, a misrepresented dream is being used to try to wipe out thousands of years of actual Jewish history.
King Abdullah II revealed his real goal when he made egregious and numerous illegal demands last April to fully control the Temple Mount. Jordan absurdly demanded: (i) giving the Jordanian Islamic Waqf full authority over the Temple Mount, including authority to severely restrict (or prevent) non-Muslim visits; (ii) requiring non-Muslims to apply to visit in writing in advance; (iii) forbidding needed Israeli security from entering the Temple Mount, even when Palestinian Arabs violently riot, shoot and/or throw rocks, iron bars and Molotov cocktails at Jewish and other worshipers on the Temple Mount or at the Kotel (Western Wall) plaza below; (iv) banning non-Muslim prayer necessities (prayer books, Torahs, tallits); (v) restricting non-Muslim visitors to groups of no more than five people (thereby preventing Jews from forming a minyan to pray); (vi) restricting non-Muslim visitors to tour routes of no more than 150 meters in each direction; and (vii) dictating dress codes for non-Muslims (demeaning dhimmi dress codes for Jews). In addition, the Wakf planned to charge non-Muslims admission fees – requiring Jews to pay Muslims to visit Judaism’s holiest site! All these demands violate the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty’s guarantee that Jews will have full access to their holiest site. (See ZOA Condemns Jordan’s Egregious Demands to Control Jews’ Holiest Site – the Temple Mount – and to Limit Security & Non-Muslim Visits, April 28, 2022.)
ZOA urges Jordan, other Arab/Muslim countries, the U.S., other countries and the U.N. to respect the provisions of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty and the religious, moral and just rights of the Jewish people. Enough with this conspicuous Jew-hatred and Israel-hatred! Let my people pray!