Thursday, August 13, 2015

Members of Congress Harassed in Jerusalem

The US congressional delegation that was harassed.

Arabs harass US congressmen during visit to Temple Mount
- Lahav Harkov

A group of Muslim men harassed a delegation of US Congressmen visiting the Temple Mount on Tuesday.

“There was an effort to completely suppress not only any expression of religious conviction, but any articulation of historical reality,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona), co-chairman of the Israel Allies Foundation’s Congressional caucus recounted.

Franks, Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pennsylvania), Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-West Virginia) and his wife, Elizabeth Jenkins, are visiting Israel as part of a delegation organized by the Israel Allies Foundation, an umbrella group supporting 33 parliamentary caucuses around the world that mobilize political support for Israel based on Judeo-Christian values.

As part of the delegation’s trip to the Middle East, the group took a tour of the Temple Mount that was constantly interrupted by shouting, first by Arab men in the plaza and then by staff from the Wakf Islamic trust.

“We walked up there, and were almost immediately approached by several men who started shouting,” Rothfus said. “We were tracked the entire time we were there and found these individuals surprisingly intolerant and belligerent.” Police were needed to break up the melee and clear the way for the group to continue its visit.

For the rest of their visit to the Temple Mount, the group was followed around by a group of Muslim men.

E.J. Kimball, director of US operations for the Israel Allies Foundation, said the congressional delegation “wasn’t doing anything controversial, no one was even wearing a yarmulke. [The Muslims on the Mount] did a good job of making everyone feel very uncomfortable just for being up there as a non-Muslim.”

On their way out, the delegation saw a group of Jewish visitors being confronted by a Muslim group, who was crowding around them and shouting “allahu akbar.”

The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is known to pay thousands of shekels every month to Murbitat – meaning protectors of holy places – who harass non-Muslim visitors. The groups of Murbitat are often led by women dressed head-to-toe in black, with their faces covered.

“It was a place of great religious meaning to me as a Christian, a destination... that me and my wife were looking forward to,” Jenkins said. “And then to have the confrontation from the Muslims who yelled and shouted at us and my wife individually... To literally step on the Temple Mount and be confronted was certainly shocking.”

The congressman from West Virginia called the experience “unsettling.”

[Jerusalem Post]

Muslim Officials Harass US Congressmen - Sara Abramowicz

Dozens of Palestinian religious leaders, under the initiative of former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, issued a declaration last week stating that the Temple Mount is only holy to Muslims and that it is a “desecration” for Jews to enter the site.

A Christian tourist from France was assaulted by a mob on August 4 for waving an Israeli flag. There were also riots attacking Jews on Tisha b’Av, the day of mourning for the destruction of both Temples.
[United with Israel]

Congressmen: Egypt Opposes Iranian Nuclear Deal - Gil Hoffman

Egypt opposes the Iranian nuclear deal, a group of U.S. Congressmen led by Congressional Israel Allies Caucus chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who have been touring Israel and Egypt, said.

(Jerusalem Post)


Elderly Woman Struck by Muslim Woman on Temple Mount
- Daniel K. Eisenbud

In a video uploaded to YouTube, Brenda Rubin, who moved to Jerusalem from the U.S., describes being punched by a Muslim woman on the Temple Mount after being besieged by Muslims chanting of "Allah Akbar."

"That was my first time on the Mount and it was a very important thing for me, and this woman in black came in between our line and gave me a big punch under my rib on my side....And it was really painful just that somebody could feel that they could come and, using the name of their god, go ahead and hurt us." 
(Jerusalem Post)


John Vagabond said...

This made some noise in the Israeli Press. The comments made by the congressmen afterwards were, I think, remarkably restrained, given the degree to which they were abused.
I've been there myself, quite recently, and the level of intimidation for me wasn't particularly high - I kept to myself, displayed no overtly religious symbols ( the Magen David was under my shirt) but I found myself feeling as if I was trespassing on someone else's property, rather as if my ball had been kicked over the fence and I was going to retrieve it.
This deliberate sense of appropriation is, of course, orchestrated and managed; everybody knows that women are paid to harass people they simply don't like the look of, children make free with the al-Aqsa grounds as if it is a personal play park, but, curiously, there's no apparent reverence for the 'holy' sites from those who allegedly are most invested in ensuring that it remains in their grasp.

Bruce said...

Thank you for your poignant description. I have not been up to the Temple Mount since 1987. It felt very different from what you describe. What a difference 28 years can make.