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In France, Anti-Semitism Is a Hatred That Cannot Be Named

A few months ago in Paris, an immigrant from Mali beat and murdered his neighbor Sarah Halimi, a sixty-six-year-old Jewish widow. Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traore, had a history of yelling anti-Semitic epithets at her and her family, and everything about the murder suggests he was motivated by his own religious beliefs. Yet the French government, in collusion with the French press, has refused to acknowledge that anti-Semitism had anything to do with this crime, and French television has declined to air a documentary on anti-Semitism because of the attention it pays to Muslim anti-Semites. Ben Cohen and Benjamin Weinthal write:

[A]fter dozens of attacks on Jews ranging from street violence to kidnapping to a terrorist massacre at an elementary school, much of France, on the right and left, still [denies] that the country has a problem with anti-Semitism. That’s particularly true when it comes to the approximately seven-million Muslims living there. . . .

Traore has no record of mental illness. He is known to have harassed Halimi and her relatives. His killing of Halimi bore all the fervor of a jihadist attack. And yet this monstrous attack is not being treated as a hate crime. As of now, if Traore goes on trial, it will be on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, mitigated by the mental-health problems from which his lawyers claim he suffers.

There was no public outcry for many reasons, but perhaps the most important one is that Halimi was tortured and murdered at a rather inconvenient time: the climax of the French presidential elections and the widespread fear in much of the French media that Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front would emerge victorious. . . .

[I]f France is finally to overcome its unsettling silence around anti-Semitism—broken occasionally by . . . denials that there is a meaningful problem in the first place—it has first to accept that many of its leaders and opinion-formers are responsible for maintaining it.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, French Jewry, Jewish World, Marine Le Pen

The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount