Sunday, April 03, 2022

Itamar Ben-Gvir: A Danger to Our People

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir on Har HaBayis (VIN)
I have discussed my strong support for Israel many times. As recently as last Friday. I also expressed my disappointment with the Charedi world for their lack of support many times. But in this instance I agree with them. I am absolutely appalled at Kahanist MK, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s repeated antics that endanger the Jewish people. From VIN: 

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir ascended to Temple Mount Thursday as is his custom on every eve of Rosh Chodesh…  

(He was) sharply attacked in the Chareidi Yated Neeman newspaper, which criticized him for “transgressing a Kareis prohibition while endangering Jews” and labelled him a “nationalist who is trampling the sanctity of the mountain and could ignite the entire Middle East in a fiery vengeance.” 

Ben-Gvir is not the only one that goes up to Har HaBayis (Temple Mount). A lot of religious Zionist Jews do that. I get their motivation - which is 2 fold. The first one I can understand even though I disagree with it. Which is their sincere desire to come as close to the original site of the Beis HaMikdash as they possibly can.   

The problem with doing that is that it is forbidden to enter that site in a state of Tumah. Which in our day we all presumed to be in. Although there are certain areas that have been identified as not being part of the actual Beis HaMikdash, most Poskim have ruled that no one should go up there since they could easily enter the forbidden area unintentionally. Best not to go up there at all. I agree with that Psak.

Religious Zionist Poskim permit going up there as long as they are careful not to cross those lines.  So in a perfect world,  I have no issue with those who wish to follow those Poskim.

But then comes the other reason that motives many of them. I believe it is the primary motivation for people like Ben-Gvir. They want to show the Arabs who’s boss. They insist on asserting their right as Jews to go anywhere they choose in their own land – especially when it comes to the holiest of places. 

They insist on being ‘in your face’  about it to the Palestinians. And that is exactly what happens when Jews go up there. That’s because Muslims consider that one of heir holiest sites too and long ago built a mosque there for purposes of their own worship. Ben-Gvir’s intent is to get rid of them altogether – mosque included so that we can restore the Beis HaMikdash to its rightful place.

While the restoration of the Beis HaMikdash is what all religious Jews pray for, it is not something that can realistically be done for a variety of reasons. For one thing we have a tradition that the Bayis Shlishi (the 3rd and final Holy Temple) will be built by God Himself, not man. Secondly we couldn’t do anything with it anyway since we do  not currently have the means to spiritually purify ourselves and remove our state of Tumah.

The point being that Ben-Gvir could not care less about those ‘little’ details. He want the Arabs out of Israel. And he’s gong to do his level best to see that happen. Regardless of the consequences. And those consequences are not minor. 100 years of accumulated Arab hatred of Zionism and the Jewish people  – has resulted in thousands of Jews being slaughtered at the hands of their terrorists. We should not be feeding that anger by doing things that clearly incite them to even more violence. 

The claim by people like Ben-Gvir that they would attack us anyway even without direct provocation is no defense. While that may be true, it does that give anyone the right to incite them even more. And as member of the Keneset the provocation is even greater.

It is true that that Ben Gvir’s recent trip to Har Habayis ended without incident.  But there was no guarantee  of that. Past incitement of that sort ended up with a few dead Jews.  

There are some who might retort that the mere presence of Jews anywhere in Israel is a provocation and ask rhetorically whether we should leave Israel altogether and save lives.

To that I would answer that there is something the Rambam called the ‘Golden Mean’. Going to extremes in either direction is a bad idea. Jews have a right to live in the land God has given to them. Defending that right is what the IDF is all about. Arabs have gotten used to our 75 year presence in places like Tel Aviv – whether they like or not. No Arab has been expelled from those areas.

But trying to recreate the boundaries of old by intimidating  large swaths of indigenous Arabs in outlying areas before the advent of the messianic era is a fool’s errand that can end very badly for us – multiplying the chances of death and destruction exponentially

As it pertains to Har Habayis - even those that to go up there for purely spiritual reasons - it is not a good enough reason to do so. Perhaps they are careful and do not tread on those areas that are forbidden by Halalcha. But the fact that Jews could die because of that is reason enough not to go.

But Ben-Gvir is a Kahanist and will brook no compromise. For him asserting that right is far more important than the few Jews that might get killed because of it. I therefore completely agree with the Charedim and completely condemn his actions. Because indeed - (It) could ignite the entire Middle East in a fiery vengeance.”