Thursday, October 18, 2012

How About A Synagogue While We Wait for the Temple?

From Michael Freund's op-ed,

A place for Jews on the Temple Mount
in The Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2012

...we got a firsthand look at the situation which prevails at Judaism's holiest site. Put simply, it is absolutely infuriating. Brazen discrimination is practiced against religious Jews, who are singled out for special treatment by Israel's police that is not accorded anyone professing a different faith...There were other groups on the Mount at the same time as ours, including Christian pilgrims from Romania, various non-religious tourists, and Israeli Arabs. None of them were subjected to the same watchful scrutiny.

...The state of affairs on the Temple Mount is intolerable and untenable. Basic freedoms, such as the right to worship and free speech, are being trampled, and Jews are subjected to discrimination unheard of anywhere else in the Western world.
A way must be found to enable Jews to exercise their right to commune with their Maker, without further stoking hatred and intolerance. In fact, there is a simple and very practical solution to this predicament: build a synagogue on the Temple Mount where Jews would be free to pray as they wish...there is a clear historical precedent that even during periods when the Mount was under Muslim control, the rights of Jews were respected. So now that it is under Israeli sovereignty, should we accept anything less?

...The best way to prevent friction on the Temple Mount is to accommodate the needs and wishes of both Jews and Arabs, rather than squelching one at the expense of the other.  The Temple Mount is our holiest site, one that has served as the focus of our people's dreams and yearnings for the past 2,000 years. Visiting it was a powerful spiritual experience, one that touched me to the core of my very being.

But it was distressing to see the extent to which Israel's government defers to threats of Arab unrest at the expense of its own citizens and their basic rights.

Building a synagogue on the Temple Mount will underline Israel's sovereignty, while also guaranteeing the freedom of access to all religions that is at the heart of governmental policy. It would give the Muslims a chance to demonstrate just how tolerant they truly are. We don't begrudge them the right to pray, so why should they begrudge us?

...May the day soon come when that prayer, and others like it, can be recited freely by Jews in the place where the Temple once stood, and will yet stand again.


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