Revealed: An Arab prince’s secret proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Revealed: An Arab prince’s secret proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews

A quixotic overture by a courageous prince lay hidden in files at the UK Colonial Office for 90 years, where this author discovered it. Now it can proudly take its place in history

On August 29, 1929, Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha, the uncle and future regent to King Farouk of Egypt, walked into the British Embassy in Istanbul and hand-delivered a letter to British Ambassador Sir George Clerk. The letter was addressed to the British High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir John Chancellor. The prince asked Ambassador Clerk to forward the letter to Chancellor in Jerusalem.

The prince had written and signed the letter less than one week after the shocking August 24, 1929, massacres in Hebron, following months of rising tensions at the Western (Wailing) Wall. The letter began by deploring the violence, with the prince expressing hope the Arabs and Jews could settle their differences peacefully. The prince then offered a stunning suggestion:

My proposal for a solution is that, instead of fighting or dealing unjustly by one party or the other, it would be infinitely better to come to an understanding. The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing [the Wailing Wall] is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it. If this could be done, it would avoid coercion and possibly injustice to one or other of the parties. Certainly I am sure the Mohametans and Arabs will not accept a small sum such as £10,000 or even £20,000 for a matter in which their honour is so far involved… Let them give £100,000 and I feel sure this would settle the difference.

This is the story of Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s surprise proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews, revealed here for the first time.

***

The Temple Mount and the Western Wall today represent the defining religious symbols of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The same was true during the 1920’s, following the British conquest of Palestine. Muslims and Jews clashed repeatedly over the Wall throughout the 1920’s.

The Jews claimed rights of prayer at the Wall, the only surviving remnant of the ancient Temples and the holiest and most sacred site for Jews to pray. Jews had been praying at or near the Wall nearly continuously since the Roman conquest.

‘The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing [the Wailing Wall] is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it’

The Muslims, for their part, also regarded the Wall (or the Buraq, named for Mohammed’s steed whom the Angel Gabriel, according to Muslim legend, tethered to the Wall at the end of Mohammed’s celestial journey from Mecca) as an Islamic Holy site that had been dedicated as Wakf property nearly a millennium ago. The Muslims asserted absolute ownership of both the Wall and the narrow strip of pavement facing the Wall. Prior to 1967, as shown in the following photograph, the pavement was sandwiched between the Wall on one side and an area of small dwellings, known as the “Moghrabi Quarter,” on the other side:

The Western Wall and narrow strip of pavement, late 19th Century (Library of Congress).

The Muslims refused to accord the Jews any rights to pray at the Wall, for fear the Jews would use that as a wedge to encroach further on Muslim property and eventually seize control of the entire Temple Mount area. During Ottoman times the Jews would pay small bribes to bring chairs and benches to the Wall, even as the Ottoman authorities issued formal rulings banning such practices as late as 1911.

After the British captured Jerusalem in December 1917, General Allenby immediately pledged to honor the so-called Status Quo prevailing at the Holy Sites. Allenby’s pledge became embedded as a legal concept five years later in Article 13 of the Mandate for Palestine, requiring the British to “preserve existing rights” at the Holy Sites.

The British soon found themselves caught in the middle between conflicting Jewish and Muslim assertions of rights and claims to the Western Wall and the pavement facing the Wall. The Mandatory authorities struggled to enforce the shaky Status Quo that had prevailed during Ottoman times, when Jews were allowed to utter individual prayers at the Wall, but not allowed to take any steps which could be viewed as asserting symbolic ownership of the Wall. Thus, the British enforced the Turkish ban on the Jews bringing chairs and benches to the Wall, as well as most other accoutrements of congregational prayer.

Jewish Legion soldiers at the Western Wall after British conquest of Jerusalem, 1917 (Public Domain)

The tensions led to controversy at the Wall during Passover 1922, Yom Kippur 1923 and Yom Kippur 1925. The most notable confrontation occurred on Yom Kippur 1928, when the British Deputy District Commissioner for Jerusalem, E. Keith-Roach, ordered the forcible removal of a screen (mehitza) the Jews had placed on the pavement in front of the Wall to divide men from women, causing the Jews to file an angry protest with the League of Nations. Tensions continued escalating during 1929 as the Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, launched the so-called Buraq Campaign to galvanize Muslim and Arab Nationalist sentiment around the Wall dispute. The Jews likewise formed groups to “defend” their asserted rights to the Wall.

The tensions reached boiling point and exploded into violence in August 1929. On Tisha b’Av (August 15) 1929, a group of Jewish youth marched to the Wall, where they raised the blue and white flag, listened to a brief speech from one of their leaders, and sang the Hatikvah. The Muslims held a counter-demonstration the following day, the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. The Muslim demonstration quickly turned violent, resulting in the murders of several Jews outside the Old City. The violence continued throughout the following week, culminating in the Hebron massacre of August 24, 1929, where approximately 60 Jews were butchered.

Jews flee the Old City of Jerusalem, August 1929. (US Library of Congress / Public Domain)

While the history of the violent clashes at the Wall during the 1920s has been told many times, less-known were various attempts by the Jews and British to strike a deal with the Muslims to buy the area in front of the Wall and the Wall itself.

Sir Ronald Storrs (Library of Congress / Public Domain)

In the spring of 1918, for example, Chaim Weizmann approached the British military government about buying the Wall and pavement area, along with the Moghrabi dwellings. The Military Governor, Sir Ronald Storrs, floated the idea with the Muslim community. Storrs reported the Muslims were offended, and “it would be a grave error of policy for the Military Government to raise the question at all.”

In August 1918, another British Official, Brigadier General Sir Gilbert Clayton, told the Muslims they might be able to secure “a large sum of money for a property which is to-day of little value.” The Muslims, however, opposed any such initiative, fearing it would be the first step toward Jewish encroachment on the Temple Mount.

In October 1918, Clayton notified London of an unauthorized Jewish attempt to buy the Wall, interfering with Clayton’s ongoing, quiet efforts to persuade the Arabs to consider selling the Wall:

“Up to quite recently signs were not wanting that the Moslem Dignitaries and notables were beginning to be impressed with the arguments explained to them at great length in favour of the scheme [for the Jews to buy the Wall]. The hopelessness … of obtaining the funds to put into effect … the restoration of the Haram es Sharif, the possibility of replenishing the Wakf coffers and so promoting Moslem education of a liberal scale, the comparative unimportance and squalor of the buildings and their [Moroccan] inhabitants in the precinct, the lurking fear that they might have one day to yield for nothing (as a City improvement scheme or otherwise) that for which they would now receive a very large sum of money – these and a variety of other considerations appeared to be modifying a ‘non possumus’ attitude into one of critical apprehension and fear of the effect on the local and general Islamic world. From the moment, however, that an attempt was apparently made by a Jerusalem Jew (doubtless without the knowledge of the Zionist Commission) to get into direct pecuniary contact with the Moslems concerned something approaching a panic set in, and from that day things have gone from bad to worse in so far as concerns the Zionist hopes in this respect.”

In 1926, a Jewish effort was launched to buy properties in front of the Wall as a first step toward acquiring the entire Moghrabi area and eventually the Wall itself. In early October 1928, Frederick Kisch, a Jerusalem-based Zionist official proposed, in a confidential letter to the Zionist Executive in London, that the Muslims be compelled to sell the pavement and the Moghrabi area to the Jews for £100,000, “in exchange for another suitable area in the Old City, with the inevitable addition of a cash payment for the benefit of the Wakf authorities.”

But these efforts, like those preceding them, went nowhere.

Three unique initiatives

Suddenly, however, in the days immediately following the Hebron massacre, three new initiatives appeared. While none of these new initiatives succeeded, their close proximity to each other and the dramatic nature of their presentation make them, especially Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s proposal, unique in the history of Mandate Palestine.

The first initiative came from a prominent Egyptian Jew, the Baron Felix de Menasce, the President of the Israelite Community in Alexandria. On August 26, 1929, only two days after the Hebron Massacre, Menasce walked into the British Embassy in Paris and met with Adrian Holman, the Second Secretary at the Embassy. Later that day Holman cabled the Foreign Office in London and reported as follows:

“[Menasce] explained to me at some length that the frequent cases of rioting at the Wailing Wall were due to the fact that the buildings surrounding the Wall were in the hands of the Moslems and had always been looked upon by the British Government as bearing a religious character. It had consequently always proved impossible for the Jews to buy the buildings in question and thus prevent troubles in the future. He maintained that the buildings were purely civil as opposed to religious and that the present moment might be an opportune one for the British Government to reconsider the possibility of arranging for the Jewish community to buy the buildings for demolition or other purposes. He was sure that if this were done, the Jewish community throughout the world would easily be able to find the necessary sum of money.”

George W. Rendell of the Foreign Office’s Eastern Division responded to Holman’s cable on September 7, noting the Muslims viewed the Wall as a religious site and would not be willing to sell the nearby dwellings to the Jews. Rendell poured more cold water on the idea, adding, “[t]he Colonial Office are, I think, familiar with the advantages and difficulties of a solution on the lines of the Baron de Menasce’s proposal, and seeing how overworked they are at the moment with a variety of Middle Eastern crises, I am not adding to their correspondence by passing the suggestion on to them.”

Dr. Chaim Weizmann. (AP Photo 1938)

Menasce sent a handwritten letter in French to Weizmann reporting on his meeting with Holman at the British Embassy in Paris. Menasce wrote, “J’ai la conviction c’est le moment psychologique de transfer tout l’argent necessaire, si jamais les Juifs deraint acheter ce Wakf …” (“I am convinced that if the Jews are ever going to buy this Wakf, this is, psychologically, the right time to find all the necessary money …”) No record has been found indicating whether Menasce had been acting on Weizmann’s behalf, or whether Weizmann ever responded to Menasce.

The second initiative came from Pinchas Rutenberg, the Managing Director of the Palestine Electric Corporation. On August 29, 1929, three days after Menasce’s meeting at the British Embassy in Paris, Rutenberg sent a letter to Lord Reading (previously known as Rufus Isaacs, a Jew and Chairman of the Palestine Electric Corporation), urging the British government to expropriate the entire area in front of the Wailing Wall to create “a suitable and dignified Jewish praying place.”

This was not the first time expropriation had been floated, but never at such a high level. Rutenberg was the preeminent Jewish businessman in Palestine and the future Chair of the Va’ad Leumi. Lord Reading took matters to the very highest level of the British Government, forwarding Rutenberg’s letter to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald the next day, with a cover letter of endorsement:

“I would therefore earnestly represent that the necessary measures should be adopted as soon as practicable to make a complete end of this cause of dispute by expropriating the more extended area, as suggested by Mr. Rutenberg in his letter to me. I understand that this could be accomplished without interfering with any part of Moslem ‘Holy Ground.’”

But nothing came of Rutenberg’s expropriation proposal. The Colonial Office reacted negatively, noting “the present time is not opportune for considering the question of compulsory expropriation… Quite apart from the legal aspect, such action would be intensely resented by the Moslems and we have taken the line hitherto that expropriation is out of the question.”

In addition, High Commissioner Chancellor had already told the Permanent Mandates Commission (PMC) of the League of Nations in July 1929 that the first conclusion he came to after arriving in Palestine as High Commissioner and studying the Western Wall issue was that “there must not … be any attempt to expropriate, in favour of the Jews, the area of the pavement in front of the Wall.”

Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini (Library of Congress / Public Domain)

However, at that same PMC meeting, Chancellor disclosed he personally had asked the Mufti to consider selling the Moghrabi dwellings (“mean hovels,” as he described them) to the Jews, assuming the Jews would pay to relocate the Moghrabi inhabitants to superior accommodations elsewhere. Chancellor explained the Jews would be able “to make there a courtyard surrounded by a loggia where they could say their prayers in peace and in dignified surroundings.”

Weizmann embraced the idea and had £70,000 at the ready. But the Mufti rejected the plan, even after Chancellor suggested the Mufti consider an indirect sale, whereby the Mufti would transfer the property to the Mandatory Government as middleman, which would then complete the sale to the Jews, thereby allowing the Mufti to avoid looking as if he had sold Muslim property to the Jews.

An unprecedented proposal

The third initiative involved Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha of Egypt. Ali Pasha had built the famous Manial Palace on Rhoda Island on the Nile River in Cairo. The prince was the uncle of and future Regent to Farouk, the future King of Egypt. Those who knew Ali Pasha regarded him as a “very liberal-minded man,” with a “courtly bearing.” Storrs described Ali Pasha in his memoirs as “Prince Muhammad, afterwards Regent, with his great “lucky” emerald ring, the revived Oriental splendours of his Manial Palace, his courtly bearing and graceful entertainment; his fine devotion to his mother.” The Jewish, Alexandria-based lawyer Alec Alexander once described Ali Pasha as “the one person who could use his good offices to bring about peace between Muslims and Jews.”

Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha (Public Domain)

In an amazing coincidence of history, Ali Pasha entered the stage on August 29, 1929, the same day Rutenberg had sent his letter to Lord Reading, and only three days after Menasce’s meeting with Holman at the British Embassy in Paris.
On that fateful day of August 29, 1929, Ali Pasha, while on a visit to Istanbul, hand-delivered to the British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir George Clerk, a letter addressed to High Commissioner Chancellor in Jerusalem. The letter contained a stunning proposal from Ali Pasha for settling the Muslim-Jewish dispute over the Western Wall:

“Having heard about the troubles going on in Palestine between Jews and Mohametans, and having a certain knowledge of the Arab and Mohametan aspirations, I thought I might be of service outlining a proposal by which this quarrel might perhaps be ended peacefully.

The Mohametans and Arabs having been masters in Palestine for over one thousand years, they are fighting for their honour and do not want to lose anything which they have acquired as a possession. They fear that either through administrative channels or by force they will be compelled ultimately to relinquish rights they have held for so long.

Every one knows that in every country in law after the lapse of a certain period proprietary rights are established. In this case the rights of the Mohametans go back one thousand years.

My proposal for a solution is that, instead of fighting or dealing unjustly by one party or the other, it would be infinitely better to come to an understanding. The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it. If this could be done, it would avoid coercion and possibly injustice to one or other of the parties.

Certainly I am sure the Mohametans and Arabs will not accept a small sum such as £10,000 or even £20,000 for a matter in which their honour is so far involved. In Zurich the Zionists have collected £240,000 for Palestine. Let them give £100,000 and I feel sure this would settle the difference.”

Although the letter does not specifically mention a “sale” of the Wall, Ali Pasha made clear in his meeting with Ambassador Clerk that selling the Wall was precisely his intention. According to Clerk’s contemporaneous recollection of their conversation, Ali Pasha “submit a suggestion which would, he thought, provide a solution to the question of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem;” specifically, “the idea of the Jews buying the Wall.”

Ali Pasha’s letter was extraordinary. No one in the Muslim world had previously – or ever since – proposed to sell the Western Wall to the Jews. Surely Ali Pasha never spoke a word of this to anyone in the Muslim world, as he lived peacefully for nearly three more decades

But Ambassador Clerk never forwarded Ali Pasha’s letter to High Commissioner Chancellor in Jerusalem. Instead, Clerk sent Ali Pasha’s letter directly to the Foreign Office in London, along with a cover note adding his own observation that “the idea of the Jews buying the Wall has long been considered and rejected, and recent events seem scarcely favorable to the idea of the Muslims accepting even as fancy a price as £100,000, supposing the Jews were prepared to offer that sum.”

The Foreign Office kept Clerk’s original cover letter in its files, together with a copy of Ali Pasha’s letter. The Foreign Office made the following file notation regarding the prince’s letter:

Foreign Office File entry, E 4557/204/65 (September 3, 1929; photo by the author).

W. L. Knight of the Foreign Office made a sarcastic handwritten file entry several days later:

“It would appear from the last para. of the prince’s letter that while the Jerusalem Arabs would scorn to sell their honour cheap, they would probably be prepared to do so for £100,000!”

Foreign Office File entry, E 4557/204/65 (September 10, 1929; photo by the author).

The Foreign Office later recorded the prince’s letter in its official index for 1929 as, “Suggested sale of wall to Jews by Moslems: proposal of Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha:”

Foreign Office Index, 1929 (photo by the author).

The Foreign Office sent the original of Ali Pasha’s letter, along with the calling card Ali Pasha had given to Ambassador Clerk, to the Colonial Office, where both items were tucked inside an envelope and filed away for the next 90 years.

The prince’s calling card, given to the British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir George Clerk, on August 29, 1929 (CO 733/163/5, British National Archives, London; photo by the author).

Ali Pasha’s letter was extraordinary. No one in the Muslim world had previously – or ever since – proposed to sell the Western Wall to the Jews. Surely Ali Pasha never spoke a word of this to anyone in the Muslim world, as he lived peacefully for nearly three more decades. Nor is there any evidence he had any authority from the Muslim authorities in Jerusalem to make the offer. But his letter nevertheless represents an extraordinary and courageous – if not somewhat Quixotic – step for a highly prominent Arab and future Regent to the King of Egypt to have taken so soon after the August 1929 violence.

The letter also seriously undermines Muslim claims regarding the holiness of the Buraq. Surely Ali Pasha would never have dreamed of proposing to sell any truly sacred Muslim shrines, such as the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque, to the Jews. Clearly he did not regard the Western Wall as even a minor Muslim religious site. Indeed, no evidence exists of any Muslim prayer or veneration at the Buraq since the 7th Century Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

Moreover, during a 1930 courtroom trial presided over by three League of Nations-approved judges, pitting Muslims against Jews regarding their respective rights and claims to the Wall, the Jewish side offered evidence that the Muslims had repeatedly defiled the Wall and the pavement. Dr. Mordechai Eliash, the Jerusalem-based lawyer representing the Jewish side, said the following in his opening statement (pages 53-54 of the transcript, the only surviving copy of which is located at King’s College, London):

“Evidence will be brought before you that time and again the Wall was desecrated by actually smearing human excreta on its stones. Filth and rubbish were always allowed by the Mughrabis to accumulate there, while time and again have Jewish individuals and organized communities paid for the sweeping and cleaning of the area in front of the Wall, and it will be shown to you that it was through Jewish intervention that a sewage drain was not laid close to the Wall …”

In any event, no record was found of any further action by Ali Pasha or the British Government regarding Ali Pasha’s proposal, nor is there any evidence in Chancellor’s files or his diary proving or even hinting he ever learned of the letter’s existence.

The original Ali Pasha letter, containing the only Arab offer ever to sell the Wall to the Jews, remained buried in the Colonial Office files for the next 90 years.

Prince Ali Pasha’s letter, August 29, 1929 (CO 733/163/5, British National Archives, London; photo by the author).

Prince Ali Pasha’s letter, August 29, 1929 (CO 733/163/5, British National Archives, London; photo by the author).

Two of Israel’s leading historians of the Mandate era, Professor Motti Golani of Tel Aviv University and Professor Hillel Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, examined Ali Pasha’s letter and the related documents at the author’s request last year. Both professors said they were unaware of Ali Pasha’s letter or of any prior publication mentioning it. Golani called it a “major discovery.” Cohen initially noted the absence of any specific reference to “selling” the Wall in the text of Ali Pasha’s letter, but after reading Clerk’s cover letter to the Foreign Office, Cohen acknowledged Ali Pasha’s letter indeed conveyed an implicit offer to sell the Wall.

One lingering question remains: is it possible Ali Pasha and Menasce knew of each other’s initiatives? Two very prominent Egyptians, one Muslim and one Jewish, within three days of each other separately approached the British Embassies in Istanbul and Paris to float the idea of the Jews buying the Western Wall and the surrounding area. Perhaps they had coordinated their efforts and stage-managed them as carefully as possible to avoid detection. Or perhaps neither had any idea of the other’s activity, and their visits to the British Embassies in Paris (Monday) and Istanbul (Thursday) of the same week were purely coincidental. We will leave that mystery for others to solve.

In any event, Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s letter stands as a remarkable testament to the bravery and creativity of this urbane and worldly Egyptian prince, who at great personal risk launched an initiative to bring peace to the Muslims and Jews of Mandate Palestine.

Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Steven E. Zipperstein

The prince’s letter, concealed in the files of the Colonial Office for the past 90 years, can now proudly take its rightful place in history.

********

Steven E. Zipperstein is the author of the forthcoming book “Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Trials of Palestine” (Routledge, March 2020), from which this article is derived. Zipperstein, a former United States federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Development at UCLA. He also teaches in UCLA’s Global Studies program and School of Public Affairs, and as a visiting professor at the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University.

(Copyright Steven E. Zipperstein, 2020)

Tens of thousands pray at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem in Selichot (forgiveness) prayers, early on September 27, 2019. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)
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Knesset dissolves, sets unprecedented third election in under a year

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Knesset dissolves, sets unprecedented third election in under a year

Israelis to head back to polls on March 2 in latest bid to solve political deadlock that has engulfed country; short-lived 22nd Knesset automatically disperses at midnight

Benny Gantz walks during a session of the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019.(Gali TIBBON / AFP)

Benny Gantz walks during a session of the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019.(Gali TIBBON / AFP)

Israelis will return to the ballot box for the third consecutive national election in 11 months on March 2 after its top politicians again failed to build a governing coalition, in the latest twist in a sprawling and unprecedented crisis that has left the country in political limbo for a year.

The Knesset was automatically dispersed at midnight on Wednesday, but lawmakers continued debating until early Thursday on the date of the vote.

With no Knesset member having gained the support of 61 MKs by the midnight deadline, the Knesset officially dissolved and new elections set for 90 days time, March 10.

However, having started the debate before midnight, Knesset members had until President Reuven Rivlin’s official announcement on Thursday, that no MK gained enough support to build a coalition, to pass the law setting the date for the new elections.

A general view of the Israeli parliament during a vote on a bill to dissolve the parliament, at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

With March 10 falling on the Jewish festival on Purim and various other calendar considerations, MKs eventually finalized a bill setting the elections for March 2.

The second and third readings of the vote passed by 96 in favor with seven against. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was absent for earlier proceedings, showed up for the votes that were passed just before 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

That vote brought to an official close attempts by Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to assemble a coalition following the September election. Talks between Netanyahu and Gantz, leaders of the two-largest parties, on a unity arrangement broke down with both sides trading blame.

Over the past 21 days, lawmakers also had the opportunity to nominate any MK for a shot at forming a government by gathering 61 signatures, but no such candidate was nominated.

This combination picture created on September 18, 2019 shows, Benny Gantz (R), leader of the Blue and White political alliance, waving to supporters in Tel Aviv early on September 18, 2019, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing supporters at his Likud party’s electoral campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv early on September 18, 2019. (Emmanuel Dunand and Menahem Kahana / AFP)

The April 2019 election made history when by the end of May it became the first-ever Israeli election that failed to produce a government. At the time, Netanyahu was short just one vote of a majority. Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman had refused to join over disagreements on the ultra-Orthodox enlistment law with Netanyahu’s Haredi political allies, precipitating the repeat vote in the fall.

Following both elections, neither Gantz’s Blue and White nor Netanyahu’s Likud had enough allies to form a government without the other or the support of the Yisrael Beytenu party, but the two parties could not finalize the terms for a unity coalition.

Netanyahu will be campaigning in the upcoming election in the shadow of criminal charges against him in three corruption probes, which were announced by the attorney general last month. He faces an indictment over bribery in one case, and fraud and breach of trust in the three cases. He denies all wrongdoing.

He also faces an internal leadership challenge by Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar in an upcoming party primary.

A member of the Israeli Druze community casts her ballot during Israel’s parliamentary elections on September 17, 2019, in Daliyat al-karmel in northern Israel. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

The criminal charges have been a sticking point in the coalition talks since September, with Blue and White insisting it won’t serve under a prime minister facing trial and calling for Netanyahu to publicly declare he won’t seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution, which the prime minister is widely expected to request.

The centrist party has also been critical of the prime minister’s insistence on negotiating on behalf of all 55 MKs in his bloc of right-wing and religious parties. The parties also could not agree on who would serve as prime minister first under a power-sharing framework proposed by President Reuven Rivlin.

Even as another election has now been called, some recent polls indicated it may not resolve the political deadlock, with Liberman again potentially holding the balance of power.

A Tuesday poll showed Blue and White increasing its lead over Likud, expanding its current one-seat advantage to a four-seat lead — 37 seats to Likud’s 33 in the 120-member Knesset. Meanwhile, the rightist Haredi bloc of parties backing Netanyahu is set to fall by three seats, according to the Channel 13 poll, from the current 55 total to 52, far short of the 61 seats it would need to form a coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.

The poll predicted Likud falling even further if the party drops the scandal-laden Netanyahu in favor of his main challenger, Sa’ar.

When asked who they blamed for the expected third election, 41 percent of respondents blamed Netanyahu, followed by Yisrael Beytenu leader Liberman at 26%, and Gantz at a mere 5%. Twenty-three percent said “everyone is equally responsible.”

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Israel: Settlement Group Calls for Dividing Al-Aqsa between Jews, Muslims

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Settlement Group Calls for Dividing Al-Aqsa between Jews, Muslims

Thursday, 17 October, 2019 – 10:00
The Al Aqsa mosque compound and the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Reuters
Tel Aviv – Asharq Al-Awsat
Extremist Jewish settler groups distributed a statement to Jewish worshipers coming to the Buraq Square, adjacent to the walls of Jerusalem surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on them not to just pray in this courtyard, which is considered sacred to Jews as it is near the Western Wall, but to flock into the Jerusalem Mosque’s squares to perform their prayers.

An organization called the “Temple Groups”, called for a gathering on Saturday in Al-Aqsa courtyards, to raise their demand to equally allocate prayer times for Jews and Muslims under the slogan of “equality and non-discrimination against Jews.”

A wave of settlers stormed the yards of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday, under strict security measures by the Israeli occupation forces. The raid came in response to calls by Jewish organizations to intensify “visits” to the place in celebration of the Jewish Throne Day.

According to the Islamic Waqf, the total number of Jewish settlers who entered Al-Aqsa on Wednesday reached 906, including 295 in the morning and 611 in the afternoon. Israeli occupation authorities also arrested the preacher of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dr. Ismail Nawahda, and conducted a lengthy investigation with him, and then released him in the evening.

The number of settlers entering the mosque is expected to increase in the coming days. Israeli ministers and officials participated in some of these incursions, creating further tension with the Palestinians.

Book Of Revelation Chapter #7

Book Of Revelation Chapter #7

 

As we now start the 7th Chapter of Revelation I would have thought that it would have started off with Jesus breaking the 7th Seal, but that is not the case. The information about the 7th Seal does not start until the beginning of chapter #8. The 7th chapter is 17 verses long and is broken down into two sections. The first breakdown is chapters 1-8 then 9-17.  Verses 1-8 is dedicated to the 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Then the second subject matter in 9-17 which is about the ‘great multitude’ of the Gentiles (non-Jews) that are before the Throne of God. We will breakdown the meaning of both of these subject matters so that their definitions and truths will be obvious to everyone.

 

The first 3 verses of chapter 7 are quite self explanatory. Yet it seems that verses 3 through 8 dumbfound a lot of people so lets study these first 8 verses now. I pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes and minds of all who earnestly seek the Light of their meanings. 1.) “And after these things (the opening of the 6th Seal and the events thereof) I saw 4 Angels standing on the 4 corners of the Earth, holding the 4 winds of the Earth, so that the wind would not blow on the Earth, nor on the Sea, nor on any tree.” “And I saw another Angel ascending from the East, having the Seal of the living God: and He cried with a loud voice to the 4 Angels, to whom it was given to damage the Earth and the Sea.” “Saying, do not hurt the Earth, neither the Sea, nor the trees, until We have sealed the Servants of God in their foreheads.” “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty-four thousand from all of the Tribes of the Children of Israel.”

 

Then starting with verse 5 through verse 8 the Scriptures name off each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. From each of these twelve tribes there will come 12,000 Souls that must and will be Sealed, saved for Heavenly Service to God. Who these 144,000 people are is very simple, we have already been told. They are Jews with equal amounts from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel. 12 x 12,000= 144,000. Now if you would, for a moment, skip forward to 14:4. There we will learn more about them . It reads “the 144,000 which were redeemed from the Earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb (Jesus The Christ) wheresoever He goes. They were Redeemed (bought with the Blood of Christ) from among men, being the First Fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” I hope that this Scriptural explanation will lay to rest peoples wondering as to whom these 144,000 are and from where they will come from.

 

Now let us discuss the “Great Multitude” of verses 9-17. This “Great Multitude of Gentiles.” First we need to understand exactly what a “Gentile” is. Simply, a Gentile is any person who is not full blood of the House (Linage) of Israel. This definition also means that about 99.99% of the people of today that call themselves Jews are not of this ‘Pure’Bloodline. To be so, a person would have to be 100% of that pure bloodline. There is a small group of men and women that live in Israel that are set aside separate from the general population and these people do not work outside of their own Commune. These people are also exempt from Israels military service. These people are of the Bloodline of King David. It is this Bloodline that the Messiah (Christ) will come from. So, it is this Bloodline that the Nation of Israel is trying to keep pure and safe for the reason of the coming of The Christ through it.

 

The Jewish Nation has the right idea in what they are doing here, to safe guard the Holy Bloodline. But, it is also true that they have missed the proverbial boat. You see, the Jewish People deny that Jesus was/is The Christ. So, they are still looking for Christ to come for the first time. They are still looking for Christ to come for the first time and to set up His Kingdom and to rule the world from His Throne in Jerusalem from the Temple Mount. What they are seeking will come to pass but when this does happen it will be from the Lord’s Second Advent, not His first.

 

Now lets get back to the Redeemed Multitude of Gentiles. The Apostle John speaks of this crowd as being huge, more than a man could count. In Verse 9 John wrote “I beheld a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindred’s and people and tongues, stood before the Throne and before the Lamb, clothed in White Robes, with palms in their hands.”

 

Now lets read through the last 5 verses of this chapter so that we can understand more clearly concerning these Gentiles. The Apostle John wrote “and one of the Elders said unto me, who are these who are arrayed in White Robes and where did they come from?”  “And I said unto Him, Sir, you know. And He said unto me, these are they which came out of the Great Tribulation and have washed their Robes and have made them White in the Blood of the Lamb.” “Therefor they are before the Throne of God and serve Him day and night in His Temple: and He that sits on the Throne shall dwell among them.” “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore. Neither shall the Sun light on them, nor any heat.” “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them and shall lead them unto Living Fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

 

For the people who think it is okay to be prejudice all I can say is folks, you badly need to rethink your positions on the racism matter.  The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:32 “give no offence, neither to the Jews, the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God.” Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be slaves or free, we have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” Then here the Apostle John said in verse 9 “The Holy Fathers children that stood redeemed before His Throne were people from every nation and of every tongue.” Friends, it is not okay to hate, Jesus Himself told us that if a man hates his brother (fellow person) without a cause (something that a person has/had no choice in the matter, like ones skin color or where they were born) that the hater is in danger of Hell’s Fire. When a person is filled with hate it is very often that they become a mirror image of the very thing that they hate. If a person is filled with hate they have no part of the Spirit of God.  And if we reject Jesus and His Teachings in this life Jesus has made it very plain that He will reject us before the Throne of God at our own Judgement. Friends, I do not wish such a horrible fate on anyone. I hope and I pray that we will all be dressed in White Robes before Jesus once this journey of life is over. I pray that the Lord will bless and protect you all everyday.

 

Revelation Chapter #6 Part 1 of 2

Revelation Chapter #6

Part 1 Of 2

 

For a lot of people it is chapter 6 where things start getting interesting for them. Chapter 6 is the beginning of the events of the Great Tribulation period here upon the Earth. This event is being shown to us through the eyes of the Apostle John. At this point in time John had gone to Heaven ‘in the Spirit’ and while he was there he beheld these events. This is where Jesus broke down each of the 7 Seals. This chapter has 17 verses within it so lets go through them and then break them down for easier understanding.

 

1.) “And I (John) saw when the Lamb (Jesus) opened one of the Seals and I heard what was like the noise of thunder and one of the Four Beasts said to me, come and see.” “And I saw and beheld a White Horse, and He that sat upon him had a Bow; and a Crown was given unto Him; and He went forth conquering, and to conquer.” “And when He had opened the Second Seal, I heard the Beast say to me, come and see.” “And there went out another Horse which was Red. And power was given to Him that sat upon the Horse to take peace from the Earth so that people would kill one another. And there was given unto Him a great sword.” “And when He had opened the Third Seal, I heard the Third Beast say to me, come and see. And I beheld, and lo there was a Black Horse. And He who sat upon him had a pair of scales in His hand.” “And I heard a voice in the midst of the Four Beasts say, a measure (1 quart) of wheat for a penny ( 1 days wages). And three measures (3 quarts) of barley for a penny (1 days wages). But, see that you do not hurt the oil or the wine.” “And when He had opened the Fourth Seal, I heard the voice of the Fourth Beast say to me, come and see.” “And I looked and beheld a Pale Horse: and His name that sat upon him was death, and Hell followed with Him. And power was given unto them over one-fourth part of the Earth to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the wild beasts of the Earth.” “And when He had opened the Fifth Seal, I saw under the  Alter the Souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the Testimony which they held.” “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, Holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those that dwell on the Earth?” “And White Robes were given to everyone of them. And it was said unto them that they should rest (be quiet) yet for a little season (while), until their fellow Servants also and their Brethren, that would be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” “And I beheld when He opened the Sixth Seal, and lo, there was a great (violent) earthquake; and the Sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the Moon became as red as blood.” “And the Stars of Heaven fell onto the Earth, even as a fig tree casts away her untimely figs, when she is shaken from a mighty wind.” “And the Heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were removed out of their places.” “And the Kings of the Earth and the great men and the rich men and the Chief Captains (military leaders) and the mighty men and every bondman (slave) and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in (under) the rocks of the mountains.” “And (they) said to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the Face of Him that sits on the Throne (God the Father). And from the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus the Son of God).” #14.) For the Great Day of His Wrath has come; and who shall be able to stand?”

 

Now friends lets break down what we just finished reading. Chapter 6 is the great dividing point of the Book of Revelation. The Apostle Peter told us in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that is two fold and it is something I want us all to remember. He said “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but Holy Men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The two things about which I hope you will remember are 1.) no  one line or bit of Prophecy should be interpreted as though it is an island unto itself. All Prophecy must be looked at as part of a book. It must first fit in with all of the other Prophecies. The Prophecies all form one play, one writing, one book. 2.) All Prophecy was written by the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Holy Spirit! But, the Holy Spirit also indwells millions of you. These things that I put on paper to you are not some kind of a secret, it is simply the Lord’s Truth being brought out into the light. We, the Lord’s people are all indwelled by the Spirit of God. We are members of the Lord’s Church which is the Body. All parts of the Body have different functions yet all parts of the Body, are one! Just as the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit are one.

 

Chapter 6 covers what will happen to the Earth once the Church leaves at the Rapture. The 7 Seals of the Sealed Book open up the Great Tribulation Period. We need to keep in mind that it is Jesus which is directing these Tribulation events. I do want to make it very clear that chapters 6-20 are events that are yet to happen.

 

Starting with the First Seal, the Rider of the White Horse, this person is the Antichrist, period! The Fake Savior who comes riding in on the White Horse. The world is already now in a lot of trouble as murder and corruption saturate every level of every government and throughout the business world. The Antichrist will be elected, the majority of the people will want Him to be their Leader or at least it will be done through the manipulation of the voting machines. Peace at any price is a very dangerous concept. The events going on right now in the Middle-East and within Israel is a major volley across the bow. This boat that the world is in is ripe for the Dictators who are already in place around the world. We the people of this world are very ‘set-up’ for the destruction that is very soon to come upon us all. When the Antichrist shall be put into place via He and his cohorts all Hell is going to break loose here upon the surface of the Earth. The wicked will never ever allow peace and as is said in the Old Testament Book of Isiah 57:21 “There is no peace, saith the Lord, to the wicked.” They do not bring peace, they bring blood!

 

Now, concerning the Second Seal, the Red Horse of War is unleashed upon the Earth. The counterfeit peace the Antichrist of the First Seal brought was just a ruse. Most Bible Scholars seem to believe that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. fulfilled the Lord’s Prophecy of Matthew 24:2 but they are simply wrong on this matter if they think this. In this passage Jesus was talking to his disciples about the Temple buildings in Jerusalem when He said “Do you not see all of these things? I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” But my friends consider the reality, this to this day has not yet happened. Please consider the West Wall of Solomon’s Temple, it stands yet today, most folks of today refer to it as the ‘Wailing Wall’. Friends, the Roman destruction of 70 A.D.  will be considered minute compared to the reality of what is yet to be. As a fellow human, this is very sad that this Prophesy is yet to be fulfilled but reality is that all prophesy must be and will be completely fulfilled.

 

Now, the Third of the Four Horsemen.  As Jesus broke the Third Seal the Rider of the Black Horse came forth. The color of the Black Horse represents mourning. Please see Jeremiah 4:28 and Malachi 3:14. After the arrival of the Black Horse there will be a world wide famine. Folks, please consider the Scripture of Lamentations 4:8-10. “Their appearance is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin clings to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. Those that are killed with the sword are better off than those that will be slain with hunger. For those wither away, stricken through for the wants of the fruits of the field.” Folks, famine and disease will be common in these times yet the wealthy will still have their wine and there oil. This is always how it has been throughout human history, those who have a lot will be be last and the least affected. If you don’t think this is possible in this day and time please consider how painful life was in Europe, Russia, the Middle-East and Asia just after world war 2. History has a way of repeating itself except the events spoken of here will be much worse than the world has ever known and it will be on a totally global scale, no nation will escape it.

 

At the opening of the 4th Seal the Rider of the 4th Horse, the Pale Horse comes forth. The Pale Horse represents Plague and Pestilence.  When Jesus was at Mount Olivet He said what has become known as ‘The Olivet Discourse’ in Matthew 24:5-8, please take a moment to read His words. The Four Events are the Four Horsemen. These events that are to come about through the opening of the Fourth Seal will kill a full 1/4 of the world’s population. In Matthew 24:22 the Lord worded the results of the Fourth Seal this way. “And except those days should be shortened, there would be no flesh saved, but for the Elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The ‘Elect’ that the Lord is speaking of here are those who have been left on Earth after the Rapture who have decided to believe in and to follow after the Lord Jesus and His Teachings.

 

I am going to end Part #1 of this 2 part letter to you here at this point. Lord willing part #2 will follow within 24 hours. I have my notes all written out to finish this letter with but I feel that it is getting to long so I am going to divide it into two sections to hopefully make it an easier read. Lord willing I will speak with you very soon. Please leave me any questions or comments you have and I will get back with your answers as soon as I possibly can. Thank you for the kindness of your time, I hope that this material is being helpful to your understanding of this incredible Book of Prophecy.

IDF said to arrest 3 Palestinians during hunt for terrorists behind bomb attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

IDF said to arrest 3 Palestinians during hunt for terrorists behind bomb attack

Israeli troops reportedly confiscate cameras, raid homes in West Bank villages near site of bombing that killed Israeli teen Rina Shnerb

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, following a deadly terror bombing near the Dolev settlement. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, following a deadly terror bombing near the Dolev settlement. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli security forces reportedly arrested three Palestinian men in the West Bank early Saturday as they searched for the terrorists behind a bombing attack that killed an Israeli teenager.

According to Palestinian media reports, Israeli soldiers arrested two of the men during raids in the village of Ein Arik. The third man was said to be a resident of the nearby village of Ein Qiniya.

It was not clear what their connection to the bombing near the Dolev settlement was.

Troops also reportedly seized a number of surveillance cameras in Ein Arik.

المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

@PalinfoAr

لحظة اعتقال قوات الاحتلال الأسير المحرر والطالب في جامعة بيرزيت إصرار معروف من منزله في قرية عين قينيا شمال غرب رام الله .

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The two villages are located near Ein Bubin, a natural spring where an explosive device detonated Friday as three members of the Shnerb family from the central Israeli town of Lod were visiting.

The teenage daughter, Rina, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her father, Eitan, a rabbi in Lod, and her brother Dvir, 19, were taken by military helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition.

Rina Shnerb, 17, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank on August 23, 2019 (courtesy)

The army said an improvised explosive device was used in the attack. Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the spring and was triggered remotely when the family approached it.

Following the bombing, security forces launched a large-scale manhunt in the area, with the IDF chief saying he believed they would apprehend the killers “quickly.”

“We are in the midst of a manhunt that is being led by troops from the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet security service and Israel Police. We are focusing our large operational intelligence effort to finding the perpetrators of this severe and deadly terror attack,” IDF chief Aviv Kohavi said at the site of the bombing on Friday afternoon.

Rabbi Eitan Shnerb speaks to reporters from his hospital bed after being wounded in a terror attack that also killed his daughter Rina and wounded his son Dvir on August 23, 2019 (Screencapture/Ynet)

IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said the military did not yet know the identities of the culprits or if they belonged to an established terror group or were acting alone.

Channel 12 quoted unnamed officials as saying that the size and complexity of the the device indicated that one of the major terror groups was behind the attack.

Troops were working to find the terrorists behind the attack as quickly as possible, under the general understanding that the more time they have to flee, the more difficult the search effort becomes.

Israeli soldiers set up a roadblock as part of a search effort to find terrorists who set off a bomb near the Israeli settlement of Dolev in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, killing an Israeli teenage girl and seriously injuring two other people. (Israel Defense Forces)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, said he was receiving constant updates on the search effort and would meet soon with the commanders of the country’s security forces.

“Security forces are in pursuit of the vile terrorists. We will reach them. Our long arm will pay them their dues,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking with reporters Friday from his hospital bed, Eitan Shnerb said he was in good condition, but had a piece of shrapnel in his stomach and a broken hip.

Dvir’s condition on improved to moderate on Saturday morning and he was conscious after undergoing surgery the day before, according to Channel 13 news.

Israeli military officials have warned in recent weeks of an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the lead-up to next month’s Israeli elections.

Last Friday, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two Israeli teenage siblings, critically injuring one of them, outside the Elazar settlement in the central West Bank, just south of Jerusalem.

The car rolled over after the terror attack, and when the assailant tried to emerge from it, he was shot dead by an off duty police officer who was driving behind him.

Earlier this month, an Israeli religious seminary student, Dvir Sorek, was found stabbed to death outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. Israeli security forces tracked down the suspected killers in approximately 48 hours, arresting Palestinian cousins, Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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Israel said bracing for likely Omar, Tlaib visit to flash point Temple Mount

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel said bracing for likely Omar, Tlaib visit to flash point Temple Mount

During secret meeting of National Security Council, senior officials agree to allow congresswomen onto holy site, but not accompanied by PA officials

In this photo from February 5, 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, left, is joined by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, at US President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this photo from February 5, 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, left, is joined by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, at US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Israeli officials are preparing for the likelihood that US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib may seek to visit the flashpoint Temple Mount in Jerusalem during their visit to the country next week, Channel 13 reported Wednesday.

A “secret meeting” was recently held on the subject in Israel’s National Security Council led by Deputy National Security Adviser Reuven Azar, according to Channel 13.

There, the network reported that Azar said there was a high probability that Omar and Tlaib, who are both Muslim, will seek to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine at the holy site.

The participants at the meeting agreed that if the congresswomen choose to do so, it is vital that the Israel Police not permit their visit to be accompanied by officials of the Palestinian Authority, which would serve as symbolic backing by the US lawmakers for Palestinian claims of sovereignty at the site, the holiest place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.

Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and now claims all of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital in a future state.

in 2017 the US, under the Trump administration, shifted years of policy, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy to the city. However, the US said the move did not constitute and endorsement of specific borders.

Muslim worshipers perform the Eid al-Adha morning prayers at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Israeli officials were unanimous in their view that the two lawmakers, who have expressed support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, should be allowed to visit Israel and the Temple Mount, as preventing the visits could hurt relations with the United States, Channel 13 said.

As recently as Sunday, tensions at the flash point site boiled over into all-out riots after Muslim worshipers objected Israel’s allowing of some 1,700 Jewish visitors on the site during the Tish’a B’av fast day, which fell this year during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

At least 61 Muslim worshipers were injured in the clashes, according to the Red Crescent. At least four Israeli officers were also lightly to moderately wounded, police said.

Last month Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, said that she would visit Israel and the West Bank with Tlaib, a Palestinian-American congresswoman from Michigan. Omar and Tlaib are the first female Muslim congresswoman.

Last Saturday, Axios reported that US President Donald Trump criticized the Israeli decision to allow Omar and Tlaib to visit the country.

Trump said that if Omar and Tlaib wanted to boycott Israel, “then Israel should boycott them,” Axios said, quoting a source with direct knowledge.

However, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied Trump ever gave any kind of directive to the Israelis. “The Israeli government can do what they want. It’s fake news,” Grisham told Axios on Saturday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, at the president’s guest house, in Washington, DC, February 14, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Last month Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said Israel would not prevent the lawmakers from coming to Israel.

“Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer told The Times of Israel in a statement.

Under a controversial law that Israel enacted in 2017, the state can prohibit any foreigner from entering the country who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.”

Since then, the Interior and Strategic Affairs ministries have used the statute to deny visas to a handful of students, activists and artists upon their arrival to Israel.

The Foreign Ministry, however, can recommend the law be waived for visiting politicians or government officials out of diplomatic concerns.

Israeli security forces walk past the Dome of the Rock as they arrive at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019, as clashes broke out during the overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and the Tisha B’av fast (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Omar last month introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Tlaib, ostensibly aimed at pushing back against laws seeking to clamp down on boycotts of Israel. The resolution, which does not explicitly mention Israel or the Palestinians, affirms the right of Americans to participate in boycotts as an expression of free speech under the First Amendment, citing boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the USSR and apartheid South Africa.

It currently has three sponsors — Omar, Tlaib and Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the US civil rights movement.

Omar, Tlaib and other BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to oppose unjust policies toward Palestinians. Israel counters that the movement masks its motivation to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

Omar has said she supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Tlaib, however, has advocated for a single-state outcome.

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Israel: Temple Mount status quo should be changed so Jews can pray there

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Minister says Temple Mount status quo should be changed so Jews can pray there

Gilad Erdan stresses new arrangement should come from ‘diplomatic agreements and not by force’; draws criticism from Jordan

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks during a ceremony for the outgoing Jerusalem police chief at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on February 7, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks during a ceremony for the outgoing Jerusalem police chief at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on February 7, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday said Israel should push to change the status quo at the Temple Mount, days after clashes at the Jerusalem holy site.

As part of an arrangement in place since the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel captured the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan, non-Muslims are barred from praying at the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam.

Erdan, whose ministry oversees police responsible for security at the Temple Mount, voiced support in an interview for changing the existing arrangements there.

“I think there is in an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ’67,” he told Israel’s Radio 90. “We need to work to change it so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount.”

He clarified that he opposes introducing such a change unilaterally.

“This needs to be achieved by diplomatic agreements and not by force,” Erdan said.

Muslim worshipers perform the Eid al-Adha morning prayers at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The remarks drew a rebuke from Jordan, whose foreign ministry warned any change to the status quo at the Temple Mount could have serious consequences.

A ministry spokesman said Jordan, which Israel recognizes as custodian of the Temple Mount as part of the 1994 peace treaty between the countries, sent a letter of protest over the public security minister’s remarks through diplomatic channels.

Talk or even rumors of changes to the status quo arrangement at the holy site are typically met with vociferous protest from the Muslim world, which has accused Israel of attempting to “judaize” the site or expand access for Jewish pilgrims.

Some Jewish activists have pushed for Israel to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount as part of the country’s commitment to freedom of religion. On Sunday Tamar Zandberg, a lawmaker from the left-wing Meretz party, tweeted that Jews have a right to pray there but the best way to guarantee freedom of worship is through a diplomatic arrangement.

The compound was the site of clashes between Muslim worshipers and police on Sunday over the entry of Jews during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which this year coincided with the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av.

On Sunday, Jordan’s foreign ministry slammed Israel for using force against Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount after clashes erupted there.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as the Palestinians, also condemned Israel over the clashes.

Israeli security forces clash with Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

According to Erdan, 1,729 Jews entered the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av, a new record high for a single day.

Initially, police announced Sunday that non-Muslims would be barred from entering the Temple Mount, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers had arrived during the morning. Hundreds of Jews had gathered at the gates leading to the holy site on Sunday morning.

But following an uproar from right-wing ministers and lawmakers, a first round of Jewish visitors was allowed to enter the site. Several dozen visited under close police escort, but Muslim worshipers began throwing chairs and other objects at the group, and the Jewish visitors left the compound shortly thereafter.

With fewer Muslim worshipers on site than there were in the morning, the second round of visits by Jews took place largely without incident.

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COMMENTS

Top pro-Israel group in Australia lauds police recommendation to indict Litzman

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Top pro-Israel group in Australia lauds police recommendation to indict Litzman

Zionist Federation of Australia calls on Israeli deputy health minister to step down over suspected efforts to prevent extradition to Melbourne of alleged sex abuser Malka Leifer

Protesters demonstrate on March 13, 2019, outside the Jeursalem District Court during extradition hearings for Malka Leifer, a former girls school principal wanted for sexual abuse in Australia. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Protesters demonstrate on March 13, 2019, outside the Jeursalem District Court during extradition hearings for Malka Leifer, a former girls school principal wanted for sexual abuse in Australia. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A prominent Australian Jewish organization on Wednesday welcomed news that police had recommended the indictment of Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman for allegedly pressuring officials in his office to prevent the extradition of suspected sex predator Malka Leifer to Melbourne.

“This is a very welcome step forward in a frustratingly long and drawn out process to achieve justice for Leifer’s victims,” the Zionist Federation of Australia, an umbrella organization of pro-Israel groups, said in a statement.

The ZFA also called for Litzman to step down from his post while the legal proceedings against him continue.

Developments in the Leifer case have been closely followed by the Jewish community in Australia and Tuesday’s police recommendation made national headlines down under.

“These are extremely serious allegations and it is simply untenable for anyone in a position of public trust and responsibility to continue in their position while under
investigation for fraud and breach of trust. There should be zero tolerance for an elected official who sabotages the rule of law – a democratic principle which is foundational to the State of Israel,” the ZFA added.

The Australian umbrella group went on to express solidarity with Leifer’s alleged victims, specifically Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer, who have led a campaign to push Israel to extradite their former high school principal.

(R) Deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman seen during a press conference after meeting with president Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on April 15, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90); (L) A private investigator tagged Malka Leifer as she spoke on the phone, while sitting on a bench in Bnei Brak, on December 14, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Police on Tuesday recommended that Litzman be charged with fraud and breach of trust for the case involving Leifer, a former ultra-Orthodox girls’ school principal charged in Australia with 74 counts of child sex abuse. Since February, authorities have been investigating the deputy health minister on suspicion that he had pressured employees in his office to alter the conclusions of psychiatric evaluations that had deemed Leifer fit for extradition.

In addition, police also recommended that Litzman, who is also chairman of the United Torah Judaism party, be charged with bribery for attempts to influence officials in the Health Ministry to prevent the closure of a Jerusalem deli that he frequented — a closure that had been ordered due to “serious sanitary findings found that led to the sickness of a number of people who ate from its products.”

Litzman, who possesses many authorities of a full minister despite serving as a deputy, denied any wrongdoing, maintaining in a response to the police recommendation that his office has a “clear open-door policy for assisting members of the public. This is without discrimination between populations and without clarifying the status of those who call for assistance. The deputy minister expressed confidence that no charges would ultimately be filed.”

In the wake of the police recommendation, it will be up to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to determine whether to indict the deputy health minister.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday that the State Prosecutor’s Office is slated to hand down its recommendation to Mandelblit by the September 17 elections and said the attorney general may even reach a decision to indict — pending a hearing — before the vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, speaks with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, left, in the Knesset, on March 28, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Leifer is known to have links to the Gur community, of which Litzman is a member, having once taught at a school in Israel affiliated with the Hasidic branch.

A Justice Ministry official told The Times of Israel in February that police had recordings of Litzman and officials in his office speaking to Health Ministry employees and pressing them to act on Leifer’s behalf.

In 2000, Leifer was recruited from Israel to work at the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox girls school in Melbourne. When allegations of sexual abuse against the mother of eight began to surface eight years later, members of the school board purchased a red-eye plane ticket back to Israel for Leifer, allowing her to avoid being charged.

After authorities in Melbourne filed charges against her, Australia officially filed an extradition request in 2012. Leifer was arrested in Israel two years later, but released to house arrest shortly thereafter. Judges deemed her mentally unfit to stand trial and eventually removed all restrictions against her, concluding that she was too ill to even leave her bed.

Jerusalem District Psychiatrist Jacob Charnes in 2016. (Facebook photo)

She was rearrested in February 2018 following a police undercover operation that cast doubts on her claims regarding her mental state, and has remained in custody since. The operation was launched after the Jewish Community Watch NGO hired private investigators who placed hidden cameras in the Emmanuel settlement, a Haredi community in the northern West Bank, where Leifer had been living, which showed the alleged sex abuser roaming around the town without any apparent difficulty.

Despite the seemingly damning footage, the trial has dragged on for an additional year, as the court continues to debate her mental fitness. The Jerusalem district psychiatrist responsible for evaluating Leifer, Dr. Jacob Charnes, has changed his mind three times regarding whether Leifer was fit for extradition, ultimately signing off on a legal opinion in which state psychiatrists found her fit for extradition.

However, when the psychiatrist was cross-examined by the defense on the evaluation late last year, he told the court that he recommended an additional evaluation of Leifer be carried out — a proposal that both sides have rejected.

A legal official told The Times of Israel that police suspected Charnes changed his medical conclusion after being contacted by officials in Litzman’s office. Though Charnes has been interrogated under caution in the case against the deputy health minister, police on Tuesday said they did not recommend he be tried.

The Jerusalem District Court will hand down a final decision regarding Leifer’s mental fitness for an extradition hearing on September 23. The Times of Israel learned last month that a separate court-appointed medical board is slated to officially conclude that Leifer has been feigning mental illness, in a ruling that would likely impact the Jerusalem District Court’s decision.

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Palestine: Practical Measures to Halt Agreements with Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Palestine: Practical Measures to Halt Agreements with Israel

Sunday, 28 July, 2019 – 10:15
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem (AFP Photo)
Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat
The Palestinian leadership decided on Thursday evening in an urgent meeting chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to suspend the agreements signed with Israel and to form a committee to implement this, under the decision of the Palestinian Central Council.

However, the Palestinian opposition, which initially welcomed the resolution, now has doubts saying such decisions had also been made in the past and had not been implemented.

Member of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Ahmed Majdalani announced that the committee charged with implementing the mechanisms of this resolution will meet to take practical measures.

Majdalani said in a press statement Saturday that the committee would be composed of members of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Fatah’s Central Committee and the government and it will draw up concrete mechanisms with a specific timeline for the implementation of the leadership’s decision.

Majdalani said that the committee is of a specialized nature, adding that the government will have the bigger burden in the implementation of the most important part of this decision and what is related to the economic dimension.

He stressed that the decision taken by the leadership establishes for a new stage and must be built on in drawing up strategies for the gradual disengagement with the occupation.

“We are at a new stage that also requires from us the unity of position and national line, which means ending the division.”

For their part, the Israelis also did not take the decision seriously.

The committee’s meeting was postponed following the Tunisian President’s death, and Abbas’ decision to participate in the funeral.

Hamas politburo member Musa Abu Marzouk said that the decision to stop all agreements signed with the occupation is a step that reflects the orientations of the Palestinian people, who seek freedom and independence. But he said in a tweet that Abbas’ announcement needed practical steps.

Member of the political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Abu Zarifa, welcomed the leadership’s decision. He urged the quick implementation of it in the face of the occupation and provide the serious political will to protect these decisions and their implementation by ending division and restoring national unity to tackle the deal of the century.

Secretary-General of the National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti welcomed the decision saying it is a natural response to the occupation and its extreme right-wing government, adding that all responses were supportive of the resolution.

Barghouti stressed the need to have national unity in the face of plans to liquidate the Palestinian cause, calling for rising the popular confrontation and boycott movement against the occupation.

“The decision of the leadership is fundamental to the conflict with the occupation, which continues to break all agreements through arrest, displacement and demolition, and not to recognize the classifications of the territories and the continued invasion of West Bank cities.

In other news, executive director at Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth criticized the policy of the US administration led by President Donald Trump in supporting and encouraging Israel’s repressive policy.

Roth told AFP Trump had provided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the protection he needed to crack down on criticism of the state’s human rights record.

“Would the Netanyahu government have tried to expel Omar Shakir without Trump in the White House? I doubt it. I think Trump has given a green light to whatever Netanyahu wants to do,” Roth said.

“You can’t appeal to Trump to promote human rights when he is so busy embracing autocrats around the world.”

Israel says it is seeking to expel Shakir based largely on comments he made before joining Human Rights Watch (HRW) in which he praised the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel.

HRW does not advocate BDS and Roth said the attempt to expel Omar, who is of Iraqi descent, was a clear attempt to quash criticism.

“It was so clear to us when this case was brought against Omar that this had nothing to do with Omar. Omar was just an easy target because of his ethnicity, because of some of the advocacy he did back in his college days.

“If you look at what Omar has done and said the entire time he has been at HRW, it has been 100 percent HRW’s position.”

He said by trying to expel Shakir, Israel was joining a “very ugly group” of countries that harass HRW, including North Korea and Iran.