Barring Jews from the Temple Mount Doesn’t Solve Anything

Non-Muslims will be refused entry into the Temple Mount until May 2, the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan. The Temple Mount is considered Judaism’s most holy site and Islam’s third-holiest. Jews have been prohibited from entering during the last few days of Ramadan in the past to ease tensions with Muslims at the site, but the near two-week ban is unusually long. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s decision follows attacks from the Palestinian terror group Hamas and threats from the Islamist Ra’am party in response to Jewish people visiting their own holy site.

This feels… problematic. Yes, this has happened before, but giving in to terrorists rarely works out. When people blackmail you and you give them what they demand, do they leave you alone? Not really. Usually they come back and ask for more since they know you’re willing to pay. This situation seems similar. 

Last year Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Jewish visitors from the Temple Mount at the end of Ramadan too. But this wasn’t enough. Though Jewish worshippers were absent, the Israeli police officers on duty were attacked by Palestinian worshippers throwing rocks and bottles. Days later, at least in a partially related development, Hamas launched rockets into Israel as the 10-day Operation Guardian of the Walls began, resulting in hundreds of deaths between the two sides, though most casualties were Palestinian fighters. Barring Jewish worshippers from the Temple Mount may appear to be a good-faith move, but historically it hasn’t stopped Palestinian attacks against Jewish people. It just encourages terrorists to demand more from Israel.

Maybe the Israeli government believes the bloodshed would be much worse if Jewish people were allowed their basic right to worship at their holy site. But the amount of violence that still breaks out there discredits the decision to reserve the site solely for Muslims. Denying Jewish people the right to worship at their own site in their own land leaves a bad taste in my mouth—and Jewish worshippers surely feel the same.