The Temple Mount Has Room Enough for Peaceful Pluralism

Dec. 14 2022

After years of reluctance, David M. Weinberg decided to visit the Temple Mount. He explains what he learned:

First, that there is plenty of room: loads of undeveloped and even desolate sections of land on the vast Temple Mount plaza where a Jewish house of prayer could be built without interfering in any way with Muslim shrines and prayer practices.

Nobody needs to feel threatened by a modest presence of Jewish petitioners tucked away in a distant corner of the holy mount. Unless, of course, your opposition to Jewish prayer and visitation on the Temple Mount stems from the wholesale denial of indigenous Jewish rights in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel—which alas has become almost-mainstream Palestinian discourse.

As Weinberg goes on to explain, the Israeli police and the waqf—the Jordanian-controlled trust that administers the Muslim holy sites—enforce a hierarchical system dictating which groups have access to the Temple Mount. This regime allots the most rights to Muslim worshippers, and fewer rights, in descending order, to: non-Jewish tourists, Jewish tour groups that are not visibly religious, and finally, it accords fewest rights to religious Jews.

Given the hostility of the waqf, I suppose that there is some law-and-order logic to this discriminatory treatment of Jews and Israelis, for the moment. I certainly have no complaints against the Israel police for doing the best they can at this supersensitive site.

But from Israel’s leaders, I have higher expectations and elevated demands. It’s time for them to negotiate significant improvements in the way the Temple Mount is administered, and Jewish-Israeli rights are accommodated there, based on principles of peace, tolerance, and religious freedom—for Jews and non-Jews alike.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Jewish-Muslim Relations, Temple Mount

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship