The Temple Mount.
The gathering place for Jews to encounter Yahweh, via the priest.
Today, however, things are quite different.
Here is the problem: Although Jews and Muslims agree that this is the place, Mount Moriah, where Abraham offered to sacrifice Isaac, Muslims also believe that is the place where the Prophet Mohammed, accompanied by the Angel Gabriel, made the Night Journey to the Throne of God. This makes it the third holiest site for Muslims. After years of wars and the destruction of The Temple, Muslims have built a mosque, The Dome of the Rock, replacing The Temple. The Temple Mount is now run by Muslim authorities.
Today, an Islamic Waqf, or religious committee, manages the Temple Mount, though Israel provides security and upholds decisions made by the waqf about access to the site. – Jewish Virtual Library
So, basically the Waqf has an opinion and can terrorize, but at the end of the day.. they don’t have the final say.
What is interesting is that Israel has decided to go along with some of their rules in order to refrain from offending them. For example, any non-muslim prayers are prohibited on Temple Mount grounds. Jews can’t pray. Christians can’t pray. You can’t bring in a Bible. You can’t even talk of scripture. Also, non-Muslims, and specifically Jews, are prohibited to enter during certain times.
Here is my story:
Like most places in Israel, I had to go through security before entering.
It was a bit intimidating this time though. The security guard had zero emotion in his face and hard eyes. Although I don’t actually know what he was thinking, his body language, or lack there of, told me I wasn’t welcomed. I placed my bag on the table for him to check. Of course I wasn’t scared he would find anything. Honestly, I didn’t even remember what was in my bag. Maybe my wallet, phone and some gum?
I see him begin to smirk. He turns around to his buddies and speaks in arabic. They all laugh.
Ok? I feel awkward. I’m just going to ignore it.
I reach for my bag when he places his hand inside and takes out… deodorant… they all start laughing again.
My face turned bright red. I guess this was funny to them, but I mean hey, I gotta do what I gotta do… it’s over 100 degrees outside.
Embarrassed, I grabbed the deodorant and stuffed it in my bag. I couldn’t help but laugh at this point too.
Up ahead I see a rickety bridge that lead to the Temple Mount gate. It was made out of wood planks that allowed me to see The Western Wall (the wailing wall) underneath.
I see Jewish men, women and children praying with all their might. It was so beautiful and so peaceful. Little did I know it was the calm before the storm.
As soon I step foot into the Temple Mount a man grabs my arm and pulls me over to the side. I am suddenly cornered by at least five men with machine guns strapped to their backs. If I am being completely honest, I went on this trip as a naive and uninformed American.. So, my first thoughts were… ISIS.
My eyes frantically scanned for my group leader and my heart was beating out of my chest. I could feel my hands and feet go numb and the sweat dripping to my eyebrows.
I knew that deodorant would come in handy…
The men were yelling at me in broken english, “Too skinny, too skinny.”
I am too skinny to be on The Temple Mount? That makes no sense. What I didn’t realize is that they were telling me my clothes were inappropriate. I had a loose, striped dress on that went up to my neck, down to my knees and passed my wrists. I had leggings on underneath and my hair was in a wrap.
They kept motioning for me to follow them down a corridor. Should I obey them? Will I get in trouble if I don’t? As I battle the two options in my head, my group leader runs over.
I’m ok. I can breathe.
There is a battle in Arabic going on. I have no idea what he said to them, but it shut them up quick. A kind older woman from my group took her scarf off her shoulder and wrapped me in it. The entire group circled around me as we continued to walk throughout the Temple Mount.
Walking away, I turned around to catch one more glimpse of the chaos. I saw several Muslim women wearing the same outfit as me, peacefully making their way to the Dome of the Rock.
My group leader, who is a dear family friend and Jew who lives in Israel, later told me that they simply chose to terrorize me for these three things; I am young. I am Jewish. I am a woman. I was an easy target, or so they thought.
Making our way to the other side of The Temple Mount, we stopped underneath some trees to talk. Our guide began speaking of the history on the grounds. It was amazing. It is apart of my heritage and the foundation of my faith. There is just one issue, you can’t possibly explain this place without quoting scripture. It is what it’s all about.
Quietly and nonchalantly our guide did just that. I was so captured by the connection I was making with where I was and what I have read in my bible for all these years that I didn’t realize a Muslim guard had walked up behind me. In fact, no one realized.
The guard spoke up and loudly.
“What are you all talking about? Are you quoting scripture? Do you want to get escorted out?”
“We are speaking of history,” said my guide.
If the guard knew that my guide had a kippah (yamaka) under his ball cap, the situation would have escalated further.
He began cursing at us, screaming that this was HIS holy place, not ours. This was HIS mosque, not ours. We even had an older woman in the group try to sit on the ground because she was so tired. He yelled at her to get up because “She doesn’t deserve to sit here.” It was so sad. I knew this lady personally. She had overcome and pushed through many health issues to get there. She was struggling that day and the guards wouldn’t allow her any relief.
At this point I was furious. Is there no respect for human life by these people?
As these thoughts are flying through my mind, I see a Jewish couple walking through the courtyards. Guards are completely surrounding them, watching their every move. They won’t even let them talk. It just looked ridiculous. That is the best way I can describe it. These men kept targeting the most innocent of people just to be a bother, just to terrorize. And they get away with it everyday.
This isn’t right. These are Yahweh’s people. This is Yahweh’s holy place. What can I do to make a difference? I suddenly felt the burden to be a voice for the Jews.
The media will tell you that the middle east conflict is being handled peacefully, but I can tell you that there is no peace, only persecution.
If you believe that Jews have the right to pray and worship God on The Temple Mount, please consider signing this petition…Cry for Zion.