The US State Department’s annual report on religious freedoms, released on Thursday, focused much attention on Jerusalem, calling for the Israeli government to strengthen the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
“The U.S. Ambassador and embassy officers spoke with government officials and Knesset leaders about the importance of maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and not escalating tensions through provocative actions or statements,” the report read, referring to the Temple Mount by its Arabic name.
The “status quo” is an understanding among religious communities with respect to religious sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and was first established by the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. Under the Muslim Ottomans, Jerusalem was divided into four quarters and the Temple Mount became a Muslim holy place, ignoring the Jewish connection to the site. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as other various Christian sites were recognized as belonging to the Christian world.
“Despite the Israeli government’s policy prohibiting non-Muslim worship at the site, some Jewish groups escorted by Israeli police at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount performed religious acts such as prayers and prostration,” the report stated.
Though Israeli law mandates religious equality, the Israeli police cite security concerns and the possibility of a violent Muslim reaction to justify preventing non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount.
Though also relevant to Christians, the ban on prayer focuses on Jews. Hours for Jewish visitation to the site are limited and Jews may only enter the site in small groups. Visitors undergo rigorous security checks and religious items are prohibited. Jewish groups are accompanied by both Israeli police and Waqf (Muslim authority) guards who ensure that visitors do not pray or show any signs of devotion.
Muslims normally have unrestricted access to the site, though during outbreaks of violence, the Israeli police will restrict entry to women and older men. Muslims do not undergo any security checks at the site.
“Incidents of attempted Jewish prayer at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount increased from previous years, according to local NGOs, media, and Jewish Temple Mount movement groups, and occurred on a near-weekly basis. During Jewish holidays, such as Passover, Tisha B’Av, and Sukkot, tens of Jewish Temple Mount activists engaged in prayer on the site. In most cases, Israeli police acted to prevent them from praying and removed them, but in other cases, some of which were documented on social media in photos and videos, the police appeared not to notice the acts of prayer.”
The report referred to Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem as “occupied territories”. These areas are part of Biblical Israel but are considered disputed territories under some interpretations of international law.
The report described Palestinian terrorist attacks as possible violations of religious freedoms.
“Because religion and ethnicity were often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize much of this violence as being solely based on religious identity,” the report explained.
While calling for a total Muslim monopoly on the Temple Mount, the report reproached Israel for not allowing non-Orthodox prayer in the Orthodox prayer section of the Western Wall.
“In meetings with government officials, embassy officers stressed the importance of religious pluralism and respect for non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. The Israeli government did not implement a cabinet agreement reached in January to establish a Reform, Conservative, and mixed gender prayer platform along a separate portion of the Western Wall,” the report said. “Reform, Conservative, and women’s Jewish groups including some Orthodox Jewish women’s groups lobbied for the proposal, whereas ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious leaders and political figures continued to oppose the plan.”
The report also praised the efforts of US Ambassador David Friedman to promote interfaith understanding.
“Embassy-hosted events, including an interfaith Ramadan iftar and an interfaith Thanksgiving dinner, promoted the reduction of tensions between religious communities and an increase in interreligious communication and partnership within society by bringing together representatives of many faith communities to advance shared goals and exchange knowledge and experience,” the report said.
Read more athttps://www.breakingisraelnews.com/100729/us-state-department-pushes-israel-ban-jewish-prayer-temple-mount/#RF5GAiF2lzPS1RWD.99
Jan 12, 2018 0
The Zionist youth movement takes on a new educational role in the face of local Jews’ hostility to the idea of emigration to Israel
Kids at a Dortmund Jewish Community Youth Center Hanukkah event. (Marc Neugroschel/Times of Israel)
DORTMUND, Germany — Almost eight decades after being outlawed by the Nazis, Germany’s branch of the international Bnei Akiva movement is back — with some slight changes.
Founded as a religious Zionist movement to promote Jewish immigration to Israel, this particular branch of the organization has shifted its sights to instead suit the needs of the growing local community and the peculiarities of German Jewish life.
Just a month in the lives of Christians under Islam.
Reprinted from the Gatestone Institute.
Luc Ravel, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Strasbourg “went against the grain of Church leaders in France who have largely remained politically correct,” says a report, because he criticized “the demographic shift in France, saying Muslims are having far more children than native French and slammed the widespread ‘promotion’ of abortion.” He said, “Muslim believers know very well that their birthrate is such that today, they call it … the Great Replacement, they tell you in a very calm, very positive way that, ‘one day all this, it will be ours.’”
The question of granting asylum and vetting anti-Semitic attitudes.
There was no genius behind the prediction that the influx of Muslim migrants into Europe would cause a sharp rise in anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel propaganda. The Muslim immigrant anti-Semites from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, didn’t need President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an excuse to express their hate for Jews and Israel. They have been honed on Jew-hatred in their own mosques, through President Erdogan’s demagoguery, and through the Arab media.
Local authorities decided to close down the Saint Catherine Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on January 5 and January 6, when Christmas church services are held according to the Coptic Orthodox calendar.[i] The general directorate of tourist police further ordered all tourist companies not to lead tours to the historic monastery.
In October, 125 psychologists and assorted mental health professionals marched to New York’s City Hall while wearing red tags warning, “DANGER.” Leading the march was Peter Fraenkel, author of Sync Your Relationship, Save Your Marriage, mournfully beating a drum in a solemn march. Fraenkel, a psychologist and “professional drummer” was able to combine his love of drums and hatred of Trump.
In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.
Well, it just became urgent.
That’s because President Trump tweeted “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” Then, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).
Throughout history, some of the greatest people often failed time after time before they really made it to the top. Others thought that they had failed but realized at a later stage in life that what they believed to be a failure was, in fact, a grand success. Still, others never succeeded — in the conventional sense of the word — but served as models of extraordinary accomplishments, sometimes without ever being aware of it.
The PLO and the Palestinian cause more generally are sinking into irrelevance and rather than reform their policies to rebuild their position, they have adopted a scorched earth policy that only intensifies their race to the bottom.
On the face of things, the situation isn’t bad. Last month the PLO got 128 nations to vote in favor of their anti-American resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. One of the states that voted with them was India.
Israel was shocked by India’s move.