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The Mount, like other sacred Jewish sites in and near the Old City of Jerusalem, suffered even worse depredations from 1948 to 1967 when Jerusalem was a divided city and Jordan ruled the non-Israeli part of it. Gravestones on the Mount were ripped out and used to build roads and army barracks, and as walls and floors of latrines; parts of the cemetery were made into parking lots and a gas station.
In addition to such physical attacks and desecrations, Israeli Jews are subjected to what could be called a metaphysical assault—an ongoing campaign to deny their connection to Jerusalem and the rest of Israel and to appropriate their traditions.
In a recent case that made it from Palestinian Media Watch to primetime Israeli TV, a Palestinian academic perorated—a few days before Passover—that Moses was a Muslim, and so were the children of Israel who followed him out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
And shortly before that, a Hamas member of parliament put some of the physical and metaphysical aspects together, bellowing to a women’s procession in Gaza that
the Hamas woman in Gaza, the Palestinian woman, says that our blood is a sacrifice for Al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem], and that we will give Al-Aqsa Mosque the blood, and pave the road with body parts, until we liberate it…God willing….
Yes, it’s a difficult region. Anyone who looks at it seriously and candidly will not be promiscuous with the words democracy and peace.
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