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UN Security Council Calls Emergency Session After Israeli Minister Ascends the Temple Mount

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. 

About the author

Luke Hilton is the Director of Marketing for HaYovel, an organization that brings Christians to Judea and Samaria, the Biblical Heartland of Israel, to serve the land and people in volunteer service. Luke has been speaking about Israel since 2011, and has traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia speaking about Israel. He currently co-hosts The Israel Guys Youtube channel and podcast. Luke is based in Israel with his lovely wife Olivia and their five beautiful children.

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15 Responses
  1. Ben Dor

    The Status Quo on Temple Mt.

    The status of the Temple Mount and the “status quo” that governs it have become one of the cornerstones of the religious-political discourse in recent months. This discourse, both at the diplomatic level and at the public level, does not take place in a vacuum: since July 2, 2014, a kind of intifada has been taking place in Jerusalem and the violence is increasing.

    The Temple Mount is one of the centers of violence, both practical and psychological. What happens in it radiates and affects the near and far environment.

    In the last wave of riots, as mentioned, the place of the Temple Mount stands out. The mountain where the Temple used to be located is the holiest place for the Jewish people.

    The mountain, where today the two famous prayer halls are located – Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock – is also the third holiest place for Muslims.

    For the Jews, the Temple Mount, Mount Moriah, is holy because of the power of faith in which the divine presence is eternally enshrined.

    For Muslims, “Al Haram al-Sharif” is the Temple Mount, sacred by the belief that near the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque today, the Prophet Muhammad landed, at the end of a night flight on a winged horse, and from here he also rose to the sky.

    Since the days of the “Great Mufti”, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, in the first half of the twentieth century, and even more so after the Six Day War, after the unification of Jerusalem, the mountain ceased to serve only as a place of worship and prayer for Muslims and became a religious-national symbol for all of Islam, and a continuous focus of a national and religious conflict between the Jewish world, the State of Israel and the Muslim world the Arab countries and the so called Palestinians.

    As part of the special rules of conduct, which Israel has accepted on the Temple Mount, and out of respect and sensitivity for the holy compound and for Muslims, a rule has been established from which there are almost no exceptions: even during riots, the security forces refrain from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque.
    The solution to calm the spirits is usually found by talking to the heads of the Waqf and the rioters, and also by arresting the rioters afterwards, according to intelligence and photographs.

    Recently, the discourse surrounding what went out on the Mount has focused on the issue of the “status quo on the Temple Mount”, meaning: the orders and arrangements introduced on the Mount by the State of Israel in June 1967, immediately after the Six Day War.

    In the past Benjamin Netanyahu; Minister of Internal Security, Yitzchak Aharonovitz; and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, that “there will be no change in the status quo in place.” Netanyahu even discussed this matter with the King of Jordan, Abdullah, and told him the things explicitly. Netanyahu also said these things to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Union when she visited Israel.
    The Arab MKs in the Israeli Knesset, who visited the Mount, also referred to the “status quo on the Temple Mount” and demanded that it be preserved. They were also told from the stage of the Knesset and in face-to-face conversations that the status quo on the Temple Mount would not be changed and that Jewish prayer would not be allowed there.

    Key findings

    A. The reality on the Mount, 55 years after the establishment of the status quo on the Temple Mount, has changed dramatically. Key components of this status quo are no longer valid in practice. In many respects, the status quo of 1967, which was designed by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan on the Temple Mount in those days, is “dead”, but no one has buried it including world politics and a political public discourse continues to erroneously refer to it as if it is still with us.

    B. The reality that replaced the old status quo greatly improved the Muslim hold on the mountain and its position in it, compared to the arrangements that were formed on the mountain after the Six Day War.
    On the other hand, this reality greatly worsened the position of the Jews and the State of Israel on Temple Mount.

    C. The most prominent component that remains intact from the old status quo on Temple Mount is the one that forbids Jewish prayer on the Mount.
    The State of Israel does not intend to change it and repeatedly declares that it intends to stick to it.

    The status quo outline established on the mountain included the following key elements:

    The Waqf, as an arm of the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments, will continue to manage the site and will be responsible for the religious and civil arrangements and affairs there.
    Jews will not be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, but they will be able to visit it (this right – freedom of access to the mountain, even anchored for days under the Holy Places Law).
    Israel, through its police, will take over the responsibility for security in the holy compound, both on its inner territory and on its outer shell, the wall and the gates.
    Israeli sovereignty and law will apply on Temple Mount, as in other parts of Jerusalem, to which Israeli law was applied after the Six Day War (this determination was confirmed more than once by the High Court of Justice).
    Later it was decided that the only entrance gate through which Jews would be allowed to enter Temple Mount would be the Mughrabim Gate, which is fixed in the center of the Western Wall, while Muslims would enter the Mount through its many additional gates.
    As for tourists, it was determined that they would enter the mountain through three gates:
    The Mughrebim, the Chain and the Cotton gates. Today, it is possible for tourists to enter the mountain only through the Mogharabim Gate.
    Over the years, it was forbidden to wave flags of any kind on the Temple Mount.

    The realization of the concession for the Jewish public was made possible mainly due to the position of the rabbis – both the ultra-Orthodox and the religious Zionists. At the time (unlike today), there was an overwhelming majority of Rabbis who adhered to the Halachic ban on Jews entering Temple Mount at all. In any case, praying in a place where entry is prohibited was not relevant at all.

    The most notable changes in the status quo and the reasons for them:

    These lines will briefly describe the changes in the status quo that took place on the Temple Mount, and briefly describe the processes and reasons that led to these significant changes.

    1. The original status quo prevented Jews from praying on Temple Mount, but allowed Jews to visit it. Today, however, Jewish visitors to the mountain are often avoided (even without prayer) or are significantly restricted.

    In the background of the change are the incitement, the threats and even the violence that the Muslims use against Jews who want to go up to Temple Mount. At the center of the incitement is the false plot: “Al Aqsa is in danger”, which targets the State of Israel and accuses it of the intention and plans to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque.

    In the past, Jewish visits were also allowed on Saturdays, as well as inside the mosques. This is no longer possible today.
    Also, the entry of Jews with a religious appearance to the mountain is limited to groups. Their visit to the place is accompanied by supervision and guarding by Waqf guards and policemen. Visiting hours for Jews and tourists to the mountain were reduced from Sunday to Thursday for only four hours each day: three hours in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.

    2. When the status quo was established, Muslims prayed at the Al Aqsa Mosque. Over the years, the prayer areas of Muslims on the mountain have greatly expanded:
    The Dome of the Rock structure, which was not originally a mosque, actually became a mosque, especially on Fridays, for the benefit of Muslim women.

    In the early 2000s, the Muslims used two additional prayer areas in the complex: Solomon’s Stables in the underground space of the southeast parts of Temple Mount, where the Al Marwani Mosque was built, as well as the ancient Al Aqsa areas, below the existing Al Aqsa Mosque. Also, considerable parts of the Temple Mount complex are paved and used in practice for Rabbah prayers, especially on Muslim holidays and festivals.

    3. After the Six-Day War, the state, followed by the High Court of Justice, determined that the laws of the State of Israel apply to Temple Mount. Today, the situation has changed.
    De jure, the State of Israel has adhered to this determination, but de facto, for many years now, the planning, construction and antiquities laws on Temple Mount are not enforced, or enforced in a very partial and informal way.

    4. The status quo gave Jordan involvement in the management of the Temple Mount complex through the Waqf mechanism, an arm of the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments.
    Today, the Jordanian influence on what is happening on Temple Mount has greatly expanded. From a defined influence, which concerned the internal management of Temple Mount and payment of salaries to the employees of the Waqf mechanism, the Jordanian influence spilled over to the outer walls of the compound, and in some cases also to the areas surrounding the Mountain compound.

    Today, the Jordanians have a de facto influence, even on the conduct of the Israeli police on the Temple Mount.

    5. A ban on waving flags on Temple Mount is enforced only when it comes to Israeli flags. On the other hand, flags of movements, sometimes even terrorist movements such as Hamas, are raised frequently, as part of demonstrations and rallies that take place on the mountain. In this case as well, the police prefer to hide and not to confront protesters within Temple Mount.

    Conclusions:

    The old status quo on Temple Mount no longer exists.
    It changed fundamentally in a series of key parameters, in a way that greatly improved the position of the Muslim side of the mountain and greatly undermined the position of the Israeli-Jewish side there.
    However, one of the key components of the old status quo, the one that prohibits Jewish prayer on Temple Mount, is strictly preserved.

    The Discriminatory “Status Quo” on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: An International Law Viewpoint

    “Upholding and sustaining an antiquated, biased, second-class status for Jews, a remnant of the 18th-century Ottoman Empire, violates all accepted international human rights and nondiscrimination norms and should logically no longer be relevant or sustained in modern international society.

    A new, remodeled status quo would need to guarantee reciprocal recognition of religious rights and observance of the components of the “culture of peace.”

    Perhaps the first step needs to be acknowledgment and realization by all concerned, including the respective religious leaderships, that a vital prerequisite for any definitive resolution of the dispute between Arabs and Jews is a logical and respectful remodeling of the antiquated status quo to be based on present-day international values and standards of fairness, equity, equality, and mutual respect, while protecting basic religious sensitivities and procedures.”

    In a 1984 judgment by Israel’s Supreme Court regarding Jewish worship rights on the site, summarizing previous judgments on the same subject, then-Chief Justice Aharon Barak held, inter alia, that:

    The basic principle is that every Jew has the right to enter the Temple Mount, to pray there, and to have communion with his Maker.

    Jews are free to pray on the Temple Mount per Israeli Civil Law, upheld by the Israeli Supreme Court. The Court does allow the Israel Police to limit freedom to worship if it might cause a “disturbance of public order” but, in practice, Jews are free to pray quietly and use a prayer book on their smartphones.

    “This is part of the religious freedom of worship, it is part of the freedom of expression. However, as with every human right, it is not absolute, but a relative right… Indeed, in a case where there is near certainty that injury may be caused to the public interest if a person’s rights of religious worship and freedom of expression would be realized, it is possible to limit the rights of the person in order to uphold the public interest.”

    International Norms of Human Rights and Nondiscrimination:

    Culture of Peace
    International norms and concepts of equality, human rights, freedom of religion and worship, interreligious and intercultural dialogue, tolerance, understanding, and cooperation have been drafted, codified, and unanimously accepted over the years through international covenants, treaties, and UN declarations and resolutions that have been universally accepted within the international community as part and parcel of what has become known as an established “culture of peace.”

    Such instruments include:

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) – General Assembly Resolution 217A, Article 18:

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.

    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) – General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI), Article 18:

    Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching.
    No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

    UN General Assembly Resolution 58/128 of December 19, 2003, on the “Promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation.”

    This resolution underlined the “importance of promoting understanding, tolerance, and friendship among human beings in all their diversity of religion, belief, culture, and language.”
    It emphasized “the need, at all levels of society and among nations, for…respect for diversity of culture and religion or belief, dialogue and understanding, which are important elements for peace.”

    It called upon all states “to exert their utmost efforts to ensure that religious sites are fully respected and protected in compliance with their international obligations and in accordance with their national legislation, and to adopt adequate measures aimed at preventing acts or threats of damage to and destruction of these sites” and urged states to “respect different religions and beliefs and not to discriminate against persons professing other religions or beliefs.”

    UN General Assembly Resolution 59/23 of November 11, 2004, on the “Promotion of Interreligious Dialogue,” affirmed ”that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of the dialogue among civilizations and of the culture of peace.”

    UN General Assembly Resolution 59/199 of December 20, 2004, on the “Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance,” which expressed alarm at the continued occurrence of intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, including acts of violence, intimidation, and coercion motivated by religious intolerance, and reaffirmed that “discrimination against human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter.”

    The resolution called upon states to “recognize the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief and to establish and maintain places for those purposes.”

    UN General Assembly Resolution 61/221of March 14, 2007, on “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace.”

    The resolution calls “to promote universal respect on matters of freedom of religion or belief and cultural diversity and to prevent instances of intolerance, discrimination, and incitement of hatred against members of any community or adherents of any religion or belief.”

    While such instruments comprising the “culture of peace” express noble hopes and honorable visions for all of humanity, and especially among the world’s religions, the realities of the international community, with day-to-day tensions, conflicts, and wars throughout the world, in effect undermine, sideline, and neutralize any apparent and even genuine sentiments and hopes inherent in the “culture of peace.”

    https://jcpa.org/article/the-discriminatory-status-quo-on-jerusalems-temple-mount-an-international-law-viewpoint/

    https://zoa.org/2023/01/10446714-zoa-condemns-u-s-state-dept-u-s-amb-nides-for-siding-with-antisemitic-discriminatory-palestinian-hamas-terrorists-re-the-temple-mount-violating-jews-religious-freedom/

  2. Barbara Jenkins

    It is pretty sad when a minister in an elected government can’t walk in some parts of his indigenous land.

  3. Brenda Stroda

    I wholeheartedly agree with your summation of the facts. It is tough to bridle sarcasm when it is just.

    Come, Lord Jesus, and take your rightful place as King of the earth, on the Temple Mount. But first, please come take your Bride, SOON.

  4. Jim Peters

    I love Israel and pray for Benjamin & his new coalition.
    ❤️🇮🇱
    God bless Israel, & May all his creation get along SOON.

  5. AUDREY S KELLEY

    YESHUA, OUR JEWISH LORD IS IN CONTROL AND HE WILL REPAY…PRETTY SOON I THINK. MEAN WHILE, ALL WHO LOVE JESUS WILL STAND FIRM WITH OUR JEWISH BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I PRAY THE JEW HATERS WILL REPENT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW BAD THEY WILL FEEL WHEN THEY FIND OUT HE LOVES THEM AND ACTUALLY DIED FOR THEM….(and me).

  6. Lynne Shadick

    Surely it is the land given to Israel by God from the time they set foot in the land of milk and honey. The Bible tells us that God will bless those who bless Israel but will curse all those who curse Israel.
    May God bless and protect His chosen people..

  7. John Barry

    Think a out the fit they’ll have when the Israelites build their temple on the Temple mount next to to AlAqsa mosque.

  8. Wayne

    Dismantle the worthless U.N. They were created to spread peace and negotiate treaties. They have done the opposite ever since they were created. The entire U.N. establishment must be demolished immediately.

  9. Jan van Helvoirt

    U.S.A./Biden ,U.N. en alle andere laffe bewoners van deze wereld schaam jullie.
    Hebben jullie dan niets geleerd van jullie hypocriete gedrag tegenover het Joodse volk in het verleden?
    Jullie allen zijn door je achterlijk gedrag 100%verantwoordelijk voor alle ellende in het verleden.
    Doen jullie het nu collectief over?
    Genoeg is genoeg.
    Jewish life matters.

  10. He should be treated as others. If they would have been arrested, then he should be arrest, no matter what title he has. He should abide by same rules & expectations of Jewish people.

    1. Carol

      He didn’t. Break any laws so why would you suggest he should be arrested, for what, for walking in his homeland?

  11. Janice

    What is new here!? It is Ishmael hating Isaac- how sad that Jewish people are being killed in their own land with no world outcry! Yet a 15-minute walk on the Temple Mount by an elected official is condemned by many in the rest of the world! What ignorance in the supposedly enlightened world in which we live. No matter what our U.S. ambassadors may say, my family will continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and support Israel standing up against general world opinion and defending herself. I was impressed years ago by Prime Minister Netanyahu ‘s statement to world leaders that Israel has a right to defend herself!

    I was born in the 1950’s, but I had a godly Christian grandmother who taught me to keep my eyes upon Israel, the apple of God’s Eye. She witnessed the miracle of 1948, and passed on her excitement to me! God’s Hand is upon Israel, it is obvious to those who remember the miracle of 1948. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is still on the Throne, as evidenced by the fulfillment of ancient prophecy in the Old Testament. We may not know HOW God is going to do it, but we know with certainty there WILL BE another Temple, because it is written about in the book of Daniel.

    Thank you Israel Guys for keeping us updated about what is truly happening in your beautiful land!

  12. June Maloney

    THE MOSQUES are the ones that are out of place, the temple mount should be where the third temple should stand. This is Israel’s land which YHWEH gave the Israeli’s thousand’s of years ago and now has called them back to. THIS IS THERE LAND……