Back to blogging. Things are heating up. You may have heard that the Knesset will be debating the issue of Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount this Tuesday. I’ll be going. I don’t really like the term “Jewish Sovereignty” because it’s an Orwellian term. It really means that the agents of the State of Israel will control what goes on at the Temple Mount, instead of what the situation is now, which is that the Jordanian state decides it.
If we are to stick to strict libertarian theory as to what should be done with Mount Moriah, the answer is give it to the nearest Kohen Meyuchas, or ancestor of a Kohen that can actually trace his lineage to someone who served in the temple 1944 years ago before it was destroyed. They are the last ones to have owned the place rightfully, so gather them all together (and there are a few of them around) and give private ownership of Har Habayit to them by shares of stock in it and let them decide what to do with it. The Arabs can take what’s on the surface and get off, or stay on, if that’s what the majority of Kohanim Meyuchasim decide.
But I digress. This won’t happen. So the next best thing is to give it to some State of Israel official who is something of a next of kin, since we’re at least related to the Kohanim. And this just came one step closer to happening 2 weeks ago. It was quite poetic actually.
How it happened
The status of Har Habayit has never come up in the Knesset. Ever. This is the first time since the destruction of the Temple that a Jewish authority will even discuss it. So how did it happen?
The Knesset has its own weird parliamentary rules. Moshe Feiglin brought up the motion to discuss the status of Har Habayit with the goal of having the Knesset pass a resolution to allow Jews to enter the compound from all gates and to pray there. The status quo currently is that Jews can only come through one gate, between 7am and 10pm only on certain days in very small groups, must be surrounded by police at all times, cannot carry any “contraband” including religious articles to the site, move their lips in prayer, bow, look at the Waqf the wrong way, or steal the Dome of the Rock.
The weird parliamentary rules are these: Once Feiglin brought up the motion, the Speaker can either deny a vote, at which point the motion goes to committee, or call a vote. If the vote passes, the discussion will happen. If the vote fails, the discussion will not happen. (A “discussion” is basically when Knesset Members are invited to the podium to bloviate. The only one who ever actually says anything of substance is Moshe.) So basically the speaker can either deny a vote and let the fate of the motion be decided in committee, or he can roll the dice with an immediate vote which will decide the fate of the motion immediately.
The Speaker at the time was the loveable Ahmed Tibi, the loud-mouthed Arab gynecologist and envy of all sewer rats. In the plenum at the time were Tibi, Feiglin, Amir “Unionize this Mustache” Peretz and Yisrael Eichler the Haredi guy. Tibi figured the numbers were on his side. He’d vote against a discussion of Jewish Sovereignty on Holy Al Aqsa, Peretz would too because he’s a lefty, Eichler would too because he’s Haredi and thinks Jews going up to Har Habayit is like Nadav and Avihu offering up Esh Zarah and holy fire will descend from heaven, so he thought it’d be 3 to 1 against and the whole issue would die right there.
But Tibi tracht und God blacht. Tibi called the vote. Tibi votes no. Feiglin votes yes. So far it’s tied.
It goes to Mustache Peretz…and he isn’t even paying attention. No vote.
So it all comes down to Eichler. He looks at Moshe and Tibi, and decides, to hell with holy fire, let the Jews discuss it, and he’d rather be on Moshe’s side on this one than Tibi. He votes yes.
And suddenly, for the first time in one thousand nine hundred and forty-four years, the Jews will discuss their own sovereignty on Har Habayit this Tuesday.
If we take a step back, this is a structurally flawless mircocosm of what’s going on now in Jewish history. The Jewish ideologue proposes a vote to bring geulah one step closer. The Arab, thinking he will win, puts all his cards on the table and forces the other two Jews – the secular socialist and the haredi socialist, to make a decision. The secular socialist is asleep at the wheel. And the haredi tips the scales.
And God takes a small bow, making sure only the astute even notice the divine choreography at play here.
Let’s see what happens on Tuesday.