By now you probably heard the news. Israeli Public Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir ascended the Temple Mount on the 10th of Tevet, a Jewish fast day, walked around for thirteen minutes, and then left. Although it wasn’t the first time he had visited the Temple Mount, it was his first time to do so as a Minister in the Knesset. World governments and the global media erupted in a frenzy, all of them decrying Ben Gvir’s actions.
A special emergency meeting was called yesterday at the UN Security Council to discuss Ben Gvir’s scandalous and abhorrent action, the result of which was a round condemnation from the fifteen member body (although no official action was taken). If you haven’t caught my sarcasm yet, maybe it is because the irony of this situation is a bit too much for me, even amidst our crazy world that eats anti-semitism for lunch, and even though we are talking about the United Nations, which is to be praised if they make it to 10:00 AM each day without finding an excuse to condemn Israel.
Sarcasm aside, United States Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday: “We oppose any and all unilateral actions that depart from the historic status quo, which are unacceptable.”
Arab nations, the United States, China, the UN and more (the list is too long to mention fully) are all concerned that Itamar Ben Gvir’s uneventful visit to the Temple Mount earlier this week is a violation of the status quo, and could endanger the Al Aqsa Mosque, claimed by Islam as their third holiest site, although some Arab scholars believe that the real Al Aqsa actually lies in Saudi Arabia.
In light of Ben Gvir’s assumed violation of the current status quo, let’s review the facts.
The status quo of the Temple Mount / Al Haram Al Sharif says that anyone can visit the site, but that only Muslims are allowed to worship there. Jews and Christians can visit, but not pray or engage in acts of worship. The reality however, is much more restricted. While millions of Muslims visit Al Aqsa every year, and have 24/7 access via all of the entrances to the area’s plaza, everyone else must only visit during limited hours and via one entrance after passing a rigorous security check.
If anyone other than Muslims are deemed to have broken any rules of the site by the Waqf, they are often removed from the area, and many times arrested. This may include picking up a leaf or a rock, drinking from a public water fountain, or moving one’s lips in silent prayer.
During Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount this week, he violated none of the rules of the status quo, unless of course he prayed silently, in which case perhaps the UN would be justified in condemning his actions (my apologies, I cannot help my sarcasm).
Sarcasm aside again, and now that we’ve established that Ben Gvir’s actions do not justify global condemnation and an emergency meeting of the UNSC, let’s talk about what may be a better use of the UN’s time.
Thirty-one Jews were murdered in Israel in 2022 by violent, Arab Jihadist extremists. Terrorists if you will. All of them were murdered in cold blood, and all of them died for their crime of being Jews who dared to live in the land of Israel.
What was the UN, world governments, and the global media’s reaction? Silence. Cold silence.
A religious Jew serving as a Minister in the Knesset visits the Temple Mount for thirteen minutes, and the event sparks global outrage.
A religious Jew is murdered by terrorists simply for being a Jew, and the responding silence is deafening.
The hypocrisy is stunning, even for the anti-semitic, hate-filled, anti-Israel world that we’ve come to know and live in.
The only thing we can continue to do is rise up as individuals and condemn these actions, at the same time standing unequivocally with Israel and the Jewish people, including their right to thrive and prosper in their own land.