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Australian Jews Are Forbidden to Build a Synagogue—Because It Might Be Targeted by Terrorists

The government of the Sydney suburb of Waverly has refused to grant permission for the local Jewish community to begin construction of a new place of worship due to “concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the synagogue, nearby residents, motorists, and pedestrians.” Joe Hildebrand reports:

Jewish leaders are shocked that the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists. . . . The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court [that upheld its decision] had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.

“The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman [said]. “Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, . . . by extension rewarding terrorism.” . . .

Ironically, the council and the Land and Environment Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design—including setback buildings and blast walls—as evidence the site was too much of a security risk. Yet, in a classic catch-22, the council also said that if the design was changed to boost security, this would [also] be unacceptable because it would be too unsightly.

Read more at News.com.au

More about: Anti-Semitism, Australia, Freedom of Religion, Jewish World, Synagogues, Terrorism

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