Israeli ‘Arsonist,’ Ben Gvir, Stirs Outrage with Haram al Sharif ‘Visit’ While the world thought Netanyahu had stopped his colleague's provocative plan, he gave the firebrand provocateur a green light
Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel’s Terror Minister (aka minister of national security), visit yesterday to the third holiest shrine in Islam posed a deliberate provocation to the entire Muslim world. When he first proposed the visit, Bibi Netanyahu issued soothing words implying he would postpone the plan. In the meanwhile, he actually gave Ben Gvir approval for the visit; or the latter merely informed Netanyahu he would go regardless of what the PM wanted. The only condition Netanyahu imposed was that the Judeo-fascist firebrand should coordinate with the police and security services.
For that reason, Ben Gvir arrived at 7 am when the site was practically deserted, entered by a side gate (see video clip below), and stayed for thirteen minutes. That was long enough for him to film a video (see below, with translation) brimming with defiance and boasting of Israeli sovereignty over every inch of the site.
Further, one of his main campaign promises was to permit unlimited access to Jews, which is now restricted. This would raise a furor in the Muslim world, just as Ariel Sharon’s 2000 visit to the same spot ignited the Second Intifada. 6,000 Israelis and Palestinians died thanks to Sharon’s incitement. One can only imagine what could happen after Ben Gvir dropped this match into a burning cauldron.
Ben Gvir’s defiant words at Haram al-Sharif:
Israel will not be intimidated by a group of murderers, a despicable terror organization. The Temple Mount is the most important place of the Jewish people. It is open to everyone: Muslim, Christians and yes, even Jews make pilgrimage. In the government I joined, there will be no discrimination or racism [against Jews]. Jews will make pilgrimage to the Temple Mount. We are making clear to Hamas: we will not be intimidated, we will not surrender, nor will we blink [before them].
Before yesterday’s incident, world leaders have said that they trust Netanyahu as the “adult” in the room, who will moderate the hijinks of his teenage charges. The Biden administration said that it would ignore the extremists and only deal with Netanyahu. But this strategy is doomed if Netanyahu and his extremist colleagues are both pursuing the same aims (with somewhat different tactics).
Clearly, this episode indicates that the prime minister either cannot or will not restrain the worst excesses of their ideological zeal. Netanyahu himself has encouraged such illusions with soothing promises of moderation. However, those who believe anything out of his mouth are fools. He is a silver-tongued snake who tempts the world with apples from his garden.
After Ben Gvir’s visit, the world turned upside down. Condemnation was universal. One of Israel’s closest Arab allies, United Arab Emirates, called for a UN Security Council meeting to protest the provocation. King Abdullah, whose kingdom is the custodian of the holy sites told CNN: “If people want to get into a conflict with us, we’re quite prepared…We have certain red lines… And if people want to push those red lines, then we will deal with that.”
The Biden administration, as is to be expected, offered bromides and pablum:
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said…Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount “has the potential to exacerbate tensions and to provoke violence.”
He further stated that the U.S. “is deeply concerned by any unilateral actions that have the potential to exacerbate tensions precisely because we want to see the opposite happen. We want to see tensions reduced.”
Price added that “We know that the exceedingly rare instances of previous high-profile visits to the Temple Mount have only exacerbated tensions. This is not an academic question, we have seen what has transpired in the past, and we continue as I said before to strongly support the long-standing historic status quo at the site.”
(Some) American Jewish groups denounce new fascist government
As I’ve written here, the US Israel Lobby groups have welcomed the new government, deliberately ignoring its fascist ideology. They act like robots repeating the same few words over the over as if they’re under hypnosis. Nor have the progressive Jewish groups been much better. J Street did release two statements. One followed the inauguration of the new cabinet and declared Israel’s (non-existent) democracy in danger. The second expressed ‘alarm’ at Ben Gvir’s visit. It ended with this statement which sounded like a pro-Israel version of the Pledge of Allegiance to Brand Israel:
As a pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy organization committed to a US-Israel relationship rooted in shared democratic values, J Street will continue to urge the Biden Administration and Congress to stand up clearly for the key principles and commitments that this government threatens.
T’ruah also released a strong statement:
“Israel’s new government is a stark display of rising facism and racism. Netanyahu’s coalition government gives power to violent, right-wing extremists who seek to incite political violence and who will put lives at risk. The rise of figures like Itamar Ben Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich, and the Jewish Power party show the real danger of extremism and faith becoming entangled. Perhaps most dangerous to Israeli democracy…”
That last phrase about “Israeli democracy” [sic] had a distinctly liberal Zionist gloss. There is a fervent, but false conviction among liberal Zionists that Israel is a democracy. It blinds them to the reality. But at least they’ve made this statement.
Meretz’s US affiliate, Partners for Progressive Israel also denounced the new government. However, it championed the Israeli liberal Zionist party as the body which would lead the fight. In fact, Meretz didn’t even cross the electoral threshhold and for the first time in its entire history has been shut out of the Knesset. It is politically irrelevant.
Despite these statements from multiple organizations none, in my reading of the media, has mentioned any of them. That speaks to the bias, ignorance or sloppy journalism of outlets like Haaretz, JTA, the Forward, etc.
Update: Jewish Voice for Peace just sent me their statement about both the new fascist government and the Ben Gvir intrusion. Without doubt the best of the ones I mention here:
…The new Israeli government has been clear about its agenda from the beginning: ensure Jewish supremacy over all land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and expedite the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This is the most extremist, supremacist government in Israel’s history…Some of its new leaders, including Ben-Gvir, openly advocate for the formal expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel who they deem disloyal. We should heed the warning signs – Netanyahu’s new coalition will aggressively oppress Palestinians, suppress all dissent, and foment violence.
We call on progressive American Jews to join us in demanding an end to U.S. military funding to Israel, and to actively participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement until Palestinians are free.
If Not Now also called for stronger US opposition to Israel’s apartheid regime. It sent a statement from which this is excerpted:
The question for the Biden Administration is – will the US finally withdraw its support from a government that is openly violent and racist? And for American Jews – will we move beyond voicing our horror, and push for actual accountability?
If Not Now promised, when I inquired of their communication staff, that a statement would be forthcoming tomorrow. Jewish Voice for Peace said the same. While I respect each of these groups immensely, I can’t help feeling some were asleep at the switch. Fascism raised its weary head and so many paid little (or not enough) heed.
Not to mention the Squad and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Nothing from any of them as far as I have read.
The theo-fascist cabal behind the new Israeli government has a clear agenda: Judeo-supremacy and ethnic cleansing. But that’s only the plan for Palestinians. It has similarly repressive plans for the Jewish population as well. I call it Jewish Talibanism. It mixes a fundamentalist form of (Orthodox) Judaism with an anti-woke social agenda. That includes homophobia, misogyny, and a Judeo-supremacism that echoes Nazi Aryan principles.
Women will be restricted in many public spaces. Women will not even be allowed in the back of the bus with men. Men will have their own separate buses. Women their own: separate but equal. We all know how that worked out under Jim Crow. Rosa Parks successfully defied white supremacy. But Israeli women, I’m afraid, are entering a new era of oppression. Further, women will no longer serve in the army, as the Judeo-Taliban believe that women’s role is in the home, raising children. Sound familiar?
Gay Pride parades, held every year in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (despite one fatal and another near-fatal stabbing in previous years), will be canceled. One senior rabbi even called the new Knesset speaker, who is gay, “infected by disease.” Doctors will be permitted to refuse treatment to gay patients. Business owners may refuse service to gay patrons.
The homophobes will tell you they have no prejudice against gays. But they seek, as the Supreme Court argued in the Hobby Lobby and related cases, to respect religious conviction. Of course, the argument is specious. The truth is that they hate gays and want to legalize homophobia without acknowledging that’s what they’re doing. Though, of course, their lies may be so persuasive they actually believe them.
Returning to the theo-fascist religious agenda: Ben Gvir’s visit is the first shot across the bow. It marks his intent not only to open full access to Jews, but to destroy the existing status quo, which permits the Palestinian Waqf to control the Al Aqsa mosque, while Israel controls all the territory surrounding it (largely the Kotel). Destroying the status quo will, he believes, provoke massive fury in the Muslim world: precisely what Ben Gvir wants. He seeks a final triumphant confrontation with the Palestinians and Muslim world in general. He wants Israel to declare once and for all that it is, as he has warned Palestinians, “master of this house.” He plans to pursue his agenda without regard to Muslim sensitivities.
The ultimate goal, which Ben Gvir has admitted may be far in the future, is the destruction of Al-Aqsa and the building of the Third Temple on its ruins. The twisted Judeo-eschatology envisions the rebuilt Holy Temple as the event that will bring the Messiah, the Jewish version of the evangelical End of Days.
The world must not make a mistake by viewing this as the ranting of lunatic fanatics. They are, to use a phrase, as serious as a heart attack. They first began this movement after the 1967 War, which saw the “miracle” of Jewish conquest of Jerusalem’s Old City. This in turn offered Jews access to the Kotel for the first time in twenty years. Many Israeli Jews saw this as a God-given miracle which would, eventually lead to messianic redemption. Even many secular Israelis shared in this mass euphoria. But while such zeal may have cooled among the majority of Israeli Jews, it has only intensified among the hardcore zealots: the Hilltop Youth and their political mentors, Ben Gvir, Smotrich, et al.
Against such a powerful belief system, only equally strong pushback will stop the looming catastrophe. These Judean radicals want a final confrontation between Jews and Muslims. They believe to the bottom of their souls that God is with them, their cause is righteous, and they will vanquish their enemies, emerging victorious. The secular among us have a word for this: genocide. Whatever the final outcome, half the world could be incinerated in the process.
14 thoughts on “Israeli ‘Arsonist,’ Ben Gvir, Stirs Outrage with Haram al Sharif ‘Visit’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Thank you. I try to tune out these days especially since the basics are not changing. But this is the key; people do tune out because of the gradualism of “it all”as you mention since 1967. But again sometimes “these people” do put their foot over the moving red lines too far and all at once, like now. With regard to Netanyahu,he is compromised and weak now along with being deplorable and immoral. I cannot anymore fault Biden and the US government keeping their distance until real violence breaks out.They are political animals looking to keep control they think by avoiding doing the right thing. But, you would think that a man in his 80’s (Biden, still with faculties) could possibly stick his neck out further and really distance us as far as he can from Israel now for LEGACY above politics. But but but.. we probably have geopolitical reasons not to, a full plate. So this is really a test for the Arabs and indeed about the Abraham Accords, the supposed peace component, really a business deal it seems. They have to show their resolve and power if it matters. Or maybe they will calculate, too, geopolitically and leave the Palestinians to sacrifice. But the “it” this time is about Jerusalem, the holy site and the Muslim world, not only Palestinians.
Hello Richard, I have just one question about the article. You write that the site is the 3rd holiest place for Muslims. Why do you refrain from mentioning that it is the first holiest place for the Jews? Why don’t they have any rights there too?
Thank you for your response.
@ Cristina: Not true. The Temple Mount (I use that term since I’m referring to the views of Jews about it) is not, nor has it ever been the “first holiest place for Jews” for over 1,000 years. In fact Jews, unlike other religions do not worship physical places. At least, not since the last Temple was destroyed. What is true is that after 1967, a small coteries of Orthodox Jewish settlers began a campaign to turn the Temple Mount into something it had been long before: a physical place of worship which would eventually become a Third Temple. This lunacy only began then.
Further, Judaism for over 1,000 years has prohibited Jews from stepping foot there. The only place they could worship was at the Kotel, which wasn’t even inside the environs where the Temple had stood.
What is true is that the Temple and restoring it has been a spiritual cause mentioned in the sidur. We also pray to resume animal sacrifice. How many Jews in the past 1,000 years have devoutly wished they or a Temple priest could make an animal sacrifice? The difference between praying this and actually doing it has been a clear distinction since the Second Temple was destroyed.
You clearly have been reading too much settler propaganda masquerading as Jewish law.
So basically you are saying the Jews who have a different opinion on whether it is right to pray at the site of the Temple have no right to hold a differing opinion. They should acquiece because to do otherwise would be to inflame Muslims.
Shouldn’t you be asking why Muslims cannot share the holy site with Jews. Prophet Mohammad allowed Jews and Christians to pray in his Mosque in Medina.
By invoking extremist Islamists views you side with divisive Islamists.
Jews have every right to pray on their Holiest site.
Don’t ever tell me what I am saying. What I write is what I believe. Not what you claim I believe. So don’t go there. Invariably, you will be wrong, as you are in this case. I never said Jews “have no right to hold a differing opinion.” THeir opinion is their opinion and their problem. I never said anyone should “acquiesce.” I can’t control someone’s opinion. I can only tell you what the histroical facts are: that until 1967 it was forbidden for any Jew to invade the Temple Mount. It still is forbidden for most Orthodox Jews. Most secular Jews have no interest in invading this site at all, though some may visit as tourists with no religion motivation (I have done so decades ago). Those among Jews who share Ben Gvir’s odious views are a minority even of Israeli Orthdox Jews, even more among Diaspora Jews.
No. I am a Jew. I don’t tell Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu what they should do regarding their religious matters. The fact that you share Ben Gvir’s odious views indicates again that you are a fraud of a Muslim. NO real Muslim believes that Jews who seek to destroy the Haram al Sharif should have any presence there.
Another nonsense claim. Whatever Mohammed did 1,600 years ago has nothing to do with what the Saudi Wahabists do now. Jews aren’t even permitted in Saudi Arabia, let alone to pray Jewishly in Medina.
If you are a Muslim, it is you who are an extremist Muslim. YOu hold views that virtually no other Muslim in the world does.
Wrong again. This is a halachic directive from Israel’s chief rabbi. Perhaps you know better? Or are taking your orders from the wrong sort of Jews?
Do not publish another comment in this thread.
there are diff opinions in ‘Halachah’: from the holiness of the temple mount is no longer germane after the destruction to the opinion that it still retains its holiness-and then a plethora of opinions where one cannot go to & where it is permitted. the fact that the Muslims get so upset when a Jew moves his lips makes no sense since there is only one God. Call him/her Allah, Yaweh etc. so maybe it is just a ‘real estate’ problem in the eyes of the Muslims. after all, they claim that King Solomon was a Muslim and King David etc were also Muslims. the Muslims maintain that before the Quran was the era of jahāla[ignorance] so the reason they claim is self-negating.
@ jack52: Not so sure I’m willing to accept you as an authority on halacha or Islamic law, despite your spouting of Quranic terms which you undoubtedly picked up from some settler or far-right source. Jews are not “moving their lips” on Haram al Sharif. They are reciting psalms which envision the rebuilding of the Temple. And as I’ve said here countless times, one who seeks to rebuild can only do so by destroying Al Aqsa. That, of course, is why such prayer is forbidden; and why the Judeo-thugs cry for it to be permitted.
Nor is it a “real estate problem” for Muslims. Your phrasing is deeply offensive and Islamophobic. So your very way of posing the question shows you are disingenuous. Not to mention a fraud who purports to know anything about Islam.
You are permitted one comment per thread. This one was yours. No further comments in this thread.
Jews did pray on the Temple Mount, for hundreds of years, even when the Harhabayit was under Muslim control.
‘Sebeos, a 7th-century Armenian bishop and historian, wrote about the existence of a Jewish prayer hall on the Temple Mount as follows: After the Jews enjoyed the aid and protection of the Arabs for a long time, they conceived the idea of rebuilding the Temple of Solomon. They identified the location of what they called the “The Holy of Holies” and there they built a prayer hall, using the foundations and the remnants of the original building. Once they had started to build, the Arabs became jealous and banished them from there. Instead, they gave the Jews another area on the Temple Mount for a synagogue.’
@ Bertrand: How curious your sources are. An article written by a Bar Ilan professor, an Orthodox institution known for its right-wing ideology; published in a “periodical” associated with right-wing Orthodoxy; which relies on a claims purportedly made by a 7th century bishop. Pardon me, but this reeks of bias and not solid academic scholarship.
Not to mention, there had not yet been any definitive rabbinic ruling prohibiting entry to the Temple Mount until centuries after the 7th century. Rambam is the first authority we know of who did so. Which means that any Jew who may purportedly have entered the site in the 7th century did so because there was no rabbinic authority who forbade it.
But now let’s add another wrinkle: during the periods of the First and Second Temple non-Jews were not permitted entry. Why? Because it was a Jewish sacred site housing an actual physical structure. Just as Haram al Sharif is now a Muslim sacred site housing an actual physical structure. While there was once a standing Jewish temple on the site, there is no longer. That is why the vast majority of Jews pray at the Kotel because it is the last remaining physical remains of what once was the Temple.
Oh, and which rabbinic group granted permission to Jews to enter it? Settler rabbis in 1996. Again pardon me, but this is by no means a credible set of rabbinic authorities. Which is why the consensus ORthodox view remains that entry is prohibited to Jews.
Actually the sign at the entrance and the halachic ruling is that entry is forbidden to ALL persons, not specifically Jews, because of the inherent holiness of the site.
So you claim that the Rabbis are forbidding Muslims to enter their own holy site? Or are Muslims not “persons” and so not included in the ban? Or rather, do the rabbis intend “persons” only to refer to Jews since rabbis, as any reasonable person would know, restrict their prohibitions to Jews? I’ll let readers here be the judge of what is reasonable in this case.
[comment deleted: since you are already moderated, I did not want to ban you entirely. BUt you have several times disregarded my warning about publishing only a single comment in a thread. YOu did it again here. So while your comments are often substantive and worth addressing and rebutting, if I don’t enforce a rule here then I can’t enforce it for others. So you are now banned.]
No one here really expected Ben Gvir to stop acting like a rabble rouser and start acting like a Statesman.
And, he made Bibi look ridiculous.
And a man in his position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous.
Ben Gvir’s … is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5)
@ Top Cat: Again with the useless quotations attempting to make yourself look profound. Ben Gvir is far more than a ‘rabble rouser.’ He is a Jewish version of Adolf Hitler circa 1932. He is clever, insidious, and well-organized. In fact, he wants everyone to think of him as a fanatical oddity, just as you have portrayed him. It allows people to dismiss him aberrant. But he isn’t. He’s channeling the hate of a significant minority of Israeli Jews as shown by the 13 seats he won. Remember, Hitler too became chancellor without winning the popular vote. His was a minority (but the largest) party in the 1932 elections.
But even if Ben Gvir never becomes PM, he has reshaped Israeli politics forever. He has normalized tactics and ideology that has been excoriated in Israel for decades. He has made the unthinkable not only thinkable, but part of the platform of a ruling coalition.
Regarding the Shakespeare quote: Ben Gvir is NOT an idiot. Far from it. Nor does he “signify nothing.” He is far too significant for that. It is fools like you who try to lull the world into calmness in the face of calamity. I’m sure there were Germans and there certainly were Americans who said the same about Hitler up till 1932. Neville Chamberlain was another. It didn’t end so well for them, did it?