Sunday, May 01, 2016

Har HaBayit: Giving a Tour - Mistaken as a Gentile and then recognized as a Jew. by Shalom Pollack


--- ENTER YOUR CONTENT HERE -I am often asked, what is my favorite place in Jerusalem?

Well, as a tour guide , I love sharing so many special places with my guests, but it  is the most "controversial" spot  that rivets my imagination , my soul and yearning..

If Jerusalem is our eternal capital and God's chosen home on earth, then the Temple Mount is the inner sanctum - literally

Yes, I know that today, the Israeli government, in it's weakness, is  colluding with  and appeasing our enemies to make  a Jewish  visit as unpleasant  as possible.

It is  just this  absurd,  shameful reality  that underlines just how special this spot  must be.
If we Jews don't get it  than our enemies certainly do...

 I had the honor of guiding a young gentleman who I would describe as a believing Christian and a great supporter of Israel.

He asked me to accompany him up to the Temple Mount among some other Jerusalem sites.
I told him, I would  be honored to do so but warned him  that if he  were associated with an identifiable Jew it may be a surprising experience. He  was willing to take the chance.

I first immersed myself in the mikva( ritual bath) and made sure to wear non leather shoes as prescribed by halacha ( Torah Law).

We proceeded to the long line waiting at the entrance to the mount. There was a large group of yeshiva students who were,  as usual, being  harassed and delayed for hours as the tourists flitted past them to the Mount.

They were suspect; They had to be severly warned not to even think about prayer. on the holiest site.  To see this process of intimidation  is painful.

 I decided  therefore to wear a cap and hide my kippa. This subterfuge worked and we three tourists  were smoothly admitted.

As we entered the mount I saw the usual scene; tourists, prowling, arrogant 'Wakf" Muslim officials - the ones who keep an eagle eye out for the stray Jew who may have slipped through the kapo selection.

We looked harmless enough  to the many peering eyes. I noticed  the large groups of Muslim women whose job is to accost any Jews who are "caught" looking Jewish. It was eery to be sure but it was not my first time there.

I was  able to show my guests where millions of Jews for centuries, packed the seventeen foot ball field size platform on the holidays. I showed him where the Levites  sang their praises to God and where the priests  brought the sacrifices and incense and bread  offerings.

I recounted the kings and prophets who stood where we were standing. I tried to  reconstruct the glory  of the place  where  all the Nations met  to  brought their offerings to the one true God and represented His eat on earth.

He got it. I caught the  tears welling up in his eyes.

 I turned to him and said,". Are you willing to be  associated with an identifiable Jew on this place?

 Are you ready for some action"? I took off my hat and disclosed my kippa. I let my fringes fly.  I was  no longer a Jew in hiding.

With in seconds they came to life. The women in black in their head to toe shock troop gear and the "Wakf", prowlers emerged from every corner and surrounded us.  A crescendo of "Allah hu Akbar" filled the air  and  walkie talkies began crackling;
 "Yahud! Yahud!"(Jew! Jew!)

My guest was visibly  shocked and frightened.. He grabbed my arm.

"You must leave the mountain. Your time is up" they shouted.
I said,"what time?" I pointed to other tourist leisurely walking near us.

One finally pointed his finger accusingly, "You are a Jew!."
 I admitted to the crime., "Yes".

 He was sure that  this admission of guilt  was enough to make us flee the m
I moved far too slowly for him and a large number of police (ninety percent of the police in the old City are Arabs)of ever higher ranks were called to the "scene of the crime."

 They physically nudged me on in the direction of the gate. I asked "what law did I break?" "Why are other tourists allowed... "?

One officer explained, "had you identified as a Jew from the beginning (and not get the better of their selection) they would have accompanied me "for my own safety" I said, "OK you may accompany me now for my safety. There are lots of you here".

They were  not amused.

 Ever increasing threatening signals were sent my way.

 At one point, an older Arab man with a huge  walking stick yelled at me "You are stupid"! I returned the compliment and he had murder in his eyes as he raised his weapon. A police officer addressed him with great deference and plead with him not to do what he obviously wanted to do to me.

Boy, if they could, they would!

We  were  expelled  from  our holiest  ground by threatening Muslims and  their Jewish police servants.

We  saw a group of yeshiva boys dancing and singing outside the gate after being allowed up for a five minute visit ( after waiting three hours). They  were  heavily accompanied by the police to make sure they do not provoke the Muslims by moving their lips in prayer. One student  was surrounded by high ranking officers as he attempted to drink from the public fountain. They suspected that he might make a blessing  before drinking and thus  cause a riot...

I joined these amazing young people in their dance and song as  Muslim curses rang in our  ears..

Turns out, one of the young men was badly hurt by an Arab on the mount. We saw him being accompanied to an ambulance with his arm in a sling.

 I asked him what happened?. He said an Arab began pushing him and he responded by pouring water on him. At that point the Arab threw him down and pummeled him while the police just looked on.
I have heard of these things happening but to interview the boy in the sling and hear his story ....what can I say?.

My guest certainly did not bargain for this education but he was very grateful and commented, "no one knows what is happening up there! Its unbelievable!

He also told me that he always wondered if he would ever in his life be in a position where he stood  unflinchingly with  good against evil

He thanked me for fulfilling that quest on that day.

All other amazing places in our beloved city  are in another league



Robin Ticker

Israel Advocacy Calendar (
Activist emails sent to my list  are L'Ilui Nishmat Yisrael ben David Aryeh ob"m (Izzy - Kaplan) and Howard Chaim Grief great activists and lovers of Eretz Yisroel, Am Yisroel and the Torah. Yehi Zichronum Baruch.  May their memories serve as a blessing. 

Most of these emails are posted on 

Personal emails to individuals will not be posted to my blog. 
Post a Comment