In­con­tro­vert­ibly na­tive

Every ‘Happy Hanukkah’ ax­iomat­i­cally ac­knowl­edges in­dige­nous Jewish rights in Is­rael and on Jerusalem’s Tem­ple Mount

The Jerusalem Post - - OBSERVATIONS - • By DAVID M. WEIN­BERG

Last Fri­day, the UN again passed two anti-Is­rael res­o­lu­tions that re­ferred to the Tem­ple Mount only by the Ara­bic term al-Haram ash-Sharif, thereby ig­nor­ing any Jewish con­nec­tion to the site. All 28 Euro­pean Union coun­tries voted for the res­o­lu­tions.

This jives with UN­ESCO’s re­cent adop­tion of non­sen­si­cal res­o­lu­tions declar­ing Jerusalem an ex­clu­sively-Mus­lim her­itage city, and crim­i­nal­iz­ing Is­rael’s cus­to­di­an­ship of the holy city. Most of Is­rael’s Euro­pean al­lies went along with that af­front too, ei­ther vot­ing for or ab­stain­ing from the res­o­lu­tions.

US Am­bas­sador to Is­rael David Fried­man re­sponded to the lat­est UN dis­grace by tweet­ing on Mon­day, “More than 2,000 years ago, Jewish pa­tri­ots (Mac­cabees) cap­tured Jerusalem, pu­ri­fied the Holy Tem­ple and reded­i­cated it as a house of Jewish wor­ship. The UN can’t vote away the facts: Jerusalem is the an­cient and modern cap­i­tal of Is­rael. Happy Hanukkah from this blessed city!”

This didn’t sit well with Ire­land’s For­eign Min­is­ter Si­mon Coveney – a con­stant critic of Is­rael – whose Ir­ish par­lia­men­tary col­leagues just made it a crime to im­port or sell goods orig­i­nat­ing in set­tle­ments or east Jerusalem.

Coveney ac­cused Fried­man of be­ing “provoca­tive and bi­ased” and “un­help­ful in cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary en­vi­ron­ment of com­pro­mise” in the search for Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace.

Coveney’s brassy hypocrisy is glar­ing! He ob­vi­ously doesn’t feel that the Ir­ish Se­nate boy­cott bill is “bi­ased,” “provoca­tive” or “un­help­ful.”

It’s Coveney’s brand of per­fidy that makes it even more nec­es­sary that Is­rael re­assert its sov­er­eign rights in Jerusalem, and es­pe­cially on the Tem­ple Mount which, after all, is where the Hanukkah strug­gle was cen­tered some 2,000 years ago.

Con­sider: Over the past 10 years, and cer­tainly since he re­jected John Kerry’s 2014 peace ini­tia­tive, Mah­moud Ab­bas’s Pales­tinian Author­ity has been on an out­ra­geous path, an as­sault on the core iden­tity of Jews and Is­raelis, an of­fen­sive to deny the most fun­da­men­tal build­ing blocks of Jewish con­nec­tion to Jerusalem and the Land of Is­rael.

Ab­bas ini­ti­ated those shame­fully spu­ri­ous UN­ESCO res­o­lu­tions. And then Ab­bas falsely ac­cused Is­rael of com­mit­ting “vi­o­la­tions” against Is­lamic and Chris­tian holy sites, in­clud­ing al-Aqsa Mosque on the Tem­ple Mount – when it is his Wakf Is­lamic re­li­gious trust that has turned al-Aqsa into an armed fortress and turned every Jewish visit to Ju­daism’s holi­est site into a skir­mish.

It is Ab­bas’s Wakf that wan­tonly has dug up and de­stroyed thou­sands of years of Jewish ar­chae­o­log­i­cal trea­sures on the Tem­ple Mount while the world stood by with­out protest. And the muftis he has ap­pointed, like Yasser Arafat be­fore them, com­pletely deny that any Jewish Tem­ple ever stood in Jerusalem.

It is also Ab­bas’s gangs that have de­stroyed Joseph’s Tomb, sought to de­stroy Rachel’s Tomb, and have run Chris­tians out of Beth­le­hem.

The UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral and most Euro­pean coun­tries have swal­lowed every bit of Ab­bas’s bile about ex­clu­sive Arab rights in Jerusalem, while ig­nor­ing Pales­tinian de­nial of Chris­tian history in the city. WHAT DO you do in the face of such be­trayal, when con­fronted by UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil con­dem­na­tions of Is­rael – and only Is­rael – for ob­struc­tion of peace di­plo­macy? What do you do when the Big Lie is ev­i­dent every­where?

You act to in­tro­duce re­al­ism and truth-telling to the global and re­gional dy­namic by re­assert­ing the Jewish peo­ple’s pro­found his­toric and na­tional rights in Jerusalem. (Thank you, once again, to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for con­tribut­ing might­ily to this ef­fort by mov­ing the US Em­bassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem).

Fur­ther­more, you push back against Pales­tinian and Euro­pean de­nial­ism by re­in­forc­ing Is­rael’s sov­er­eign hold on the city, and by chang­ing the lame, so-called “sta­tus quo” sit­u­a­tion in Jerusalem.

Pri­mar­ily, this means three, ad­mit­tedly con­tro­ver­sial, things:

1. Is­rael should give cit­i­zen­ship to Jerusalem’s 300,000 Arabs (at least to those who wish to em­brace full cit­i­zen­ship rights and obli­ga­tions). Ex­tend­ing cit­i­zen­ship to the Arab third of the city’s pop­u­la­tion would make Is­rael’s rule and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in united Jerusalem clear, while en­cour­ag­ing the in­te­gra­tion and ad­vance­ment of Jerusalemite Arabs.

2. Is­rael should im­me­di­ately em­bark on a grand-scale home-build­ing cam­paign in Jerusalem and its en­vi­rons for Jewish and Arab ci­ti­zens alike, as part of a pack­age master plan. Build­ing in Gi­vat Ham­atos, Atarot, Beit Han­ina, Beit Safafa and in the E-1 quad­rant be­yond the city’s east­ern edge will shore up the city’s fu­ture as a pre­dom­i­nantly Jewish and Zion­ist metropo­lis, while im­mea­sur­ably im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life for Jerusalemite Arabs too.

3. Is­rael must in­sist upon Jewish prayer rights on Har HaBayit, the Tem­ple Mount. Al­low­ing Jewish prayer at the holi­est site in Ju­daism, which is also the ul­ti­mate place of Zion­ist na­tional ex­pres­sion – some­thing that is now for­bid­den! – would be an ex­cel­lent way to wring grudg­ing Pales­tinian recog­ni­tion of the Jewish peo­ple’s an­cient rights in its an­ces­tral home­land.

It doesn’t have to be that dif­fi­cult. Jewish prayer can be cau­tiously and mod­estly fa­cil­i­tated in some sym­bolic way on the Tem­ple Mount with­out threat­en­ing or over­shad­ow­ing the two large Mus­lim struc­tures there. It should be pos­si­ble to ar­range a time-shar­ing agree­ment for wor­shipers, like that in place at the Tomb of the Pa­tri­archs in He­bron, or to es­tab­lish a small sy­n­a­gogue tucked away on the fringes of the vast, and mostly un­used, Tem­ple Mount plaza.

Th­ese ini­tia­tives will en­gen­der Pales­tinian (and Euro­pean) re­sis­tance, but with both res­o­lute­ness and sen­si­tiv­ity Is­rael can suc­ceed and over­come the op­po­si­tion. The Ne­tanyahu gov­ern­ment will en­joy wide­spread pub­lic back­ing for ac­tion to but­tress Is­rael’s stake in its ageold and modern cap­i­tal city.

Next Hanukkah, the ed­u­ca­tion, tourism and re­li­gious af­fairs min­istries should run a broad­scale cam­paign to bring tens of thou­sands of Is­raeli vis­i­tors (if not wor­shipers) to the Tem­ple Mount for guided tours in the foot­steps of the priestly-loyal and mil­i­tar­ily-heroic Mac­cabees.

And the For­eign Min­istry should em­bark on a cam­paign to have world lead­ers every­where wish Is­raelis “Happy Hanukkah.” After all, do­ing so ax­iomat­i­cally ac­knowl­edges Jewish in­dige­nous rights in Is­rael and on Jerusalem’s Tem­ple Mount, and con­comi­tantly emas­cu­lates the den­i­gra­tion of Is­rael as an “oc­cu­pier” of “Pales­tinian” lands.

“Happy Hanukkah” means that Jews are in­con­tro­vert­ibly na­tive in Is­rael and Jerusalem.

The writer is vice pres­i­dent of the Jerusalem In­sti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies, jiss.org. il. His per­sonal site is davidmwein­berg.com.

(Reuters)

A SHELL in­scribed with a meno­rah on it, which was found at an arche­o­log­i­cal site in Is­rael.

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