Before I delve more deeply into subjects already discussed, I want to share the link to the latest video of Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister. You may have seen his earlier videos, which dealt with subjects such as the true nature of the “1967 border.”
They were great, and so is this one, which looks at the issue of refugees in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is both with regard to the “refugees” in perpetuity, sustained in their limbo status for political reasons by UNRWA, and the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who are very rarely mentioned.
See this, please, and share it:
The Temple Mount and the Mughrabi Bridge.
The over-riding message here is that Jewish rights are being abrogated, and the government is not acting to ensure those rights.
I spoke today with Rabbi Chaim Richman, Director of the International Department for The Temple Institute. With considerable justification, he is angry. Angry because those Jewish rights are being ignored. There is no place in the world more holy to the Jews than the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit). Yet in the morass of decisions that passes for government policy on this issue right now, the Jewish ability to ascend the Mount is relegated to the unimportant.
There is, he says, relevant Israeli legislation: The Protection of Holy Places Law of 1967. It mandates freedom of access to holy places for all groups, and the Israeli government is exceedingly scrupulous about guarding those rights — for other groups.
There is also a High Court ruling that says that Jews may pray on the Mount. But the Israeli police won’t permit it because it will be seen as a provocation by the Muslims.
Where, asks Rabbi Richman, is the sense of dignity and Jewish heritage? What is being communicated is vulnerability.
Rabbi Richman said today that, while this situation could change at any moment, the police are now saying that there will be no ascent [to the Mount, by Jews or other non-Muslims] until further notice.
I asked him whether it was true, as I had read, that if another gate is opened, the Muslim Wakf has to approve its use [the JPost said the opening had to be “coordinated” with the Wakf]. “It’s true,” replied Rabbi Richman, “but who says so?” That is, who grants the Wakf this authority?
Good question, for which I was unable to find an answer today. I tried to imagine a scenario in which Israeli authorities unilaterally opened the alternate Chain Gate. Would Muslim police on the Mount block those who tried to enter?
This is hypothetical, because it is extremely unlikely the Israeli government would act unilaterally in this respect. But if the answer is not clear, it is because we are witnessing a turf war — a war of sovereignty, in which we find no clear cut answers, but a huge amount of political bombast.
After speaking to the rabbi, I talked with MK (Member of the Knesset) Danny Danon (Likud). He has been speaking out on this issue and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu directly to insist that the Chain Gate be opened in the interim. He didn’t tell me how the prime minister responded.
Danon was cited in the JPost as saying:
“We can’t let even one day pass without letting Jews on the Temple Mount. If they don’t do the renovation immediately, we need at least to allow this for people. Every day is important.”
When I asked Danon about the Wakf having to approve the opening of another gate, he said he didn’t know about that. His understanding is that the Minister of Internal Security — Yitzhak Aharonovitch of Yisrael Beitenu — makes the decision in consultation with the prime minister.
Danon further said that he had called for a special hearing of the Knesset Committee of Internal Affairs for next Monday.
In the meanwhile, the Muslim world is playing this situation to the hilt. And it is nothing short of ludicrous.
Hamas warned yesterday that the closure of the Mughrabi Bridge is tantamount to a “declaration of war” on Muslim holy sites.
Run that by me again?
“This is a serious step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression against the al-Aksa Mosque,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum. “This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”
Wait. Closing a bridge used only by non-Muslims that is not on the Mount but which leads to the Mount represents a war on Muslim holy places?
But that’s not what the PA is saying. The PA, while it concurs that Israel has no jurisdiction over Muslim holy places, has a different take:
PA Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh has declared that Israel decided to close the bridge in an attempt to scuttle international efforts to restart the peace process.
And what we heard from Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab, chairman of the Islamic Wakf Department in Jerusalem, was that there would be an “explosion” if the bridge was destroyed: “Demolishing the bridge would be seen as an assault on the al-Aksa Mosque.”
The sheikh referred to the Mughrabi Gate as “one of the main gates to the mosque.” That was really news to me.
Are these clowns, then, what keeps our prime minister immobilized? Rabbi Richman spoke of his vulnerability in this situation. Seems to me the Muslims can smell it.
As it is, Netanyahu has been very quiet.
Then, a return to the subject of Newt Gingrich, about whom a great deal is being said these days.
The major proviso that is being expressed with regard to Newt (and I thank those who sent me some of this material) is that he is tremendously audacious and a loose cannon, not sufficiently disciplined to speak with discretion. As Peggy Noonan, referring to him as both inspiring and disturbing, said:
“There are many good things to say about Newt Gingrich. He is compelling and unique, and, as Margaret Thatcher once said, he has ‘tons of guts.’
“But this is a walk on the wild side.”
While Debra J. Saunders, writing on Townhall, said that Gingrich’s “career [is] capped with dazzling successes — followed by easily avoidable disasters stoked by Gingrich’s supersize ego.”
OK. Could be. Maybe.
Taking a different perspective, Jay Clarke, writing on American Thinker, observed:
“Newt Gingrich is a failure. A flawed, failed, weak human being. But then again, isn’t everyone? When we are finally called to meet our Maker, there isn’t one human being who has ever lived who can lay claim to perfection.
“…according to Newt, he’s changed. He’s older. Wiser.
“…There are no perfect candidates just as there are no perfect people. America’s Founders were less than perfect. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison held slaves. Adams was highly abrasive and had an explosive temper…
“If a ‘perfect’ and unblemished presidential candidate is ever found, you can be sure that he/she has been manufactured and groomed by media consultants and political operatives. What you see definitely won’t be what you get.
“And is that what America really wants?”
There are no perfect candidates. Pretty much what I’ve been thinking. What has to be looked at is which imperfect candidate best fits the bill.
For me, as for many others reading this, the first criterion is the ability to beat Obama: He must be a one-term president, for the sake of the US, and Israel, and the western world. And my take is that Newt is best suited for this task, in part precisely because of his audacity and courage and self-confidence. Because he has “lots of guts.” Obama is not going to wage a clean fight, my friends.
By speaking a truth that is not politically correct, Gingrich has stimulated a long-overdue dialogue and energized the campaign.
David Horowitz, founder and head of the Freedom Center, writing on Hudson NY, says, “Gingrich Gets It Right.”
While Caroline Glick’s piece today is entitled, “Gingrich’s fresh hope”:
“When Romney criticized Gingrich’s statement as unhelpful to Israel, Gingrich replied, ‘I feel quite confident that an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of, and the casualties they are taking and the people around them who say, “They do not have a right to exist and we want to destroy them.”‘
“And he is absolutely right. It was more than nice. It was heartening.”
In her last paragraph she writes:
“Gingrich’s statement of truth was not an act of irresponsible flame throwing. It was the beginning of an antidote to Obama’s abandonment of truth and reason in favor of lies and appeasement. And as such, it was not a cause for anger. It was a cause for hope.”
Please, see her full piece, which provides important historical details.
Lastly (for now), with regard to Gingrich, I see as well that he is a man who not only understands historical truths, but is capable of generating action:
He was architect of the “Contract with America” and at the forefront of the Republican Party success in the 1994 Congressional elections that ended 40 years of Democratic majority rule. As House speaker, he worked with President Clinton to limit public welfare, pass a capital gains tax cut, and pass the first balanced budget since 1969.
His capacity to get things done and his experience would stand him in good stead, it seems to me, should he be the one to face the challenges of leading the next American administration.
Please see this very important article by Avi Goldreich, “A Tour of Palestine; The Year Is 1695.”
This puts the lie to Palestinian Arab claims of an ancient heritage in the Land.
See also Yoram Ettinger’s “Who are the Palestinians,” for additional pertinent information:
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.