Thursday, July 27, 2017

From Ian:

Report: PM seeks US okay to annex settlements, cede Arab cities to Palestinians
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a proposal to the United States under which Israel would annex West Bank settlements and in exchange relinquish some Arab cities in Israel to Palestinian control, Channel 2 reported on Thursday.
Netanyahu reportedly suggested that jurisdiction of several Israeli Arab villages in the Wadi Ara region could be transferred to Palestinian control in exchange for Israel annexing Jewish settlements in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank.
Netanyahu discussed the plan with US President Donald Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, the report said.
The TV report did not specify when the proposal was raised or when Israel sought the exchange to take place. The television report said there was no confirmation of the report from the prime minister or the US administration.
A White House official indicated the ideas detailed in the report were raised, but only within the context of a final peace accord.
“This may have been one of many ideas discussed several weeks ago in the context of a peace agreement and not in the context of a separate annexation,” the official told The Times of Israel. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

IsraellyCool: MUST WATCH: The Ex-Hamas Radical Who Now Preaches Peace
The following aired on Israel’s Channel 2 a few days ago. It is quite extraordinary, but also mandatory viewing for anyone wanting to know the truth about this conflict.
Meet Sheikh Muhammad Jaber, an ex Hamas terrorist who saw the light and now preaches peace, even though it endangers his life. Note in particular what he says about the kindness of IDF soldiers he encountered, the incitement palestinian children are subjected to, their antisemitism, and what the palestinian man at the end says.
Note: this is edited from the full report shown here, solely because I did not have time to translate the entire report. Ensure captions are enabled to see the English subtitles.

This Is a Safe Space. No Jews Allowed
Why are some American progressives embracing overt anti-Semitism?
re you a Jew in Chicago who’d like to march for LGBTQ rights and gender equality? You’ll have to follow a few rules, helpfully laid out in recent weeks by the Chicago Dyke March and the Chicago SlutWalk.
First, you must not carry any “Zionist displays.” What are Zionist displays? That’s for others to decide. A Star of David might be OK. But if it’s on a rainbow flag, it probably isn’t because “its connections to the oppression enacted by Israel is too strong for it to be neutral.”
Second, you must express solidarity with Palestine. Marching in a parade with a pro-Palestinian stance is not sufficient, nor is advocating for a Palestinian state. As an openly Jewish person, you’ll need to satisfy more heightened scrutiny; other marchers may repeatedly demand that you disavow Israel and swear allegiance to the Palestinian cause. You must comply with these demands or else you will be expelled.
Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.
Third, you must renounce any previous connections you have had with Israel. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group with ties to Israel? Repudiate and repent. Openly Jewish marchers are presumed to be in league with the Israeli government unless they can prove otherwise.
One final note: If you are a journalist who covers the implementation of these rules, you deserve to lose your job.

  • Thursday, July 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the CST:

CST's Antisemitic Incidents Report January – June 2017published today, shows that in the first six months of this year, CST recorded 767 antisemitic incidents, which was a 30% increase from the 589 incidents recorded during the same period in 2016. This total of 767 incidents is a record for the first six months of any year. A further 483 reports were received by CST in the first six months of 2017, but were not deemed to be antisemitic and are not included in this total. CST saw over 100 antisemitic incidents recorded for every month so far this year. This continues an unprecedented pattern of monthly totals higher than 100 incidents for every month since April 2016. The average monthly incident totals recorded by CST are now roughly double the level they were at five years ago.

It is likely that the incident totals recorded by CST reflect a general, sustained rise in the number of antisemitic incidents in an average month. Jewish communal concern about antisemitism and consequent better reporting, in addition to increased reporting from commercial security guards, may contribute partly to the rise in recorded incidents. However, these factors alone do not explain the scale and breadth of the increase.

The most common single type of incident recorded by CST in the first half of 2017 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In at least 203 incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish.

CST recorded 80 violent antisemitic assaults in the first six months of 2017, the highest number CST has ever recorded for the January to June period. None of these violent incidents were classified by CST as ‘Extreme Violence’, which would mean they involved potential grievous bodily harm (GBH) or threat to life.

Almost three-quarters of the 767 antisemitic incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester, the two largest Jewish communities in the UK. CST recorded 425 antisemitic incidents in Greater London, a rise of 10% from the 387 incidents recorded in Greater London during the same period in 2016. In Greater Manchester, CST recorded 145 antisemitic incidents, an increase of 84% from the 79 incidents recorded there in the first six months of 2016. Beyond these two centres, CST recorded 197 antisemitic incidents in 66 locations around the UK, including 22 in Hertfordshire, 22 in Gateshead, 10 in Brighton & Hove, 9 in Leeds and 7 in Birmingham. 

Most of the incidents reported that were categorized by offender were right-wing antisemitism:
Of the 767 antisemitic incidents reported to CST during the first six months of 2017, the offender or offenders used some form of political discourse in 220 incidents, or 29 per cent of the total. Of these, there were 148 incidents in which far right discourse was used; 55 in which reference was made to Israel, Zionism or the Middle East; and 17 in which Islamist discourse was used. In 45 incidents, more than one type of discourse was used.

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  • Thursday, July 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

The Temple Mount crisis is a perfect example of what has been called “Israel Derangement Syndrome:”

Arab Muslim terrorists murder a couple of Israeli police officers with guns they took onto the Mount. The terrorists are shot dead.

Israel takes the most minimal security measures, closing the site for a short time while they search it, and installing metal detectors (like the one I go through at the mall every day when I pick up my newspaper) and security cameras.

Palestinian Arabs and pretty much the whole Muslim world go insane, staging violent riots that include attempts to murder more policemen (which end in death for 3 rioters). The waqf that controls the Temple Mount orders Muslims to refuse to go through the detectors and to pray in the street outside.

A 19-year old terrorist leaves a Facebook post in which he explains that he is compelled to act as a result of the humiliation visited on his people by the Jews, butchers a 70-year old man and his two children, and seriously wounds his wife. Only the prompt arrival of an armed off-duty soldier prevents the terrorist from trying to murder the man’s daughter-in-law and 5 grandchildren. The terrorist is lightly wounded and is shown grinning from his hospital bed (where he is being treated by Israeli doctors).

Another terrorist stabs an Israeli Arab bus driver in a shwarma restaurant in Petach Tikva, mistaking him for a Jew. After he is subdued by several citizens (including one who hits him with a wooden pizza tray), the terrorist tells police that “he did it for al-Aqsa.”

A 17-year old Jordanian moving furniture in the Israeli embassy in Amman stabs a security guard in the stomach with a screwdriver. The guard shoots and kills him in self defense (and also accidentally kills another person in the room). Anti-Israel agitation in Jordan is at a high level, with a major demonstration in Amman taking place two days before the incident. The Jordanians refuse to release the guard despite his diplomatic immunity, and he is only freed after a high-level agreement that involves American officials and includes the removal of the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount.

Israel removes the metal detectors and cameras, but increases police presence. Riots continue and the waqf maintains its boycott on the grounds that everything must be returned exactly to the state it was in before the murder of the policemen that started it all, or it will consider the “status quo” breached.

During all of this, the international media have consistently presented the issues on a spectrum ranging from “it’s a cycle of violence” to “Israel is guilty of terrorism against Palestinians.” Headlines like the Guardian’s “Six dead as Israeli-Palestinian tensions boil over” suggest that Arabs killed while throwing firebombs at police are equivalent to Jews stabbed at their dinner table. NPR explains that the rioting did not stop after the detectors and cameras were taken down because “plans for a new security system have prompted more protests.” How dare we make plans to protect ourselves!

Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, members of the Islamic Movement in Israel and some Israeli Arab members of the Knesset blame Israel for the violence, with some of the Arab MKs’ statements rising to the level of incitement to violence. 

Rallies and demonstrations in favor of the Arabs are held all over the world, many in Muslim countries but also in South Africa, the UK and the US. Israel is found guilty again of “provocations.”

Nobody seems to notice, or care, that in every case the violence has been initiated by Arabs against Israelis. Israeli actions have been limited to self defense, and very limited self-defense at that. From the beginning, Israel has projected weakness. Rather than try to assert Israeli control over the site, PM Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have said over and over that there is no intention to change the “status quo,” the humiliating unwritten agreement that we imposed on ourselves in 1967 that gives “religious control” of the site to the waqf and specifies that while non-Muslims are permitted to visit the Temple Mount, only Muslims may pray there. 

After various officials said that the metal detectors and cameras would remain in place no matter what, they were removed in response to what was arguably a hostage situation in Jordan.

The removal of the metal detectors was a serious mistake. Although it is far from the first time that Israel folded in the face of threats of Arab violence or American pressure – often, as probably happened in this case, applied at the same time – the messages sent by this incident were all the worst possible ones:

  • Israel indicated that she would not, now or in the future, try to readjust the unbalanced “status quo,” which flies in the face of the accepted principle that all religions should have access to their holy places. The “access” granted to non-Muslims is far inferior in every way to that of Muslims, and this reinforces the Muslim belief that they deserve more rights than non-Muslims.
  • The one who controls access to a place is the owner of a place. The abortion of the attempt by Israel to control access confirmed the Arabs in their belief that they are the owners of the Temple Mount, and indeed all of the city and ultimately the country.
  • The fact that violence and hostage-taking caused Israel to immediately give in despite the repeated assertions of Israeli officials that they would not, proves that the strategy of violent “resistance to occupation” combined with international pressure and exploitation of every opportunity (the incident in Amman) works. It proves to them that if they only persevere, their dream of expelling the Jews is not impossible to achieve.

PM Netanyahu and most of his cabinet understand this. They also understand the issues relating to the religious and national aspects of the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. They understand that nothing in the Middle East is more important than symbolism, and they understand that control of the Temple Mount is a stand-in for sovereignty in Jerusalem. So if they understand all this, why did they fold?

There is a problem for leaders of democratic countries, which is like the similar problem faced by business executives who have to answer to stockholders. In business, there is tremendous pressure to meet next quarter’s goals, even if the company’s future suffers. In politics there is always the next election to worry about, and there is pressure to deliver peace and quiet now. There are rioting Arabs on TV every night and there is a hostage in Amman, he has a family, and these are problems that have to be solved now. Possibly the long-term consequences of solving them in the easiest possible way will not be so good, but they will be dealt with later. The can is kicked down the road.

Today’s Israeli leaders, like most in the West, are pragmatists. They do what works, and ideology is much less important than in the past. Bibi’s pragmatism would be foreign to Begin or Ben-Gurion. Not that they couldn’t compromise their ideologies to some extent when they had no alternative, but because ideology always guided their actions toward long-term goals. They had a direction and strong (although different) visions of what the state of Israel should be. Today things are different. The Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, the head of the Shabak, the IDF Chief of Staff, and the police chief all have their priorities. Within the framework of those priorities, they solve problems. Perhaps they are too busy to worry about visions.

In this case the government chose to be submissive and to ignore the humiliation inherent in its posture, because that seemed to be the quickest and least costly way to solve today’s problems. But at best it is a short-term solution, and even that is not certain, since disturbances are continuing despite our backing down.

The  Arabs have a vision for the future, and although they have so far lacked the means to make it real, they have the will to do so. We have more power today than we’ve had since the days of King David¸ but our national will is fragmented. We have the ability to create the future, but we don’t agree on what future we want to create. So we elect pragmatic politicians, who know how to solve problems.

Is this crisis just another bump in the road, or is it a turning point? I am not sure, but I’m certain that we would be better served by leaders that not only can solve problems, but who have a clear idea of our ultimate destination.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Thousands attend funerals of terrorists who killed two cops at Temple Mount
Thousands of people attended the funerals overnight Wednesday of the three Arab-Israeli terrorists who carried out a terror attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem two weeks ago, killing two Israeli Druze police officers with weapons they had smuggled onto the holy site.
Some 3,000 people were at the funerals in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, according to Hebrew media.
The three terrorists, Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19 — all relatives — were residents of the city.
The burial processions included cheers and celebratory chants, Hebrew media reported, as attendees vowed to become “martyrs for al-Aqsa,” in reference to the mosque that sits on the Temple Mount along with the Dome of the Rock sanctuary.
Some flew the Palestinian flag, according to Channel 2.
An unnamed member of the Jabarin family praised the attackers, telling Channel 2 they were “shahids” (martyrs), and saying “they received the respect they deserved with a mass funeral the area has not seen before.”
Watch: PA ambassador to UN justifies slaughter of Israeli family
Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour refused to condemn the brutal slaughter of three Israelis at their Shabbat table last Friday and justified the murders in a statement at the UN headquarters in New York Monday.
An Arab terrorist entered the home of the Salomon family in Halamish as they ate their Shabbat evening dinner and murdered Yosef Salomon (70), and his children Haya (46) and Elad (35).
Mansour responded to a reporter's query that the PA cannot condone such an attack by telling the reporter not to "expect all Palestinians to be angels."
"If people think that the Palestinian people are going to live that situation without any form of resistance to it, that is not realistic and that is not fair."

Clashes erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim worshipers return to site
Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.
A police officer was lightly injured after a rock was thrown at his head, police said.
Some 46 Palestinians were hurt in the clashes both inside the compound and in the surrounding area, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Police said worshipers began hurling rocks at security forces upon their reentry to the compound.
Some stones fell at the Western Wall plaza below, causing no injuries, a police spokesperson said.
The police responded to the stone-throwing with riot dispersal methods and vowed to forcefully combat any violence.
After Israel removed the metal detectors and other security measures around the compound installed by police after a July 14 terror attack, Palestinians were given the all-clear by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jerusalem’s Muslim religious authorities on Thursday to end their 12-day boycott of the holy site.

Israel removes more security installations outside Temple Mount
Israel late Wednesday removed minor security installations, including fairly flimsy metal railings, from an entrance to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, a sensitive holy site that has been at the center of violence over the past two weeks in the wake of a terror attack in which two Israeli police officers were killed near the compound. The Muslim authorities who administer the site had demanded that the railings be removed, among other steps, in a list given to Israel Police earlier Wednesday.
In response to the July 14 attack, in which three Arab Israelis killed the two officers near the Lions Gate with guns they had smuggled into the holy site, Israel installed security measures at the entrances, including metal detectors, which set off protests and deadly unrest in and around East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Early on Tuesday, Israel had removed the metal detectors. Late on Wednesday night, newly installed railings and scaffolding where cameras were previously mounted were also removed from the Lions Gate area near the entrance to the Mount.
The removal of the railings and scaffolding late Wednesday prompted celebrations by Palestinians, who danced, whistled and honked their horns near the site.

  • Thursday, July 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Palestine News Network, which is funded by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation among others, has an article - by a lawyer -about how any security measures Israel takes in Jerusalem are against international law.

The author, Samir Dweikat, has three points, each one more ridiculous than the last.

The first is that international law guarantees freedom of religion. Muslims have always been so willing to allow other religions to practice under benevolent Muslim rule. The Jews, however (and he always says Jews and not "Zionists")  "did not respect this and kept Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque locked up with false arguments about their false history."

We all know how tolerant the Jordanians were towards the Jews and synagogues and cemeteries in Jerusalem when they controlled it.

The second point is that metal detectors, like the ones at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, prove that Jews do not respect themselves and human rules. "Jews are like stray animals." Yes, that's what he says.

His third point is that Jews will never give Palestinians a state. Only violent actions got the Jews to remove the metal detectors, and that type of "resistance" is what is necessary until the "liberation of Palestine."

I can't quite find the citations of international law here, but I'm sure it is there somewhere.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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  • Thursday, July 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

One detail of the events of the past two weeks that escaped notice is that Mahmoud Abbas is directly complicit in directing the actions of terror groups.

As the Times of Israel story I quoted in my last post said:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday approved plans by the leaders of the Fatah Tanzim militia to organize mass demonstrations on Friday as tensions escalated over Jerusalem’s contested Temple Mount.
Tanzim is a terror group. We haven't heard much from them for a number of years until last week during the "Day of Rage" which they organized.

 Tanzim was founded by Yasir Arafat in 1995 - during the Oslo peace process - as a means for Arafat to maintain his own rejectionist group against Oslo (countering Islamist groups like Hamas) while pretending to support Oslo.

Marwan Barghouti was the head of Tanzim.

Tanzim was responsible for a number of terror attacks including several that specifically targeted children, such as the sniper murder of 10-month old  Shalhevet Pass and the murders of pregnant Tali Hatuel along with her four daughters, aged two to ten. They also lured a 16-year old boy to his death by posing as an American girl on the Internet before murdering him.

Like the Al Aqsa Brigades, Tanzim is a Fatah terror group that was never dismantled by Abbas despite promises.

Now he is directly instructing the group to act violently.

Shlomi Eldar disagrees, writing on July 20 that Abbas really wanted to avoid all of these riots and that Fatah militant leaders have been acting independently and forced Abbas' hand.

If that is true, then since July 19 Abbas is not a leader but a puppet - and an enthusiastic one at that, as he is the one who has been inflaming tensions with his statements. Abbas is the one who decided to end security cooperation with Israel, not Fatah. Yet Abbas is still the head of Fatah and these groups nominally report to him, and based on the stories this week they seek his permission to riot.

At best Abbas has no control over anything and goes along with his most extreme, violent factions in order to remain in power. which means that anyone relying on Abbas to help bring peace is being dangerously naive.

At worst, Abbas is acting like Arafat, using these terror groups that report to him as a means to foment violence while maintaining the fiction of his own antipathy towards violence.

The media might not be noticing this yet, but you can be sure that Western intelligence agencies are quite aware of Abbas' double game in pretending to be peaceful while directing or allowing terror groups to act violently, a game has already seen deadly results.

(h/t Irene)

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  • Thursday, July 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Times of Israel:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday approved plans by the leaders of the Fatah Tanzim militia to organize mass demonstrations on Friday as tensions escalated over Jerusalem’s contested Temple Mount.

The move came hours after both Fatah and its Hamas rival called for a second week for demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem on Friday to protest Israeli security measures at the flashpoint holy site, significantly raising fears of renewed violence even after Israel removed metal detectors at the Mount.

This is about right:

Since I made this, Abbas has said that Muslims can return to the Temple Mount to worship, but it is unclear if he called off the demonstrations.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

From Ian:

Ben Shapiro: Why the Left Protects Islam
This is no shock. The same left that barred Dawkins from his Berkeley event cheered this week while Palestinian Arabs rioted over metal detectors at the Temple Mount. Those leftists proclaim that the true obstacle to peace in the Middle East isn't Palestinian Arab violence -- it isn't Palestinians who stab Israeli Druz officers on the Temple Mount; or the Palestinians who invade homes and slaughter old men and women; or the Palestinians in government who cheer, honor and financially support such behavior. No, the problem is the Jews.
The same left that blames metal detectors for murderous assaults and Richard Dawkins for offending Islam makes excuses for radical Muslim and Women's March on Washington organizer Linda Sarsour, who has called for certain apostate Muslims to have their genitals removed, says that Zionists cannot be feminists and stands up for terrorists and terror supporters.
Why does the left seek to support radical Islam so ardently? Because the left believes that the quickest way to destroy Western civilization is no longer class warfare but multicultural warfare: Simply ally with groups that hate the prevailing system and work with them to take it down. Then, the left will build on the ashes of the old system. In this view, Dawkins is an opponent -- how can the left recruit Muslims to fight the system if Dawkins is busy alienating them? They support the Palestinian terror regime -- how can that colonialist outpost, Israel, be defeated without a little blood? They applaud Sarsour -- she's an ally, so she must be backed.
Alliance with nefarious forces calls your own morality into question. KPFA has a lot more to answer for than Dawkins. But the left will never have to answer such questions so long as it focuses in on its common enemy: a supposedly conservative establishment that must be fought with any tool at its disposal.
Douglas Murray: UK Terrorism: 'Enough' is Not 'Enough'
Yet now that we are nearly two months on from her comments, it is worth noting that to date there are no signs that "enough" has been "enough". Consider just two highly visible signs that what Britain has gone through this year has been, in fact, no wake-up call at all, and that instead, whatever might have been learned has been absorbed into the to-and-fro of political events, passing like any other transient news story.
Nearly two months on from British Prime Minister Theresa May's comments, following the Westminster terror attack, that there is "far too much tolerance of extremism" in the UK and that "Enough is enough", it is worth noting that what Britain has gone through this year has been, in fact, no wake-up call at all, and that to date there are no signs that "enough" has been "enough". (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The first was an event that took place only a fortnight after Theresa May's claim that something had changed in the UK. This was the annual "Al-Quds Day" march in London, organised by the badly misnamed Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). Apart from organising an annual "Islamophobe of the Year" award -- an award which two years ago they gave to the slaughtered staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo -- this Khomeinist group's main public activity each year is an "Al Quds Day" in London. The day allows a range of anti-Semites and anti-Israel extremists to congregate in central London, wave Hezbollah flags and call for the destruction of the Jewish state, Israel.
As Hezbollah is a terrorist group, and any distinction between a "military" and "diplomatic" wing of the group exists solely in the minds of a few people in the British Foreign Office, waving the flag of Hezbollah in public is waving the flag of a terrorist group. If the rules of the game were indeed changing after the followers of a Hezbollah-like creed had slaughtered citizens on a bridge in London, then the promotion of a terrorist group in the same city only days later would not have gone ahead. Nor would the speeches from the "Al Quds Day" platform have been allowed to be completed without arrests being made. The speeches to the 1,000-strong crowd included the most lurid imaginable claims.
These included a speech by the chairman of the IHRC, Nazim Ali. Mr Ali used his time before the public to make a connection between the horrific fire in a tower-block in West London days before the march and the Jewish state. According to Mr Ali, the roughly 80 victims of the fire at Grenfell Tower "were murdered by Theresa May's cronies, many of which are supporters of Zionist ideology." He went on:
"Let us not forget that some of the biggest corporations who were supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, in those towers in Grenfell, the Zionist supporters of the Tory party... It is the Zionists who give money to the Tory party, to kill people in high rise blocks... Careful, careful, careful of those rabbis who belong to the Board of Deputies [of British Jews], who have got blood on their hands."
Does Mrs. May regard this as "enough"?
MEMRI: Egyptian Writers Criticize The Negative Attitude To Christians And Jews Reflected In The Common Interpretation Of The Fatiha, The Opening Surah Of The Quran
A discussion has recently taken place in the Egyptian media regarding the interpretation of the last two verses (verses 6 and 7) of the Fatiha, the opening surah of the Quran. These verses state: "[Allah,] Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have incurred [Your] wrath or of those who are astray." According to the common interpretation of these verses,[i] the phrase "those upon whom You have bestowed favor" is taken to refer to the Muslims, while the phrases "those who have incurred [Your] wrath" and "those who are astray" are said to refer to the Jews and the Christians, respectively.
The discussion in the Egyptian media was sparked by an investigative article published January 27, 2017 in the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm. The article, by journalist Mu'ataz Nadi, stated that booklets handed out at funerals and in mourning tents in Egypt repeat this interpretation that refers negatively to the Jews and the Christians, even though renowned religious scholars, such as 19th-century religious reformist Muhammad 'Abduh and others, claimed that it is false.
Several Egyptian journalists responded with articles that supported Nadi's view, rejecting the interpretation that appears in the booklets and rebuking clerics, especially Al-Azhar, for allowing the publication of such materials that they said spread extremism. They added that the booklets are yet another indication of the urgent need to reform the religious discourse.[ii]
The following are excerpts from the Al-Masri Al-Yawm article and from articles that responded to it.

Jews were coming to the Temple Mount, Har HaBayit, in larger numbers than ever before, if still a small number, a trickle. It was a miracle. Since the terror attack on July 14 that murdered two policemen and injured a third, Har HaBayit  had become quiet and peaceful. The Arabs were boycotting the Mount.

There was no one to harass the Jews.

Some Jews figured it out and went to visit right away, before the opportunity to tour the Mount in peace evaporated. Others hesitated, afraid of tensions, not sure they trusted the quiet, not sure they believed that for the first time in a very long time, there was no Muslim presence on Har HaBayit.

For years I'd wanted to visit but held back out of respect for the Litvishe rabbis who tend to discourage the practice. I couldn't visit but I supported freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount. I befriended many people in the various Temple Mount movements. And I learned.

Long Lists of Rabbis

Yosef Rabin shared with me a pdf file of a long list of rabbis that support visits to Har HaBayit. Most of them were not rabbis from my faction. But one or two of them were. Probably not good enough, I thought to myself. I just couldn't take the liberty. It was important to me that I follow the rabbis.

But since the terror attack, I was seeing photos and clips of Jews visiting Har HaBayit and I could see that many of the visitors were Haredi, the faction with which I most closely associate religiously. Something was happening.

It was an awakening of the collective Jewish heart. There was an opportunity.

And no one wanted to miss out.

Proper Preparation

Thanks to dabbling in Jewish Temple Mount rights, I had also come to learn quite a bit about the controversy surrounding ascension. The rabbis were either not confident enough on the subject to permit ascension, or they were afraid that people would desecrate Har HaBayit by walking where forbidden, or by not preparing properly.

None of this would have been an issue for me. By now I knew what to do, how to prepare, how to comport myself. I knew there would be guides to help me navigate where it is and isn't okay to walk. Organizations affiliated with Har HaBayit have made sure there is always a guide to help people tour and learn.

As I witnessed those photos of the smiling faces of friends visiting the Mount, a yearning had grown so strong in me that something clicked in my heart and mind and decided the matter for me. I would go.

I had to go. 

Yearning For Aliyah

It was reminiscent of how I'd felt about coming to Israel. I was a teenager and yearned to make Aliyah. I ate, slept, and dreamt Eretz HaKodesh. I had to be in Israel. My mother had her hands full, a widowed single mother, trying to persuade me to hold off long enough to at least graduate high school first.

It was that yearning again, but this time for Har HaBayit. I had to go now. I was only afraid I was too late. I was afraid that things would go back to the status quo. That I wouldn't be able to see this miraculous sight of a Har HaBayit that was peaceful and calm, beheld in reverence by visiting Jews.

My husband didn't want to go. I didn't want to go alone, so I posted to a Facebook group seeking a companion. One woman responded, tentatively at first, then more sure: JoAnn Goldberg. We knew each other but slightly. She had also never been to the Mount.

The End?

We discussed the visit sporadically throughout the day. The police closed the Mount to Jews after some guy made a provocation by praying loudly. We thought that was the end of our jaunt. Then the Mount was reopened.

Next it was announced they were closing off the Mount to visits early because there was to be a memorial service for the murdered policemen.

Then they canceled the memorial service.

It's like that with Har HaBayit. You never know what's going to be. The police are so afraid something is going to happen that they waffle back and forth constantly.

A Short Window

We decided we would go ahead. We would leave at 6:10 in the morning in order to make sure we made the 7:30 visiting time, as recommended by Jenni Heltay Menashe. There's only a short window for visits. If you're Jewish or otherwise non-Muslim, you can visit from 7:30-11:00 and from 1:30-2:30. Muslims, meantime, can visit any time they like.

That night I went to the mikvah to prepare for my visit. I felt like a kallah, a bride, getting ready for my beloved. I was absolutely gleeful in the water. On the way home I felt shiny somehow, crystalline and pure under the night sky, as if I had absorbed a portion of the light of the moon and the stars.

My heart was soaring.

I did not sleep all night. I tossed and turned, afraid I wouldn't be able to get up when the alarm went off so early. My heart was pounding so that I became fearful. It was just anticipation, but the sensation was so strong I worried a coronary event was imminent.

Cloth Slippers

I arose from my bed at 5:15, even before the alarm went off, and drank my coffee as I watched the sky lighten through the window. I got dressed, grabbed my frozen bottle of water from the freezer and bagged up my cloth slippers (we don't wear leather shoes on Har HaBayit).

I went to wait for JoAnn in the designated spot and watched as she drove right past me. Thank goodness, she called me soon after and came back for me. We were both sleep deprived. JoAnn had also not slept a wink the night before.

It was amazing being out in the early Judean morning, hazy and cool though we were in the midst of a fierce heatwave. It's one of the things I love best about where I live. No matter how hot it is, the nights and early mornings are cool, with the exception of sharav conditions, which occur only once or twice a year, thankfully.

We had decided to park on Mt. Zion and walk to the Western Wall plaza from there. We got to Mt. Zion around 7 and already, the large lot was filled. We circled and circled, hoping we wouldn't have to park farther away. Finally, someone looked to be leaving, and a spot opened up for us! We decided it was God wanting us to visit His holy place, and helping us make it happen.

We made our way down to the Western Wall through the Old City, excitement building in us, not really sure where the entrance was to Har HaBayit. When we went through security, we discovered we had to actually exit the area in order to get to the gate for Har HaBayit. Not a big deal. I wanted to change into my slippers anyway, so I sat on the ledge outside the Kotel plaza and changed out of my shoes. Then we left the plaza to make our way to the waiting area for the Temple Mount where I spotted this sign.

I feel Westren. Do you feel Westren?
We got to the gate where there were already people waiting, maybe 8 or 10. Some were praying the morning service. Others were standing around chatting. I worried that if we weren't at the front of the line, we wouldn't get in. I knew it was unlikely the policemen would allow in more than 10-15 Jews at a time. I grabbed JoAnn and we wound our way to the beginning of the line.

This was so not like me. I never assert myself or push. In fact, it took me about three years to make it onto an Israeli bus. I'd wait in line, and when the bus got there, everyone would push in front of me and before I knew it, the doors of the bus would close and the bus would take off. I'd be left in a cloud of exhaust, feeling like a very polite failure. I was so American. (Still am.)

But I wanted to be in that 7:30 group. I would not be put off.

I had a hunch that two of the women there at the front of the line were to be our guides that morning, so I asked them, "Are you with Nashim L'Maan HaMikdash?"

Sure enough, they were.

Second Security Check

The gates opened and we went through security. I had been warned not to bring any prayer books or religious items, but as he looked through my bag, the guard was freaking out about. . . my wallet. It was leather and had a snap on the front. Some prayer books have a similar look. I figured out his concern and told him it was a wallet.

They took everyone's ID cards as we passed through metal detectors, x-ray, and a manual bag check. After we'd all gone through the security check, a policemen read out the names in the stack of ID cards he was holding, one at a time, looking at us to make sure we matched our photos as he gave them back.

As we waited to ascend, Rivka Shimon, a guide, began to explain what was original to Temple times and what was built by Herod to widen the roads and walkways. She was able to point things out nicely from our vantage point.

I was so excited I breaking out in goose bumps.

Group Of Thirty

Security had decided to let all the people waiting with us ascend to Har HaBayit. This just doesn't happen. But since the terror attack, and since the Arabs had decided they were boycotting the Mount, the policemen were letting in all Jewish comers. We were 30, an unprecedented number, according to our guides.

Finally, they let us go ahead. The men began to sing lusty, joyful Hebrew songs, dancing their way across the wooden-slatted bridge, rickety under our feet. The Arabs had shut down an attempt to repair the bridge some years ago. This was Mughrabi Bridge and it leads to the Mughrabi Gate entrance to the Mount.

After the murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year-old girl murdered in her bed by an Arab terrorist, her family had pushed to rename the gate Shaar Hallel, Hallel Gate, in her memory. I'm told that all the Temple Mount activists call it Shaar Hallel. I determined that I would do so, too.

The rest of the visit was kind of a blur. I wanted to stop and see things, touch things, but the policemen rushed us along. We were not allowed to linger. They had cameras on us, filming the entire time. There were at least 7 or more policemen following us. They were making sure we didn't pray.
So quiet and peaceful

Just us and the cops
Now I had thought about it and decided that if it looked like it were possible, I would pretend to quietly chat with JoAnn, but in actuality, say some prayers. I asked her on the way there if she was okay with this, how she'd feel if I got arrested, and etc. She said it was fine. That if I got arrested, she would be fine.

While we waited to ascend, I asked our two guides if I could do that, and one of them said, "Certainly. Just don't be provocative and it should be fine."

We got to one part of Har HaBayit which the guide explained was a place for quiet reflection. We stood there only moments before the policemen shooed us onward, but I managed to say the shema.

Next, we came to a ledge where we were told to sit and listen to words of Torah. Strangely, no one minded if we said Divrei Torah. We just couldn't pray!

Rivka Shimon made a beautiful Dvar Torah and made sure to thank the policemen for their dedication to guarding us so well and for taking care of us. I liked that she did that. I'd noticed as we waited to ascend that an Ethiopian policewoman had run up to her for a hug, her face alight. Rivka was the kind of person you had to love.

Rivka finished and a man began to give his Dvar Torah. A policeman tried to stop him. But the cop relented and let the man give his little sermon, though he cautioned him to keep it short. The man didn't keep it short, and eventually, the cops got a bit huffy and he wound it up.

We moved along. I was trying to take photos, but it was difficult what with the policemen rushing us through. If I moved to the side to take a photo, a cop would be right there next to me, filming me. It was creepy.

Why weren't we free to linger? Why weren't we free to pray? There were no Muslims to provoke or offend, so why were our own Israeli policemen keeping us from these freedoms?

It was painful.

The guides explained each thing we saw as best they could, filling things out with their encyclopedic knowledge of the place, its history, and the Torah. I asked if I could see the ancient beams that had been left to rot, out in the elements. A guide showed me where they were.

I'd seen photos and still, as I looked over the ledge, I was horrified. They'd been carbon tested. They were 3,000 year old beams made of cedars of Lebanon. They may very well have been part of the Temple. The Arabs had sold some of them off for firewood, and had carelessly abandoned the rest, barely covering them up with these makeshift tarps.  

In spite of the difficulties of being rushed and watched, I felt all aglow. Rivka Shimon could see it on my face. She kept coming over to touch my arm or give me a squeeze, she was so happy for me. My first time. Rivka saw what I was feeling.

Rivka and the other guide, whose name we never got, had warned us that some people feel moved and others do not, and that both are okay. I had no doubt that I would feel moved. I feel moved every time I go to the Western Wall! And now I knew that the Western Wall was just something Herod built that really had nothing to do with the Temple.

We prayed there only because we couldn't get to the real deal.

Now we could.

Now I had.

The other thing we discussed before climbing that rickety bridge was where we could and couldn't walk, according to Jewish law. The guide whose name we didn't get said that some rabbis said you can walk anywhere on Har HaBayit because it is for the purpose of the mitzvah called Kibush Haaretz (conquering the land). She also said that going anywhere that annoys the goyim (non-Jews) qualifies as Kibush Haaretz.

Clearly she was more right wing than I! But Rivka Shimon interjected: "I don't go to Har HaBayit to annoy anyone. I go to Har HaBayit to be close to God."

That was more my style. I wasn't going there to provoke anyone. I was going there out of a yearning to be close to Hashem, to His holy presence, on His holy mountain. I was on fire with that.

It wasn't about politics. I wasn't going to prostrate myself to the ground to get arrested. I was there for LOVE.

All too soon, it was over. We were rushed out the gate and our guides disappeared. It was actually a little scary because we were two women and we had two roads to choose from and it was an Arab neighborhood. Thank God, we quickly figured out which way it was back to the Western Wall plaza. Funnily enough, we saw Rivka Shimon again and after we went through security (third time's the charm!) we asked her where she lived and how long she'd been doing this. Then she asked us where we come from and said that the ancient mikvaot in our area prove that people would stop there on the way to visit Har HaBayit.

Before we parted ways, Rivka said that when we leave Har HaBayit, we take some of the holiness with us and spread it around to wherever we go, for instance to our homes. "Imagine," she said, "How much greater that holiness will be when the Third Temple is built!"

With that we said goodbye and continued past the Western Wall. I noticed JoAnn looking at the Wall and I found that I didn't even care to look. I said to her, "After where we were? The Kotel feels like a nothing burger."

It was crazy to feel and say that. But there it was. The Western Wall was just a retaining wall that Herod had built, and as Rivka Shimon had mentioned to us, contrary to popular thought, it's not the only remaining remnant connected to the Temple. The northern, southern, and eastern retaining walls are all extant as well.

The Western Wall got built up in our collective Jewish mind and heart because it was the only bit we had access to, and then we didn't even have access to that.

But there is so much more than that. And there is Har HaBayit!

JoAnn and I slowly wound our way back through the Jewish Quarter to Mt. Zion and then to the car to drive home. Now, it was hot. Walking was difficult. We were glad to be in the air-conditioned car.

By the time JoAnn pulled up to the front of my home, we didn't really want to leave each other. We'd just bonded, both of us going to Har HaBayit for the first time together, leaving at the crack of dawn. We sat and talked some more and knew that we would be friends, good friends, from this point on.

We'd shared a most precious experience.

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Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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HogwartsHogsmeade, July 26 - Flush with a sense of power and purpose after extracting concessions elsewhere, Muslims issued new demands today that the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry take away the hexes, jinxes, and other measures around the institution intended to protect the students, faculty, and staff.

The Islamic Waqf and the Islamic Movement issued an ultimatum to Albus Dumbledore, warning him that they would continue their protests until all access points to the school grounds are no longer bewitched. They further admonished their followers that spells cast by a Muslim who has passed through any such measures will not be accepted.

"The disgraceful anti-muggle enchantments are an affront to Islam," they declared. "The infidels must remove any such abominations before we will deign to enter the compound once more. We demand that the status quo be restored to before there were any such enchantments. Muslims everywhere are watching and waiting for compliance with this."

No reaction has come yet from the office of the headmaster, but several staff members have spoken off the record about the situation. "They may demand as they wish," sniffed a dark-haired professor with a prominent nose. "The day this institution trifles with such trivialities as what muggles want is the day I tender my resignation."

"Well, tha's a tricky bi' innit?" remarked another staff member, of unusual size. "I reckon they're harmless. Ca't be too careful, though, and whatever Dumbledore decides, well, tha'll be good 'nuff f' me."

"Oh, I would love to see them try getting in, even without the enchantments!" gushed a portly professor. "Some of the students here would make quick work of them. Why, there's one fifth-year redhead who does the most amazing bat-bogey hex. Almost a shame we can't let her loose on that lot. We also have a sixth-year with such a talent for potions that he must have inherited his mother's facility with the field. Say, the two would make quite a couple, now that I mention it. Wonder if anyone else has noticed that possibility. "

"This does not bode well, not at all," moaned a thin professor with flowing robes. "Everyone here is in grave danger! Just look at the alignment of the stars - it is an omen, I tell you! When you are gifted with Sight, as I am, you, too, might perceive the secrets the future has in store." She floated away, peering at her crystal ball.

Reports from the Ministry of Magic indicated that Minister Fudge was leaning toward accepting the Muslims' demands.

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From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The urgent need for the detection of mettle
This would seem to suggest that the Americans put pressure on Netanyahu to dismantle the metal detectors – two days after he declared they would stay put. If so, the Trump team has just forced Israel to hand its enemies yet another victory.
Israel further compounded this error by saying the metal detectors were a mistake – thus loudly proclaiming weakness, which in the Arab and Muslim world is always an incentive for further attack.
In any event, the problem is not at root the terrorist violence around Temple Mount, nor is its solution the metal detectors. The problem is the charade of Temple Mount itself: the fact that Jordan, which has no legitimate title on Temple Mount whatsoever, is allowed not only to administer it but to prevent Jews from free access to Judaism’s own holy of holies.
This ridiculous and unjust status quo has been allowed to continue for one reason only: fear that the Muslim world will ignite if it is altered in any way. This was first displayed 50 years ago by Moshe Dayan, the general who liberated Temple Mount from its illegal Jordanian occupiers – only to hand its administration back to Jordan for fear of Islamic holy war.
Temple Mount is a symbol therefore of the enduring timidity of Israel and its consequent belief that it can only ever seek to manage, make deals with and calm down its mortal enemies rather than defeat them. It is also a symbol of Israel’s refusal to acknowledge that the violence against it is not the result of a land boundary dispute, nor a clash of rival nationalisms. It is, far more terrifyingly, the product of Islamic holy war.
Displays of weakness such as the metal detector debacle encourage these jihadi enemies to screw the vice ever tighter. But the regional situation has now dramatically changed. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the other Gulf states (except rogue Qatar) all desperately need the support of Israel and America.
This is surely the time for the US to use that leverage to start addressing the real issues behind this flare-up. What’s needed is not metal detectors but the detection of long-absent mettle.

At the Temple Mount, it’s not about metal detectors, it’s about sovereignty
The Israeli government missed the point of Palestinian anger directed at metal detectors placed at entrances to the Temple Mount and, having misdiagnosed the situation, made a decision that failed to resolve the crisis and has only made it worse. At least, that’s what many of the Muslim protesters in the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City have been saying since the metal detectors were removed early Tuesday morning.
Israel thought it was making a concession by removing the detectors, which were installed after three Arab Israelis carried out a shooting attack at the Temple Mount, killing two policemen with weapons they had smuggled into Al-Aqsa Mosque. Instead, the security cabinet decided advanced monitoring equipment, at the cost of NIS 100 million (around $27 million), would eventually take their place. This would make physical access for Muslim worshipers to the mosque easier and quicker, and make the area outside the holy site look less like a military checkpoint.
However, on Tuesday and Wednesday, many protesters in the Old City repeated the same line: “The smart cameras are worse.” Worse, they explained, because such cameras represent a more sophisticated way of controlling the entrances to the Temple Mount.
And therein lies the real issue: The initial quarrel over metal detectors has evolved into a battle over sovereignty at what is possibly the world’s most sensitive holy site.
Complicating matters for Israel is the fact that the thousands of Palestinians heading to pray in the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem every day have no clear leader.
Stand With Us: Arab Leadership Lies on the Temple Mount: 75 Years of Incitement:

Last night I sat in a restaurant with my family. The singing from the table behind us signified that it was not just my birthday.
Grandparents were sitting at the center of a long table. The grandmother holding a newborn baby, her husband next to her, surrounded by their five married children, each with two kids. They were celebrating the grandmother’s birthday and that of the newest baby. Both had been born on the same day.
A family, gathered in joy.
Just like the Salomon family in Halamish (Neve Tzuf). A family gathered in joy, they had a double reason to celebrate. It was the eve of the Sabbath and they had invited their friends to come later that evening for a celebration to mark the birth of a grandson.
Daughter in law Michal didn’t understand why the man burst in to the Salomon home. When he shouted in Arabic, raising a knife, she realized what was happening. She grabbed her three children and raced with them up the stairs, passing right behind the terrorist.
Michal shut herself and the children in the room where her two smaller children were sleeping. She couldn’t find the key to lock the door so she braced it shut with her own body. She instructed the children to remain quiet while she struggled not to hear the voice of her mother in law shouting her husband’s name.
It was a neighbor, an IDF soldier, who ended the terror attack with a precision shot through the kitchen window. Seeing the terrorist drop to the ground, he ran inside and bound the wounds of the grandmother, enabling her to be taken to the hospital and saved.
It was too late for grandfather Yosef Salomon, his daughter Haya and son Elad (Michal’s husband).
The nightmare doesn’t end when the attack ends. 3 dead. So many sum up a terror attack with statistics, as if discussing the final score of a baseball game. Reuters (and numerous additional media channels that repeated their wording) went so far as to equate the three murdered Jews to the 3 Arabs who were killed rioting and attacking police.
The Salomon family members were not killed in “clashes”, they were butchered sitting down to dinner. Reuters did not find it necessary to point out that the additional three people mentioned were Arabs, violently rioting, attacking police. One died when the Molotov cocktail he was going to throw exploded on him but to Reuters, this is equal to the grandfather who wanted to celebrate the birth of a new grandson.
Statistics. Who bothers to see the people behind the numbers?
Who bothers to think about a grandmother who had to bury her husband and two children before she could even heal from her wounds?
Who bothers to think of a wife and mother of a newborn having to learn to live without her husband? How many times will her children ask “Where’s daddy? I want daddy!” before they stop asking? Who considers the haunting doubt, the guilt, the grief, that Michal couldn’t warn her husband in time. Maybe, if he had turned in time, realized even a split second earlier, he could have been saved too.
How many people consider how hard it is to live with maybes?
How many consider the witnesses to the attack? The survivors who were not physically hurt but saw and will never be able to forget?
Or the people who cleaned up afterwards? Each of them volunteers, willing to do this difficult task because they believe in the sanctity of life.

According to Jewish belief, life is sacred, thus when a person dies their remains must be buried with dignity and respect. When a person is violently murdered, it is the pieces of their body, including every drop of blood that must be cleaned up and brought to the best burial possible. 
Will they ever forget what their hands touched? How many other scenes like this have they seen before? How many more will there be?

Life’s blood splashed across the floor, splattered on the refrigerator, the cabinets… Could you walk across these floors, use this kitchen, without seeing in your mind’s eye the blood that was spilled here?
Could you go on living in the home where the sanctity of your family had been violated?
If you lived in Halamish, what would you think of every time you walked past the Salomon home?
When the media considers a family butchered in their home equal to terrorists and bullies rioting violently, it is no surprise that others, even good, kind, decent people, have a difficulty seeing beyond the statistics.
When Renana Meir opened the newspaper, she thought she was looking at images of her mother’s blood pooled on the floor of their home. It took her a few moments to realize that the images she was seeing were not of the attack that stole her mother from her but a new attack that ripped apart a different family.
Hallel’s mother said she felt her daughter was murdered all over again.
The Fogel family were thrown back to the attack (in 2011) where terrorists massacred mother, father and three of their six children.
One of the survivors of the attack on the Shabo family (2002) said the images of his dead brothers next to him came washing back over him: “There are some things you never forget.”
No. The nightmare doesn’t end when the terror attack ends.
But it’s much easier not to think about what happens after the attack.

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