Israeli warplanes struck a convoy transporting surface-to-surface missiles from
Syria into Lebanon on Monday in an attempt to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining certain weapons, an anonymous Israeli security official reportedly told TIME Magazine on Tuesday.
On Monday night, Lebanese media reported that IAF jets had hit a Hezbollah target near the Lebanon-Syria border.
The unnamed senior security official hinted to TIME that the Lebanese, Shi'ite terrorist organization was capable of carrying warheads heavier and more dangerous than Hezbollah's reported stockpile currently pointed toward
Binyamin Netanyahu has failed to confirm or deny reports that Israel struck targets on the Syria-Lebanon border late Monday night, cryptically stating that Israel does everything in its power to defend its citizens.
While some Lebanese reports suggested the attack was carried out against a Hezbollah missile base, others stated that the target of the bombing sorties was a key stop on the route through which arms are smuggled between Lebanon and Syria.
The State of
Israel is pointless without the Temple Mount, MK Moshe Feiglin ( Likud Beytenu) said at the first-ever plenum discussion of Israeli sovereignty over the holy site on Tuesday.
The debate came on the same day as the latest in a series of rioting on the Mount in the past month, by Arabs who object to any Jewish presence on the holy site. Tuesday morning’s riot resulted in three arrests and two police officers lightly injured. Stun grenades were used to disperse the rioters.
The Likud Beytenu MK protested the limitations on Jewish worship on the Mount.
“Saying a chapter from
Psalms can get you arrested. Police recommend removing kippot.
I don’t know any other country in the world that tells Jews to take off their kippot, and here it’s happening in the heart of the capital of Israel.
“Without the Temple Mount, we have no home. Not in
Tel Aviv, not in Haifa, and not anywhere else. There is no purpose and no designation for our sovereign existence in the entire land. The time has come to stop the erosion of our sovereignty in the heart of Jerusalem,” he said.
“The Temple Mount is in our hands,” Feiglin said, quoting then IDF colonel
Motta Gur, whose paratroopers captured the Mount during the Six Day War. He added a reference to Herzl: “If we will it, it will not be just a dream.”
“The State of Israel is a powder keg in the
Middle East and we don’t pack our bags and leave,” Deputy Defense Minister Tzipi Hotovely said.
“There is no
Zionism without Zion,” she added. “There is no Jerusalem without the Temple Mount. The government must open visiting hours on the Mount. What are you afraid of?” MK Orit Struck ( Bayit Yehudi) said the Jewish people’s real home, the Temple of antiquity, was destroyed, and Israel is allowing that process to continue.
“[Muslims] play soccer on the Mount and have picnics and defecate there,” Struck lamented.
“When Jews in exile prayed for the return to Zion, I don’t think they prayed to return to Tel Aviv, and not to the
Knesset, either, but to the Temple Mount,” coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) quipped. “If we allow the situation to continue, we will fail in our mission of Jewish continuity.”
MKs on the Left, starting with Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On, said that the Temple Mount is a powder keg waiting to explode.
“No one doubts that Jews have the right to ascend the Temple Mount, but there is a difference between having a right and exercising it,” Gal- On stated. “[This discussion] is a provocation that has one goal: to blow up relations between Israel and the Muslim world and torpedo diplomatic negotiations.”
Gal-On said that Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu did not take part in the debate, because “the people initiating it want to endanger the State of Israel” – though Netanyahu usually does not come to the Knesset on Tuesdays.
Most motions to the agenda end with a message that MKs vote to approve or reject. However, the messages are sponsored by parties, not individuals, and Netanyahu and Feiglin had been unable to agree on one.
MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) quoted Netanyahu as saying in 1995 that “I think we should arrange for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, and I think we’ll be able to do it after we [the Likud] lead the country again.”
Moalem-Refaeli asked: “Mr. Prime Minister, you are already leading the country, so maybe the time has come to arrange for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount? I haven’t heard hypocrisy like MK Gal-On’s in a long time. She says she believes in freedom of worship, but only for Arabs. We Jews have no problem letting anyone who wants to pray there.”
Nachman Shai (Labor) pointed out that “just this morning there was rioting on the Temple Mount because of this unnecessary discussion. I understand the sentiment – everyone wants to go to the Temple Mount – but we have to recognize the facts.”
Eitan Cabel (Labor) praised UAL-Ta’al, Balad and Hadash’s decision to demonstratively walk out of the discussion.
He called the debate “an act.”
“Mr. Feiglin, why stop at the Temple Mount?” he asked. “If you’re the new
Messiah of our time, what about the covenant of the pieces [between God and Abraham]? What about the [land of] the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Menashe [to the east of the Jordan River]? Why are you leaving them out?” Shas MKs pointed out that the party’s deceased spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, had said that Jews are forbidden from ascending the Temple Mount.
At the same time, MK
David Azulay (Shas) said that Israel does have sovereignty over the Mount and should not let it be a place of lawlessness. The MK added that Netanyahu is tough only on haredim, but not on Arabs on the Temple Mount.
Following Tuesday morning’s latest violent episode on the Temple Mount, a cross-section of visitors to the
Kotelexpressed pronounced dismay regarding chronic Arab rioting over Jewish visitation rights at the Mount.
“This is the last remnant of the First and Second Temples, and all the Jews want to do is come here and have a connection with the Almighty,” said Alan Taylor, an Orthodox man visiting from
Britain. “They just want to pray, but Arabs have this fantasy that this somehow belongs to them. It’s clear in the Old Testament what the facts are, but they’ve been distorted and manipulated by the Muslim community.”