Thursday, November 20, 2014

The conflict today is religious - Boaz Bismuth

by Boaz Bismuth

"Israeli police shoot two Palestinians in synagogue," the website for the Daily Telegraph in Great Britain reported on Tuesday. CNN, simultaneously, included "two dead Palestinians" in its casualty count. The CNN correspondent apparently woke up on the Left side of the bed and presented the incident as "an attack on a mosque." It took a while for the network to correct the mistake and apologize. One wonders what Freud would have to say about all this.

The excruciating incident on Tuesday in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood was no ordinary terrorist attack. It is not often one sees images of tallitot drenched in blood and bodies with tefillin still wrapped around the arms of the victims, even in the Jewish state, which has known so many terrorist attacks. And perhaps because of this the French Le Monde newspaper, which normally doesn't spare us any criticism, chose the following headline: "Massacre in Jerusalem synagogue."

The international press learned that not only Islamic State terrorists engage in slaughter, that Palestinian terrorists are also quite accomplished in the art of wielding knives. Maybe this time they will also put it in print. The pundits around the globe, however, explained that construction in settlements is behind the recent escalation of hostilities in Jerusalem. In other words, the world still thinks the problem between Israel and the Palestinians is territorial. If only that were the case, the conflict would have been resolved long ago. 

It needs to be understood once and for all that the conflict is of a religious nature. Like Yasser Arafat in 2000, his successor Mahmoud Abbas has emphasized the religious aspect of the conflict. The Palestinian Authority president is a pyromaniac at night and a firefighter in the morning. 

Examples? Abbas still persistently refuses to recognize the Jewish character of Israel. Why should a Jew have a state? Beyond this, he incites against the Jews from his home in Ramallah. He was quoted, during a rally of Fatah supporters, as saying "what is needed is to prevent them (the settlers), in any way possible, from entering our mosque and defiling it."

Abbas is referring, of course, to Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem), where Jews are seeking to pray. From his view, the compound is a Muslim holy site, which the Jews incidentally accept as such (evidenced by the Jordanian Waqf responsible for oversight there). The Palestinians, however, have a tendency to ignore the fact that in 967 B.C.E. King Solomon built the First Temple in the exact same spot. The Palestinians have never excelled at learning the history of the Land of Israel. 

And the world? It is apparently preoccupied with the changing demographics at home and with the guilt over its not-so-distant past, which leads to quite a bit of confusion over the chronology and to believe the Temple Mount has only been "in our hands" since 1967. 

Just as Maimonides ruled that a Jew is allowed to say a Jewish prayer in a mosque; just as Israeli governments have recognized the sanctity of the site for Muslims -- because according to Islam the Prophet Muhammad ascended from there to heaven -- it would not hurt the Palestinian leadership to respect Jewish faith and history and understand that a synagogue, not only a mosque, is a holy place.

Boaz Bismuth


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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