“Three times a year all your males should appear before God, your God, in the place He will choose…and he shall not appear before God empty handed.” (Deuteronomy 17:17)
An Israeli teenager, frustrated by discrimination against Jews at the entrance to their holiest site, staged a one-man protest outside the Temple Mount Monday. The peaceful yet powerful incident was filmed by Shlomo Walfish, who regularly ascends the Temple Mount three times a year to commemorate the Biblical festivals.
Walfish told Breaking Israel News, “I try to pray on the Temple Mount each holiday as it says in the Bible and this time all the religious Jews had to wait almost two hours to ascend while loads of non-Jews were allowed to go in front of us. Finally, one teenager said, ‘enough is enough.’ He blocked the entrance with a bench and said, ‘If we can’t go, nobody can go.'”
Walfish captured the ensuing altercation on his phone, which shows the dramatic showdown between the Israeli police and the passionate teenager.
Blows were not exchanged, but police forcibly removed the boy from the scene and arrested him. As he was led away, the teenager asked the crowd how King David would feel about the fact that “when they built a Jewish state… Jews would not be allowed to enter the Temple Mount?”
“It is not logical that Jews can’t go up the Temple Mount, it’s a disgrace… it can’t pass in silence! …All I want is to go up to the Temple Mount…!” the boy exclaimed.
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The Temple Mount is the site upon which both the First and Second Temples stood, and is the focal point of prayer for Jews the world over. It is also holy to Muslims, who believe Mohammed traveled there from Mecca during the Night Journey. Today, the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, two Muslim shrines, sit atop the mountain. The Western Wall, one of the remaining retaining walls of the Second Temple, located closest to what was once the Holy of Holies in the Temple, lies below.
The Muslim Waqf, under Jordanian supervision, has maintained control over the contested site since Israel reunified the city of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. To reduce tensions, access to the site by non-Muslims is severely restricted, and despite rulings to the contrary, any non-Muslim form of worship, particularly Jewish worship, is prevented.
This is not the first time a minor has been arrested for the “crime” of wanting to visit or pray on the Temple Mount. About a year ago, a ten-year-old was stopped for prostrating himself during a group visit to the Temple Mount. His mother, a lawyer, intervened, and the two were allowed to leave without further restrictions.