Jordan’s King Abdullah II told lawmakers this week that he equates radical Islam including ISIS with Zionist extremism. He explained that in his view there are extremists in all camps.
Basing his efforts on Israeli policy since the liberation of the Kosel and Har Habayis in the June 1967 Six Day War, Amman is also in contact with Israeli state officials, concerned over reports the Knesset may pass a law that sets Jewish right to prayer on Har Habayis into place.
Since 1967, Israel has viewed Jordan and the Islamic Waqf Authority as caretakers over Har Habayis and the governments have actively or passively supported and given credibility to the lack of religious freedom for Jews on Har Habayis, the policy of the Waqf. This remains the case today under the current administration but there is a growing movement and a display of unwillingness to permit the current anti-religious status quo on Har Habayis to continue.
Seeking to prevent a diplomatic row with Amman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday 27 Tishrei sent a message to Jordan, promising the current status quo on Har Habayis would remain in place. This signals Jewish tefilos will be prohibited on the holy site as they have been throughout the years.
The bill that sparked Jordan to act is submitted by MK (Likud) Miri Regev, who heads the Knesset Interior Committee. Regev is an activist pushing to permit religious freedom for all on the holy site. Jordan’s Ambassador to Israel Walid Obeidat reportedly demanded clarifications from the Foreign Ministry regarding the bill, which is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks.
The Temple Institute’s International Director, Rabbi Chaim Richman, condemned Netanyahu’s statement, branding it an “explicit admission that the State of Israel has officially relinquished sovereignty at the Jewish people’s holiest site.
“The status-quo referred to here is the illegal and undemocratic prohibition against all forms of Jewish prayer, worship, or identity at Har Habayis.
“The manner in which Jews are treated on Har Habayis is anti-Semitic and is a flagrant violation of the most basic human rights. A bill was submitted to the Knesset that called for Jews to be able to daven on Har Habayis, and this bill ‘caused alarm’ in Jordan so Netanyahu assured King Abdullah that this would not happen. By doing so, Prime Minister Netanyahu has proven himself to be a vassal of Abdullah and the not the leader of the independent State of Israel.
“He can invoke the tired mantra that ‘Har Habayis is in our hands,’ and Israel is sovereign at the site, but the words are worthless. At a time of unprecedented numbers of Jews ascending to Har Habayis in purity, increased public awareness as to the importance of Har Habayis for the Jewish people, and a sizable number of Knesset members calling for the right to Jewish prayer at the site, Netanyahu has displayed gross insensitivity to Jewish needs, rights, and feelings, and a total disconnect from the soul of the people of Israel.”
It must be added that Gedolei Hador Shlita today and throughout the generations remain opposed to visiting Har Habayis. This also remains the policy of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and this has been the policy throughout the years.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)