Yesterday, two enterprising fellows committed a price tag attack on the Temple Mount, where they hung flyers demanding Muslims vacate the premises during the Passover holidays so Jews might do some Passover housecleaning…like rebuilding the Temple and making the traditional animal sacrifices offered during the days of the ancient Temple. The flyer said:
You [Muslims] are hereby requested to vacate the Temple Mount…pursuant to preparations for the construction of the Holy Temple, renewal of animal sacrifices and the act of the Passover sacrifice.
We thank you for your cooperation,
The Jewish People
Part of the background for this is that a radical settler group publicly announced that it had begun training priests to perform these sacrifices:
On April 10…hundreds of Jews will gather…[to] start learning the Jewish laws of Passover. Rabbis and experts…[from] the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem, the leading body preparing for the establishment of the third temple, will teach the audience the laws of the Passover sacrifice…[A] ritual slaughterer…will teach the audience about the unique elements of the slaughter of the Passover sacrifice. After the lessons, the real thing will start: the simulation of the Passover sacrifice.
…The ceremony on Thursday will be, in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lingo, “practice with live fire.” Slaughtering lambs, sprinkling their blood on the altar by priests dressed in kosher priestly garments and roasting the lambs, with their heads, legs and innards. Just as God intended.
This isn’t the first time that the “Association of Temple Organizations” will hold this activity, but this year the practice drill and re-enactment of the Passover sacrifice will be carried out by the students of the school for priests, Nezer Ha-kodesh, which started operating this year. The priest school intends to train the hundreds of priests that would be needed to work at the third temple; many Jews endeavor for its establishment in Israel today.
This bit of pro-settler propaganda made its way into the pages of Al Monitor, whose Israel page seems to be edited by a settler enthusiast. Note the dead giveaway line in italics which gives away the writers ideological biases.
You shouldn’t worry about the possible conflict with Muslims who might have a problem with the destruction of the Haram al-Sharif and its replacement by a Jewish temple. All that will be done in a totally kosher manner:
Everything is ready, then, except [one] additional, small matter…The Al-Aqsa Mosque…slightly impedes the architectural plans. “The temple will not be built through private acts and blowing up mosques,” emphasizes Segal. “That’s not the direction. The direction is changing consciousness. The preparations are mental more than anything.” One of the people involved in preparations, who requested anonymity, explains, “If not for the problem of the Dome of the Rock, they would build the temple today, and the temple would be built there. The third temple will be built by the government of Israel, not by private individuals. No one will do what shouldn’t be done, like an underground action to blow up the Dome of the Rock. The people who are committed to establishing the temple are normative and rational people, and just like we established the State of Israel, the day will come when we will build the temple, in an orderly, state-sanctioned manner.”
Don’t you worry your pretty little heads. This isn’t like the old days when terror cells had to plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock. No, today we own the government and it will do it for us. Nice and kosher-like.
Returning to our two fine gentlemen: they were only, to their minds, taking this religious lunacy to the next logical step. If Jewish priests are ready to resume animal sacrifices, it only stands to reason that they should do so on the actual site of the Temple, and that Muslims should just vacate the premises for that purpose.
The police are quite aware of the incendiary nature of the provocation, which is why they’re slapped a double gag on the proceedings. Israeli journalists are not allowed to report the names of the suspects, their crime, or even the fact that there is a gag.
Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson was suitably outraged by the gag and published the police notice on his Facebook page along with a brief summary of the settler frolics that got them into hot water:
Behind this order are two lads who were caught hanging flyers that say that the Arabs must “clear off of Har Habayit due to work for establishing the temple and renewing the sacrificial labors”.
The Jerusalem police arrested the two and sent them to be investigated at the nationalist crime division. The judge released them, but accepted the police request to prohibit publication.
Thankfully, there are Israelis (not Levinson, in case the police are wondering) who are outraged enough to share with me the names and crimes of the suspects.
They are Yair Kehaty from the Ramat Migron settlement and Ohad Van-Loan (Jerusalem) Both are followers of the Facebook group, Return the Temple to Our Hands. They were arrested by police and questioned by the division dealing with Jewish terrorism. The judge, figuring a gag order would sweep this little matter under the rug, released the lads from custody.
He didn’t reckon with troublesome Israelis and an American blogger upsetting the apple cart and demanding accountability and transparency (not that we’ll get much in this case).
The final wrinkle in this case is that this Price Tag attack is an act of vengeance for the defense ministry tearing down five illegal structures in the Yitzhar settlement. This is where residents greeted IDF personnel and vehicles with a pelting of stones a few days ago. Yitzhar is the center of settler resistance to the secular Israeli state. It is the beating heart of the Hilltop Youth. Even Likud is too moderate for them.
In retaliation for this wanton act of terror (called this by government ministers themselves), the pro-settler defense minister, Bogie Yaalon, wanting to let them know who’s boss, ordered the destruction of the illegal structures. Not to be outdone, the settler terrorists decided to strike at the crux of the matter, the intersection between Islam and Judaism in Israel, the Temple Mount. They certainly made their point forcefully. As for who’s boss, if Yaalon thinks he’s their boss, he’s got another thing coming. It’s a settler asylum and they run the place. The politicians are their willing servants.
As for the settlers, they made a good trade. They lost only five buildings that are probably already rebuilt, but they struck back right at the nexus, the heart of religious contention, where the next holy war could start. They laid down their marker.
H/t to Dena Shunra and several anonymous Israeli friends of this blog.