US rebukes Israel for lack of religious freedom – for Jews

I was astonished to read that the US State Department has condemned Israel for restricting religious freedom for Jews on the Temple Mount.  The cause of my astonishment is that barely 2 weeks ago, the same State Department was having the hardest time pronouncing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Of course one could say that the two opinions are not really related. One is a political stance and the other is religious. But since the Jewish nation, peoplehood, land and religion are all intertwined, the two conflicting opinions most definitely are related.

In any event, this is one time when I find myself in agreement with the State Department, at least on this one point of their report.

From the Yisrael Hayom link:

A U.S. State Department report published on Wednesday criticizes Israel for allowing only Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerualem.

The report, the “International Religious Freedom Report for 2011,” states that Israeli government policy is to grant freedom of religious expression to all, but despite an Israeli Supreme Court ruling, police continue to prevent many people from praying in the area due to what they say are “security considerations.”

“While the government ensured limited access to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif to everyone regardless of religious beliefs, only Muslims are allowed to pray at the site, although their access has been occasionally restricted due to security concerns,” the report says. “Police regulated traffic in and out of the compound and removed non-Muslim visitors if they appeared to be praying … Non-Muslim religious symbols are not allowed to be worn on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.”

The report also criticizes the fact that only Muslims are allowed to enter the Dome of the Rock and the area around the Al-Aqsa mosque. “Since 2000, the Jordanian Waqf that manages the site has restricted non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock shrine and Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the report states.

You can read (or re-read) about how Israelis are prevented from praying on the Temple Mount in my post on Tisha Be’Av.

May we all merit to see the Temple rebuilt speedily in our days, with freedom of worship for all.

כי ביתי בית תפילה ייקרא לכל העמים

“For My House will be a called a House of Prayer for all nations”.

This entry was posted in International relations, Israel news, Judaism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to US rebukes Israel for lack of religious freedom – for Jews

  1. Leslie Greenberg says:

    Amen to rebuilding the Temple. I, too, was shocked to find myself in agreement with anything coming from the current administration, but they hit one of my hot buttons. The fact that Jews are prevented from accessing some of our holiest sites (including in the West Bank), but most of all, our Temple site, makes my blood boil! Only Israel would permit her avowed enemies to control the holiest site in Judaism, knowing full well how they treated it and us prior to the Six-Day War. What were they smoking?? Does no one in charge understand that there is nothing we can do to gain the trust or amity of the arabs? They want only one thing, and they couldn’t make it clearer–our obliteration. As we all know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. After the fiasco of control over the Temple Mount, you’d think we would learn, but no–to wit–Gaza.

    • anneinpt says:

      It’s true that the Israeli gov’s attitude re the Temple Mount and the Arabs in general is inexplicable in the face of our bitter experience. It’s not optimism. I think it’s international pressure behind the scenes plus generally tring to keep a lid on the situation – which obviously won’t work in the long term.

  2. Andrea says:

    I confess I started laughing when I read this. Miles far from being disrespectful toward religious rights for everyone and Jews of course but …..on which basis US State Department pontificates on Jerusalem ? Why US gov does not mind their business ? USA against Israel in defence of…Jews ?
    Next move USA against Pope and Italian Carabinieri for preventing USA Catholics free access to St Peter square.

  3. yodude1990 says:

    No offense or anything, but I kind of find it correct. I mean that’s the religion’s property. They should still be allowed to wear their religious items there. Just not full out praise there, but that’s me.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi “yodude”, thanks for coming by. Welcome to my blog. I actually agree with you (if I understand you correctly), that Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount since it is Jewish property, and they should be allowed to wear their religious garments. That’s what so surprised me about the State Dept.’s statement – that they were actually demanding MORE rights for Jews rather than limiting them.

      I understand where the Israeli police are coming from – they simply want a quiet life, and Jews don’t (usually) riot or get violent whereas the Muslims do – so they take the easy way out and limit prayer times and rituals for the Jewish community, under threat of violence from the Muslims.

      However, understanding their attitude does not equal agreeing with it. It is up to the Israeli government to order the police to enable Jewish prayer and ritual on the Temple Mount. If the police were so ordered, they would have to abide by the law. As things stand, as far as I know, there is no explicit governmental order to allow Jewish prayer on the Mount, and so the police are held “hostage” by the Muslim threats of violence. It is a ridiculous, absurd and outrageous situation.

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