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The Temple Mount Express Has Already Left the Station

Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher
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People walk next to the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem's Old City, January 31, 2020
People walk next to the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem's Old City, January 31, 2020Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS
Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher

The messianic-nationalistic dialogue about the Temple Mount did not seep into any of the main television newscasts but whoever reads the opinion pages of right-wing media such as Yisrael Hayom, Mekor Rishon and Arutz Sheva would see that it is already well-rooted.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 63Credit: Haaretz

The arrest of former MK Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount, for “walking too slowly” in a defiant way, the handcuffs placed on him “in front of Muslims” and the police searches of his home that night – all this has happened in the eyes of the right due to the same left-wing conspiracy of the “rule of law” which has targeted Netanyahu. From their point of view, the “rule of law” has set a goal of repressing representatives of Jewish nationalism – first it was Netanyahu and now Glick.

In the war that’s raging between the “rule of law” and the nationalist leadership, it’s clear for those on the right that their loyalty lies with realizing the divine purpose of the Jewish people and not with law enforcers, who are defiling all holiness. The more moderate nationalists – in other words, people who see Kahol Lavan as a sort of alternative – believe that the Jewish nationalist movement can rest on its laurels once the Jordan Valley and all the settlements have been annexed.

But they have made a big mistake. Once annexation is achieved, the messianic prize awaits: the gradual takeover of the Temple Mount, in stages. First by allowing Jewish prayer on the Mount and ultimately by establishing a holy temple and renewing ritual sacrificial slaughter. Betzalel Smotrich may be talking about a night train to the Western Wall now but the real final destination of this train is the Temple Mount.

The more diehard among the settlers not only negate any establishment of a Palestinian state, even the Swiss cheese version offered up by the Trump plan, but are primarily interested in the clauses of the White House deal that touch on the future of the Temple Mount. From their point of view, “Jewish honor” sits atop the Temple Mount. The holiness of the site justifies Jewish national presence in the land of Israel.

The line that separates the universalism of the liberals from Jewish nationalism crosses the Temple Mount. From there messianic winds shall blow. Every fascist movement is characterized by a promise to restore historic greatness, a return to some heroic, imperial past. Such a past overshadows the feeble present which is void of the nationalist “honor” without which the nationalist feels humiliated and downtrodden.

From the Temple Mount blows a fascist wind unique to Jewish nationalism, and it will not be calmed until the injustice of Al-Aqsa is obliterated and a holy temple is rebuilt. In fascist eyes, which are fixated on the Temple Mount issue, Glick’s arrest in front of Muslims is a mortal blow to “Jewish honor.” Their operating plan for the Temple Mount is similar to the plan they implemented when they established settlements in the West Bank, the plan that Trump will fulfill in his evangelistic vision: Establishing facts on the ground, with determination and consistency.

It worked with the settlements, and it can work with the Temple Mount especially with the help of the Evangelist lobby in the U.S. and Sheldon Adelson’s money. No “rule of law” will stop them. The loyalists of the Temple Mount see themselves as divine emissaries.

If their opponents think the worst nightmare they can create in the country is a binational apartheid state, the time has come for them to add the Temple Mount to the equation. As long as it’s in Muslim hands, the Jews have no “honor.” And without “honor” the fascists won’t be satisfied. A binational apartheid state is only a milestone on the way to establishing a holy temple. It’s the next big goal, and the train has already left the station.

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