Well that was interesting. I’m the guy in the blue jeans and brown shirt who kind of looks like me.
I woke up this morning at 4:45 to go to the Mikveh and then to Har Habayit with Moshe Feiglin. He stayed in Jerusalem apparently so I drove there myself for the first time though I’ve gone with Moshe several times before, and parked on Derech Hevron because looking for a parking spot in or around the Old City scares me. When I got there at 7:30 it took about half an hour for the police to let us in. Then we had the “No praying no bowing no kneeling no singing, no religious activity” thing and the customary full body search for any religious articles including a complete emptying of the contents of my wallet just like my two year old Daffy does when I leave it within her reach. In case there is religious contraband tucked away in one of the pockets or folds of my wallet.
We get up there, me in my Vibram 5-fingers, others in flip-flops, Feiglin in socks because he intends to go right up to Kipat HaSelah, Dome of the Rock so he can’t have any shoes on at all. I was intending to go one step closer than I usually go, but I’m not ready to go up to the Dome yet, and Moshe asked us politely not to anyway, and to leave the דין כיבוש stuff to him, no problem with that.
We get to the gate and immediately we hear in the background some Alla-hu Akbars. They are faint and I don’t mind them. I know they mean to insult me and intimidate me, but I can’t but wholeheartedly agree with them. God is great. Thank you Arabs for noticing, and for timing your chants with the entrance of God’s representatives here, us. So I can’t but feel flattered.
As we continue on, the chants get louder and more Arabs begin to congregate around us, fine, no problem. Nobody has violated the non aggression principle yet. Everyone has a right to chant God is Great at me as much as they want. I keep smiling and walking slowly. Heavily armed police surround us.
Non Jewish tourists, mostly Jesus-worshipers, stare at us and wonder why we are the focus of all the Akbars. Two old ladies from the Jesus group join us, apparently from Australia. They want to be part of the excitement, apparently.
And then the trigger. The Waqf guy sent each time to oversee that we don’t do anything religious is standing in front of us. Then Moshe goes up to one of the police guys and tells him that it was agreed with the higherups in the police department that at least for part of the time, the Waqf guy would not be our escort. So, to the police guy’s credit, he starts to escort the Waqf guy away from us. A scuffle ensues, and the Waqf guy is removed.
And then the chants get really loud and the number of screaming Arabs multiplies to hundreds, possibly over a 1000, but I’d have to see an aerial picture.
The news says that “a couple of young Arabs began screaming” but that is quite far from what was happening. Arabs of all ages began converging on us, men, women, a few kids, young and old alike, כל העם מקצה as they say in Sodom. מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים.
They start getting closer, and I start feeling a bit smushed. My heart rate only now begins to jump up a bit. Just a bit. Police are on all sides of us pushing away Arabs jumping in our direction.
The old Jesus ladies try to calm us down and say, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Lord!” One Lord for every two Jesuses. The Jesus-thanking is not helping me slow my heart rate, and I really feel caught between Esav and Yishmael now, though Yishmael wants to kill me and Esav just wants me to thank Jesus. I just want to daven, but the Jewish policemen for sure are not going to be happy about that, and they’re busy at the moment pushing away rioters so I’d rather not give them a hard time.
The police turn us around about 1/5th into our circuit. We’re headed back. Michael Puah has the camera, telling everyone to calmly smile, and Moshe is in the middle walking calmly as he always does. As we head back, I see one rock the size of a grapefruit fly above me and land about 10 feet behind me. So I stop looking at Feiglin in favor of keeping my eyes out for any rocks headed toward my skull.
I didn’t see any others.
One of the Jesus ladies asks me what group this is. I say it’s Feiglin’s group. She says who? I say Moshe Feiglin. Sudden recognition and excitement on her face. “Oh, Moshe Feiglin?! Where is he? Can I shake his hand?!”
“Sure,” I say. “He’s over there, in the suit.” She rushes up to him and shakes his hand.
“We’re with you,” she says to Moshe, “the nations are with you. We’re from Australia. Thank you Jesus!” Moshe shakes her hand and smiles back at her.
We get off Har Habayit. Then a Mahane Yehuda-looking Jew sees Feiglin and immediately insists on a picture with him.
“אני לא תומך בך” he says. “I am not one of your supporters,” “אבל אתה בוודאי תהיה ראש הממשלה הבא”. “But you will definitely be the next prime minister.”
He takes a picture, still holding his cigarette, with Moshe. We disperse.
The police now have two choices for next month. Ban Moshe Feiglin from Har Habayit, or ban Arabs from Har Habayit while Moshe is there. Let’s see what they do.
The worst part about the whole experience was not the Arab rioters. Rioting is what they’re good at and it doesn’t disappoint me. It was not the rocks, as I can easily dodge them. And it was not the fact that the rioters were not expelled from Har Habayit instead of us, who were being peaceful. I expect nothing from the police, and the fact that they prevented Arabs from physically attacking us (rocks aside) is more than I expected. Good for them.
No, the worst part was as I was driving away I hear on the news that “Knesset Member and Vice Knesset Chairman Moshe Feiglin was removed from Har Habayit today along with a group of right wing activists after rioters began shouting at them and throwing rocks.”
They had the chutzpa to call ME a “RIGHT WING ACTIVIST?!”
Check in next month for more “Adventures with Yishmael on Har Habayit!”