May 25, 2006

Freedom of Religion in our Government

PM Olmert today gave a speech in honor of Yom Yerushalayim, the day Yerushalayim was recaptured in the Six Day War. During the speech Olmert made a point of saying how he will keep Jerusalem united and it has never been more united as it is today, etc.. He also recalled the great day by quoting Motta Gur's famous statement of Har Habayit is in our hands. Olmert said that statement was the greatest moment in Jewish history and there never was and never will be another moment like that. Olmert said he would ensure freedom of religion and worship and promised to safeguard the holy sites.

I have written on this previously, but a speech like this creates a good moment to mention it again. Olmert says he promises freedom of religion and worship and will guard the holy sites. What is he talking about? A Jew cannot go up onto Har Habayit freely. He is practically strip searched before going up and he is not being searched for weapons. We are searched in case God forbid someone would try to bring up a prayer book. If someone is seen by the police on the Mount moving his lips, he is warned due to suspicion he might be praying and if the warning goes unheeded he will be thrown off the Mount and possibly arrested. Today the courts prohibited the Temple Mount Faithful group to go up on Temple Mount.

Are we allowed to go to the holy gravesire of Yosef Hatzaddik? No. They almost never even allow scheduled visits for Jews anymore. The other night was yesod she'byesod of the omer, which is considered Yosef Hatzadik's night where traditionally many would go to his grave to spend the night in prayer. I have gone in years past. This year they did not allow any Jews to go there, even on this night!

This is freedom of religion? Freedom of worship? This is not Communist Russia we are talking about, nor any other country that subjected Jews to persecution over the ages. This is modern day Israel that does not allow a Jew to pray in Judaism's holiest site. That is freedom of religion? Freedom of Worship?

Whose freedom does Olmert profess to protect? Is he trying to fool everybody with such statements? He is only protecting the rights of the Arabs and Christians, yet he tramples upon the rights of the Jews.

This seems to be the way of the government in general. Bend over backwards to do everything for the Arabs and nothing for the Jews. Since the elections, Amir Peretz, our Defense Minister, has acted more like the Defense Minister of Palestine than of Israel. He is always very quick to denounce settlers and Jews he does not like, but always finds excuses for the Arabs. He has done everything in his power for the Palestinians, but little to protect Jews. He opened border crossings and allowed more Palestinians in for work. He told people in Sderot to stay off the top floor of buildings, instead of protecting them from the nearly daily rocket attacks. Now the news sites are reporting that Peretz is transfering weapons to Abbas' people.

I am not saying that we should deny Arabs their rights. Their rights should be protected as well. But our governments priority should first be protecting us and guarding our rights to religion and worship.


  1. your blog reminded me of my times in Israel...the falafel, shwarma, beaches, cheese, wine, the simchas I attended at the kotel where jews of all stripes particaptated, old and young, white and black,ashkenazi and sephardi, women and men....

    "one of these things is not like the other"

  2. over my head. did not understand what you mean..

  3. I assume you wrote this before reading my blog...

    but in case not, or to continue that conversation,

    the kptel may be seen as a jewish/israeli holy site and the vast majority of israelis label themselves as secular or conservative one could make the case that the israeli govt discriminates against the vast percentage of jews by not allowing mixed events at the kotel...and there are many other examples, from walking down public streets that are not accesable to the secular jews to laws of marriage and kashrut and many many israeli laws that limit the rights of one group out of respect and fear for the other. like the riots in mea shearim for the 19yrold dad who abused and killed his baby the israeli govt respects the violent backlash if jews pray or attend in large numbers a site that is overwhelmingly arab/muslim at what they see as their holy site.
    Further, that site itself is jointly controlled by israeli and a palastenian org. and is disputed territory. We may not like that fact but the israeli govt accepts that and has balanced the ability for jews to go there and the palastinians perspective.
    My point is that either evryone has complete freedom (controlled anarchy? Im all for it) or evryone is discriminated against.


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