Jerusalem is holy to the world’s three major monotheistic religions. For Islam and Judaism the city is particularly special, in that the city holds powerful daily religious significance. The holiest place in the city for both faiths is known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Al Aqsa Mosque (which sits near the Dome of the Rock) to Muslims. Neither group likes that the other wants access to the special hill.
For Jews, the Temple Mount is where the Temple of Solomon used to sit (and some of the walls still stand). For the Jewish person, the Temple is central to their faith and not being able to use it has long been a painful reminder of their scattering.
Today, the location is central to the tension between Muslim and Jew.
This past week as Jews gathered at the Temple Mount to pray during one of their holiest feast days, a group of about 25 young Palestinian men began to riot. Why would they riot? Because Jews were trying to pray… good reason. (He said sarcastically.)
“The commandment of the Passover sacrifice is one of the most important commandments in Judaism, on par with circumcision. We believe that we can renew this practice without any changes to the mount, without infringing upon the rights of any Arabs in the area. It’s part of freedom of religions, and does not hurt anyone,” says Arnon Segal, a journalist for the Makor Rishon newspaper and a leading activist in the Temple movement.
“It’s hard to avoid the feeling that the police are okay with the riots, which allow it to easily explain why the rights of Jews are violated on the Temple Mount left and right,” Segal says.
If this is what happens when one group tries to pray on a special day, how does anyone really believe that they can solve their larger problems peacefully? This is just a tiny example of the problem facing world leaders for the last 75 years. It’s going to take a lot more than John Kerry to fix this.
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