Before this post was first published, Israeli media had reported claims that Moshe Feiglin, a Likud Leader, was planning to go up to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem to call for the destruction of the mosque and its replacement with a Jewish “Third Temple.”
The basis for these reports was a flyer (below) announcing the rally.
Israel’s Channel 10, which carried one of the initial reports, however deleted its report. Update 1 to this post published Friday explained these developments as soon as they became apparent, including a denial from Feiglin that he had anything to do with the flyers.
However, on Sunday morning, it became clear from Israeli media that the flyers were real, even if Feiglin denied a role in distributing them. Because of the flyers, Israeli police prevented Feiglin and his supporters from going to Al-Aqsa. Feiglin had never denied he intended to go there, only that he had a role in the flyer. Following Sunday’s incident, Feiglin issued a statement reaffirming his calls for Israel to control the Al-Aqsa compound on behalf of the “Jewish nation.”
The Hebrew edition of Ynet reported (my translation):
A Jerusalem police official explained: Feiglin’s people going up to the Temple Mount is nothing new and happens almost every month. The difference this time is spreading calls through the media to “cleanse the place of the enemies of Israel.”
The Ynet English edition states:
The flyers found near the compound reads: “Member of the Likud Caucus, along with its thousands of members, headed by Moshe Feiglin are hereby invited to arrive at Temple Mount and praise God, and declare that healthy leadership begins with total control over Temple Mount.
More details of what happened on Sunday morning in Update 2 below.
Feiglin’s 12 February statement calls for Israeli “sovereignty” over Al-Aqsa
Following the police preventing Feiglin and his followers going to Al-Aqsa, Feiglin issued a statement reasserting his denial of involvement in the flyers which he termed “incitement.” However he also reaffirmed his position that Israel must control the Al-Aqsa compound:
The real story here is not the incitement, but the fact that Israel’s police force is scared off by any shadow of Islamic threat, proving that the Temple Mount is truly not in our hands. When the heart of our Nation is not in our hands, the blood flow to the other organs is interrupted and gangrene begins to set in in places like Sderot and Be’er Sheva, quickly spreading to our sovereignty throughout Israel.
It is important to continue to knock on the gates of the Temple Mount and to restore our sovereignty to this holiest of places to the Jewish Nation. Everyone who ascends the Mount adds another slice of sovereignty in Israel’s heart and health throughout our nation.
Calls for Third Temple on Al-Aqsa not new
Whoever was the author of the flyer, the latest call for the destruction of Al-Aqsa is nothing new. A number of Israeli groups work openly for the destruction of Al-Aqsa and its replacement with a Jewish temple. The Temple Mount Faithful, for example, declares on its website:
The goal of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in our lifetime in accordance with the Word of G-d and all the Hebrew prophets and the liberation of the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation so that it may be consecrated to the Name of G-d.
The Temple Institute is another Israeli organization dedicated to the same goal. For these reasons it is is critically important to track Israeli calls for the destruction of Al-Aqsa.
As noted below, the Israeli army rabbinate’s publication of an image of the Temple Mount in late 2011 lacking the Dome of the Rock helps push this agenda into the Zionist “mainstream.” As also noted, the work of groups like Ateret Cohanim, supported by Benjamin Netanyahu are part of this disturbing trend. But please read all this information thoroughly and don’t use it to spread rumors about imminent or ongoing events for which there is no evidence.
Table of contents
- Original post (Friday, 10 February, 14:36 UTC)
- Update 1: Feiglin denial (Friday, 10 February, 18:19 UTC)
- Update 2: Police stop Feiglin from entering Temple Mount (Sunday, 12 February, 06:38 UTC)
- Update 3: Feiglin’s 12 February statement calls for Israeli “sovereignty” over Al-Aqsa (Sunday, 12 February, 15:59 UTC)
Update: Sunday, 12 February
Melanie Lidman, Jerusalem affairs reporter for The Jerusalem Post tweeted:
Temple Mount closed to visitors after police deem visit by Feiglin and Likud activists to be attempt to disrupt order #jpost— Melanie Lidman (@melanielidman) February 12, 2012
Groups of Italian and Japanese tourists crushed they cannot see Temple Mount #jpost— Melanie Lidman (@melanielidman) February 12, 2012
Lidman also wrote in The Jerusalem Post:
Police prevented MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) from entering the Temple Mount Sunday morning, accusing Feiglin and Likud activists of attempting to disrupt the order at the site. Feiglin and three activists had attempted to enter the site, but went to pray at the Western Wall after police prevented them from carrying out their original plan.
Jerusalem Police Chief Nisso Shaham closed the Temple Mount to all non-Muslim visitors Sunday morning.
The police decided to temporarily block visitors’ access to Temple Mount following a security assessment.
The decision followed the discovery of rightists flyers urging to “purify the premises from the enemies of Israel.” (Yair Altman)
Later a more detailed report in The Jerusalem Post stated:
Police prevented former Likud leadership contender Moshe Feiglin from entering the Temple Mount Sunday morning, accusing Feiglin and Likud activists of attempting to disrupt the order. Feiglin sent a message to Likud activists on Saturday night, urging them to join him by going up to the Temple Mount on Sunday morning.
The report adds in reference to the flyer:
Feiglin claimed that the announcement was fake and that his name was unknowingly used on the flyer. He demanded police investigate to determine who made the flyer.
However, in Feiglin’s weekly newsletter published last Thursday, he invited Likud activists to join him to go up to the Temple Mount. The flyer was posted on the website of “Har Habayit Shelanu” an activist group dedicated to Jewish sovereignty at the Temple Mount.
Earlier, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli leftist groups had protested Feiglin’s planned Temple Mount visit.
The far-right Israeli website Arutz 7 reported:
The posters were posted throughout the city and called for the “cleansing of the Temple Mount of the enemies of Israel.”
Spokesmen for Feiglin vehemently denied allegations they are involved in the posters and called on the police to investigate who is behind the incitement.
Leaders and members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party are leading an incursion and rally into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – which Israel calls the “Temple Mount” – in eastern occupied Jerusalem this Sunday to call for its destruction and building a Jewish Temple on its “ruins.”
A flyer circulated online states:
Members of the Likud Center
Along with the thousands of party members
Led by Reb’ Moshe Feiglin
Chairman of the Likud Leadership
Are invited to make aliyah to [go up] the Temple Mount. To thank and praise the Creator of this World. To declare that healthy leadership. [sic] Its beginning is in the complete control of Temple Mount.
Cleansing the place of the enemies of Israel, the land thieves, and building the Temple on the ruins of the mosques.
Without Any Fear Whatsoever
We shall meet on Sunday, 19 Shvat, near the top of the Maimonides Gate at 8:00 a.m.
Yearning for destruction of Muslim holy sites
An image distributed by the Israeli army chief rabbinate in December depicts the Al-Aqsa compound with the Dome of the Rock removed.
Once the preserve of Zionist fringe groups, destruction of the Muslim holy sites in occupied Jerusalem has become an increasingly “mainstream” call in Israel, now coming from leaders of the ruling party.
A few weeks ago it was revealed that the Israeli army rabbinate had distributed pamphlets depicting the Temple Mount without the famous Dome of the Rock, one of the two mosques, along with Al-Aqsa, that have existed there for centuries.
While Feiglin recently ran against Netanyahu for the leadership of the Likud Party, there is little reason to think that Netanyahu himself does not sympathize with or at least tacitly support the increasingly loud calls for the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, calls which he has never condemned.
In 1996, during his first premiership, Netanyahu colluded with a group called Ateret Cohanim, which is dedicated to the destruction of Al-Aqsa, to open a tunnel that was seen by Palestinians as furthering the goal of a settler take over of the Al-Aqsa compound and aimed at undermining the mosques. Fifty-eight Palestinians and 15 Israelis died in violence sparked by Israel’s provocation.
A blog post from a website called “Bayt HaMikdash” (Temple) adds more information about the rally. It is notable that this rally is not merely a transgression of occupied territory calculated to offend Palestinians and Muslims by calling for the destruction of their shrines and heritage, but also a violation of traditional Jewish edicts.
It has long been forbidden by Israel’s Chief Rabbis for Jews to “make aliyah” to the Mount on the grounds that they could inadvertantly violate the “Holy of Holies.” Nationalist religious Zionism is increasingly pushing these prohibitions aside and creating unprecedentedly dangerous provocations.
Here’s the text of the post at “Bayt HaMikdash”:
Members of the Likud Center will make Aliyah to Temple Mount on Sunday, 19 Shvat
Participating: the chairman of the Likud leadership, Mr. Moshe Feiglin: tens of members of the Likud Center along with the thousands of members will make Aliyah to the Temple Mount, in holiness and purity, in order to give thanks and praise for their having entered the Likud | Didan Netzach!
By Gershon Kassif - Mikdash [Temple] Website
Tens of members of the Likud Center, activists for the Temple and the Temple Mount, including the Chair of the Foundation for the Legacy of the Temple Mount and the Temple, Yehuda Glick, along with the thousands of Likud party members who are loyal to the Temple Mount and to the Temple, will make Aliyah on Sunday, 19 Shvat, along with the Chairman of Jewish Leadership in the Likud, Reb’ Moshe Feiglin, and Michael Pua.
To thank and praise the Creator of the world for having had the privilege of bringing tens of new Likud Center members to make Aliyah to the Temple Mount, to make requests for the future and to pray the peace be upon Israel, to cancel the terrible decree of the evacuation of Migron and the rest of the settlements in Eretz Yisrael.
We shall meet on Sunday, 19 Shvat, near the top of the Maimonides Gate at 8:00 a.m.
Due to the holiness of the place
- it is REQUIRED that one purify oneself in the Mikveh ritual bath, as per [Jewish] law
- it is REQUIRED that one bring Yom-Kippur footwear - not made out of leather
- it is REQUIRED to enter only to the places permitted to us, as we have been instructed by the Great [Teachers/Rabbis] of Israel
- due to the terrible decrees of the police, it is required to bring identification
Temple Mount opening times for Jews: Morning: 7:30 through 10:00. Noon: 12:20 through 13:30
Update: Feiglin denial (Friday, 10 February, 18:19 UTC)
Meanwhile the Israeli forum Rotter quotes a statement, allegedly from Feiglin:
Here is Feiglin’s full response to the matter
With regard to the announcement disseminated by Nana: this is a classic case of libel, I have no idea who wrote that ad, if such a person even exists, or if it may be a provocation. In any event, the people who publicized it did not bother to make sure that I had set my hand to the matters before publishing them. The matter will be handled further in the legal channels. I make Aliyah to the Temple Mount on the 19th of every [Hebrew] month, and have done so for many years. I will also do so next Sunday, and as always, I send reminders before that in the weekly Jewish Leadership update, for anyone who may want to join. The rest of the things stated in the article are entirely imaginary.
The quote appears to come from Feiglin’s Facebook wall.
On Sunday, 19 Shvat, we will make Aliyah to the Temple Mount with Moshe Feiglin. We will give thanks to G_d for the great success and pray for the coninuation thereof. All new members of the [Likud] Center, activists, volunteers, and voters are invited to the entrance gate of the Wailing Wall, at 7:30, after ritual bath and without leather shoes.
Ella K notes that the original publication does not call Feiglin Reb’, and that it does not call the Moghrabi Gate the Maimonides Gate - and that it gets the time wrong. What remains undisputed is that Feiglin plans to go up the mount on Sunday with followers in tow.
Dena Shunra observes:
What does this mean? I am not sure. Maybe someone in the Likud is trying to make Feiglin look bad (he competed against Netanyahu in the recent Likud primaries, and while Netanyahu won by a landslide, there was at least some analysis saying that it constituted a kind of win for Feiglin). If so, someone in the Likud is playing politics with fire. (It is somewhat reminiscent of the Likud tactics of threatening Iran with bombardment in order to contain the Obama administration.) Or it could be someone who hopes that it would truly be so. Or indeed, a signal. Or settlers flexing their muscles. Or a trial balloon.
There’s certainly no doubt that whoever published this flyer – which was taken as real by the Israeli media – is tapping into a history of calls and growing support for destroying Al-Aqsa. Feiglin’s supporters too are clear about their desire to take over the Temple Mount.
With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation.