Yom Ha’atzmaut, with its euphoria, was just coming to an end. (Please see my posting reflecting that euphoria if you have not done so yet!)
We seemed to be back to normal. But it’s tough, because “normal” has just become obscene.
I was going to write about the Temple Mount – and what I have to say about this and more does follow below. But first – painfully, incredibly – I have yet another terror attack to report.
This was a horrendous attack with an axe and a knife (some reports said a gun, as well) wielded by three terrorists in the haredi city of Elad, near Petach Tikva. Three are dead, at least three others wounded, one critically. The attackers went on a spree and hit victims first on the street and then in a major park.
One terrorist was said to have been neutralized. I am assuming this means killed, but sometimes it means taken out of action. Often reports in the early hours of such a situation are a bit vague. Two terrorists are still at large as I write. They are believed to still be in the area. Special police forces and Shin Bet forces are involved, as are other combat units. Helicopters are being utilized, as well as dogs.
Elad’s mayor has advised everyone to stay indoors.
Not only were medical EMT personnel on the scene, but also psychotrauma people, because those who witnessed the attack were in shock. The conclusions to be drawn from this are fairly horrific.
It has been reported that one of those killed was Yonatan Havakuk, a father of ten children.
For some 10 days, until after the end of Ramadan, Jews had not permitted on Har Habayit (the Temple Mount). With Yom Ha’atzmaut, Jews were again allowed to ascend – and did so eagerly.
The good news is that at least one group sang Hatikvah. And the Jews, who came in large numbers, were allowed up and were protected by police who accompanied them. (I had concerns on both scores – more below.)
And yet, while they did go up, it was not easy for the Jews. They were followed by Muslim Arabs who yelled at them and harassed them. Some called “**With fire and blood we will redeem Al Aqsa**.” Four Jews who carried Israeli flags had them confiscated by police. This was particularly disturbing because for at least 10 days very recently a PLO flag had hung on the Dome of the Rock on the Mount (perhaps it is still there). This, the Israel Police took no action to remove.
As it is often true that a visual is more potent than a written description, I provide the link below, which includes several very effective short video clips.
Please scroll down on this site, to see not only rioting Arabs, but also Muslims desecrating the mosque they say they are protecting (last clip at bottom); and destruction of ancient stones (third clip above that). The scenes of Arab destruction of sites that are held to have sanctity for them are the most telling with regard to their motivation.
**The lies about Jewish provocations are so ubiquitous (and believed by so many) that it is important that this be shared broadly.**
What we see, once again, is that concessions to radical Islamists do not lead to moderation and cooperation, but quite the contrary. Concessions are interpreted by them as weakness, so that they come back with more violence and more demands.
I was just in a discussion with one reader about the importance of understanding the Muslim Arab mindset, and that certainly applies here. Power speaks to them, as does honor.
At present the situation on the Mount is tenuous. At the beginning of this week – as I had reported – Mansour Abbas of Ra’am had said his party could not return to full participation in the government until his demands, which would have put Jordan in control on the Mount, were met. Reports made it clear that Abbas himself was eager to stay (it suits him well in several regards) but he was under constraints because of pressure from the Islamic Movement he represents, and specifically from its Shura Council, a religious body that provides consultation with the Movement.
We were left very briefly with a cliff-hanger with regard to how Prime Minister Bennett – who is eager to sustain his governing coalition – would respond.
It took less than one day before we had an answer of sorts. Mansour Abbas and Naftali Bennett had a meeting, after which Abbas announced that Ra’am would be fully participating with the government again.
From Arutz Sheva (emphasis added):
“According to the [channel 12] report, Bennett and Abbas reached a compromise under which UAL [United Arab List, which is Ra’am] will end its self-imposed suspension from the government, restoring the 60-60 balance in the Knesset.
“**As part of the deal, Prime Minister Bennett reportedly agreed to some of Abbas’ demands**.
“The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the meeting took place Sunday, but **refused to provide details**.”
Interestingly, Ra’am officials were quoted as saying that this coalition was on its way out (“in a coma and on ventilator”) but that they wouldn’t be the ones to bring it down. It occurred to me that Mansour Abbas’s logic might have been that it was wisest to take what he could, while the government still stood, without demanding the maximum in concessions, which would bring it down sooner.
And yet…when there is no indication, even unofficially, as to what has been determined in a meeting of consequence, it is unsettling. And so I, along with many, felt considerable unease.
Shortly after, a report came out indicating that Israeli Police presence on the Mount was going to be kept at a minimum. I thought, here it comes, and became more unsettled still: I feared a slippery slope of Israeli concessions.
By Monday evening, however, Bennett had put out a statement denying any change in the situation on the Temple Mount, and saying there would be no reduction in Israel’s sovereignty there.
All of this leads us to today, and my relief at seeing Jews permitted up, and protected by Israel Police.
But this is hardly the end of the story. Hamas had made threats regarding the price we would pay if Jews went up on the Mount again. They said that opening the Mount to Jews on Yom Ha’atzmaut would lead to “a renewed escalation.”
A Hamas spokesman said that a Jewish presence on the Mount was “a detonator that will lead to a new conflict.” He called for Arabs to come to the Mount to block the Jews.
It is thus a very good thing that Jews WERE permitted up. For, to be intimidated by these Hamas threats would be disastrous.
It is too soon to know whether the terrorists in Elad acted under instruction from Hamas. But it is difficult not to speculate about it. What I had read is that Hamas incited Arabs to do attacks with guns and axes.
More will become apparent in the hours and days ahead. Obviously, the Hamas threats implied more than one obscene terror attack. But sometimes Hamas actions are not commensurate with their inflated threats.
Do I think we are on the edge of open hostilities? I believe Israel would have to act if today’s attack can be tied directly to Hamas. But even without that direct tie, it is questionable how long the Hamas incitement can be permitted to continue.
We still have a couple of hotspots on the calendar, such as “Nakba” Day, to contend with in the near future.
It should be mentioned that a Hamas delegation went for meetings in Russia on Wednesday, with the the Hamas demands regarding the Temple Mount high on the agenda.
Fatah, always in competition with Hamas, also made threats about the consequences of allowing Jews on the Mount.
Very often, when there is a terror attack, no terror organization takes credit. But the situation seems to have shifted now: After the guard was killed in Ariel, an arm of Fatah took credit. And then, subsequently, so did Hamas.
One final piece of information regarding the Mount here:
At the moment Mansour Abbas is out of the country, and while he is, the Shura Council is promoting a resolution to force Ra’am to immediately resign from the coalition. According to reports, they were particularly incensed by comments made by certain MKs.
MK Yomtob Kalfan (Yamina), for example, said: “Here we are on the Temple Mount, on Independence Day, at the holiest place in the world, where the Kodesh Hakadoshim (the Holy of Holies of the Temple) is situated. It’s so important that we are able to ascend here; it’s an immense privilege that we have earned. **I wish to thank everyone who worked to have the Mount opened to Jews today**.” (Emphasis added)
What is clear from Kalfan’s remarks and others, is that it was not a given that the Mount would be open to Jews for Yom Ha’atzmaut. It was necessary to apply pressure.
MK Nir Orbach (Yamina) said, “We have taken care of the opening of the Temple Mount tomorrow, the Independence Day of the State of Israel.”
All of this seems to suggest that some sort of concession on the matter had been made by Bennett and not honored when push came to shove.
It is my position that Bennett has maneuvered himself into an impossible place, for he cannot please everyone in his coalition.
I hope to have a good deal to say about this when next I write. There have been several rumors about the fact that the government is on the edge of collapse – this is not just from Ra’am.
And here I close. I am eager to get this news out quickly, and Shabbat preparations await me on Friday. More to follow after Shabbat.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.