Pity the Children: The Fight over the Temple Mount Crosses a Line

A Muslim mob heckles a group of Jews ascending the Temple Mount, as the struggle to affirm or deny the Jewish Right to visit the holy site escalates.

A terrifying development at Judaism’s holiest site: Last Tuesday (22.4), a group of Haredi Jews, including men and children, prepared to ascend the Temple Mount after Passover • There they were met with a torrent of verbal abuse and intimidation which quickly escalated to throwing chairs, shoving and pulling • Just another case of Israeli authorities failing to assert Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount and protecting the Jewish right to visit their holiest site • While the world media ignores the event, Arabs hail it as a great “victory”

משכו בפיאות של אחד הילדים; רגעי התקיפה. צילום: נחמיה אלבוים
Crossing the line: Pulling the children’s sidecurls. Photo: Israel Fertig


“Hundreds of Arabs gathered around us, up close and personal. They started touching and pushing. The whole time I held my boy, only 20 months old, in my left hand and in my right hand I held the camera. Later I learned at the same time they also pulled one of the kids’ sidecurls.” Thus Israel Fertig, one of the four adults who accompanied a group of Jewish children to the Temple Mount last Tuesday (22.4).

The event took place right after Passover, when a group of sixty Haredi Jews, men and children, went up to the Temple Mount. Like every Jew who visits the holy site, they too had to come within a small timeframe allowed by the police and squeeze their way through in a cramped line at the entrance. But this discomfort was nothing compared to what awaited them once they got through.

“At the entrance to the Mount the police divided the group in two. The first group composed of four adults and sixteen children. For some reason, the police thought it would be easier to protect kids,” Fertig explained. “We go up to the Temple Mount, and already at the entrance we start to feel that there are too many Arabs. Although we were protected by some 10-15 police officers in all directions, in a few seconds 3 Arab women showed up and started shouting ‘Get out of here! Get out of here!’ and also spat in our direction.”

Every Jew who goes up to the Mount is familiar with this treatment: small Arab groups are spread throughout the site, and the second a Jew enters they begin screaming “Tachbir”, “Allah Akbar” without any provocation from the former. But this time, it didn’t end with the shouting. When the group reached the square near the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque, a few dozen meters from the entry to the Mount, the physical violence began including throwing shoes and parts of chairs, pushing and spitting.

While the shouting went on, the police officers were “hovering,” according to Fertig. “They didn’t really get what was going on around us. We told one of the officers to push back [the crowd], the shouting pressured the kids, but the officer did so very casually.” According to him, even though the event started to escalate and chairs started to fly, they still had to openly alert the officers, “we told them: ‘Look, he’s lifting a chair! Or ‘He has a stick, take it from him!’. The officers didn’t get that these are small children, and that any stone, the smallest one, thrown in our direction could cause great harm.”

The drama went on, with every second feeling like an hour, as the group made its way across the Mount. “After we passed al-Aqsa the officers got a hold of themselves. You can even see in the video I took that one of them is yelling ‘make sure that they’re all here, protect your children.’ An Arab could have taken our kids and we would have only found out afterwards. Only at the end did the police understand that there’s a problem, it was clear that the force [around us] was strengthened, which started to be more assertive towards the Arabs.”

Eventually the police managed to move the Arab crowd away, and the group exited the Mount. The second group which still waited at the bottom, received word that they were barred from ascending, but since they insisted, two minutes before closing off the mount to Jewish visitors, the police allowed them a very brief stroll – in the entrance and out the Chain Gate.

As Fertig described and as is clear from his video, those responsible for setting off the spark and pouring fuel to the flames was a group of Arab women. According to Yehuda Glick, a Temple Mount activist, who was recently barred from the Temple Mount after being attacked by a group of Arabs himself, says this is a known phenomenon: “When it comes to the Arabs on the Temple Mount, when they limit the age of entry, it’s usually men from age 50 and up, but women of all ages are allowed in, there’s almost no limitations on women.” Why women? “First, the Arabs know that the police won’t touch them. But more than that: they pay them to incite. Even the police publicly admitted this, when it arrested their handlers, Sheikh Raad Saleh’s guys from the Northern Branch of the Islamic movement. [The women] sit there only during Jews’ visiting hours, and after that they pack up and leave.”

Defeating the “Radical Zionists”

While the world media is largely silent on this event, the Arabs are exultant at their success in “expelling” the Jews from the mount. Throughout the Arab media and internet, similar videos have become widespread. These videos celebrate “the moments of the exit of the extremist group, and their rout as they are disappointed,” as one video stated in its heading. This terminology says a lot about how they view the struggle for access to the Mount: the violent crowd “won” by defeating “the extremist group” and the “settlers”.

As far as the Arabs are concerned, this is not some local affair. For them, this is an important battle on a national level, the purpose of which is the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of Israel and the destruction of the “Zionist enemy.” In such a struggle, all bets are off and everyone is a legitimate target – even small children.

English translation by Avi Woolf.

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1 comments on the article

  1. al Aqsa should be leveled and Muslims prohibited from entry for eternity.