Thankfully the resounding answer to my question in my last blog, “Jerusalem 101 Part III: Friday, Will Muslim and Jewish Prayers End in Violence?” is NO. After the weeks of violence, and the metal detectors and cameras being removed — the following Friday night, important to both Jews and Muslims passed quietly. Thank God, the voice of reason or ?
One of the explanations for this was that Israel who provides security for the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount did not permit males under the age of 50 to enter. Only Muslim males over 50 and Muslim women could pray at this revered holy site. The majority of rioters are young Palestinian males who are groomed, encouraged and rewarded for rioting by their culture, and the Palestinian Authority.
I make the distinction of Muslim males and females praying here, because although this location is sacred to both Jews (THE most holy) and Muslims (third most holy), Jews aren’t allowed to pray here because it would incite Muslims. It would be seen as trying to change the status quo — then we would find the situation sliding down a very slippery slope. I invite you to read my blog, “Jerusalem 101, Trying to Understand a Complicated City — Part I” for the details.
Jews are however, allowed to visit and set an all-time record — over 1000 visiting in one day to commemorate Tisha B’Av which was celebrated last week.1 The holiday commemorates the destruction of both the First (by the Babylonians) and Second temples (by the Romans).2
The Temple Mount (name used by Israelis) and the Noble Sanctuary (name used by Arabs) is the same exact location. The Noble Sanctuary was closed pending investigation, after a Palestinian killed two Israeli policemen.
It’s where Israel originally placed metal detectors to protect people due to the Palestinian practice of hiding weapons in their holy sites. It’s also where the Palestinians rioted in protest. Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi said, “We found dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting material, unexploded munitions, stun grenades, [and] binoculars.3
Thus again demonstrating hiding weapons in religious sites is encouraged by the Palestinian religious leaders. Although wars have been fought in the name of religion for centuries — it makes me incredulous. A contradiction to one of religion’s main purposes — aren’t we supposed to show love to our fellow humans?
Other reasons the crisis didn’t devolve further into more widespread violence as reported by Herb Keinon, in The Jerusalem Post included Prime Minister Netanyahu’s corruption investigation drama stealing the headlines, terrorist groups are busy vying for power amongst themselves, Palestinian President Abbas was pressured from calls from the Saudis, Jordan and Egypt to contain the crisis and the Palestinian weapons cache has significantly been thwarted by the IDF raids looking for weapons, factories and suspects.4
Unfortunately, Bassam Tawil, a Middle East scholar writes because Israel complied with the Palestinian insistence to remove the metal detectors, the Palestinians view their removal as capitulation — a sign of weakness, as demonstrated in their victory celebrations. He says now the Palestinian Authority is admitting the battle isn’t over metal detectors, but over the sovereignty on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.5 An analysis that doesn’t bode well for getting along as neighbors.
Here we are — hoping the situation will stay calm, and that the vacuum created, will be filled with Peace. Amen.
I invite you to Join Me on My Journey…
1. Times of Israel Staff, “In record, over 1,000 Jews visit Temple mount to commemorate destroyed temples,” The Times of Israel. (accessed August 1, 2017).
2. “Tish B’ Av,” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tisha_B’Av (accessed August 1, 2017).
3. Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff, “Police uncover weapons, but no guns, in Temple Mount searches,” The Times of Israel. http://www.timesofisrael.com/police-uncover-weapons-but-no-guns-in-temple-mount- searches/ (accessed August 1, 2017).
4. Herb Keinon, “Reasons Why the Temple Mount Crisis Did Not Explode,” The Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-Reasons-the- Temple-Mount-crisis-did-not-explode-501587 (accessed August 4, 2017).
5. Bassam Tawil, “The Battle Over Jerusalem has Just Begun,” Gatestone Institute. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10758/battle-over-Jerusalem (accessed August 1, 2017).