Video has emerged (see above) that shows a candidate from the HaBayit HaYehudi party, or Jewish Home party, speaking to a church in Florida and contemplating what would happen if the Dome of the Rock was blown up in Jerusalem. The candidate is Jeremy Gimpel, an American-born Israeli.
+972 Magazine’s Noam Sheizaf posted the video yesterday after another Israeli journalist, Yehuda Nuriel, dug it up. Sheizaf writes: “Gimpel seems to want the Dome of the Rock to be blown up, making way for the third Jewish Temple. According to most recent polls, Gimpel is expected to enter the next Knesset.”
Gimpel was speaking to the Fellowship Church in Winter Springs, Florida. The church is a strongly Christian Zionist institution. “Our first steps in identifying with Israel included participation in cooperative, pro-Israel activities with the local Jewish community,” the church notes on their website.
I’ve transcribed the relevant portion of Gimpel’s speech; as he jokes about blowing up the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim holy site, you can hear the American crowd chuckle:
This is where it gets good. They lay the cornerstone of the temple in Jerusalem. You could imagine, imagine today, if the Dome, the Golden Dome–I’m being recorded so I can’t say blown up, but let’s say the Dome is blown up, right? And we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you imagine what it would, I mean, none of you would be here, you would all be like “I’m going to Israel,” right? No one would be here, it would be incredible.
And this was no anomaly. Sheizaf posts a second video today of Gimpel talking about why the Dome of the Rock “doesn’t belong where it is”:
Gimpel is no stranger to the mainstream Jewish community. He is a “scholar in residence” at Palm Beach Synagogue in Florida. An announcement for an event he did there shows up on the Jewish Federations of Palm Beach County website.
Sheizaf provides some context to Gimpel’s remarks:
Between the years 1982-1984, Israeli security services uncovered no less than three plans by Jewish extremists to blow up mosques on the Temple Mount. The most advanced was prepared by The Jewish Underground – a terror organization made up of settlers who were responsible for several murderous attacks on Palestinians across the West Bank. The Jewish Underground was caught in 1984 when its members attempted to place explosives under five Palestinian public buses in Jerusalem.
Gimpel is a member of the Jewish Home party, a right-wing party which has garnered tons of media attention in Israel and the U.S. Its leader is Naftali Bennett, an Israeli born to American parents. In a must-read post, The Palestine Center’s Yousef Munnayer summarizes the scary views of all the major Israeli candidates, including the Jewish Home party:
This coalition of parties bases its platform on strengthening the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, fighting those who wish to transform Israel into ‘a state of its citizens,’ while claiming to still uphold the rights of Israel’s minorities; desires to annex Area C and leave Areas A and B and Gaza under IDF control; will work towards complete separation between the West Bank and Gaza; will promote the settlement of all parts of the country, including the Golan Heights, making it a national priority; will work to incorporate Arab citizens in who recognize the Jewish State of Israel; and will enforce law and order in the Negev and Galilee to tackle Bedouin construction of homes while strengthening Jewish settlement construction in those regions. (Source)
1. Naftali Bennett
On the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea:
“There is not going to be a Palestinian state within the tiny land of Israel… It’s just not going to happen. A Palestinian state would be a disaster for the next 200 years.” (Source)
2. Uri Ariel (MK)
On the Levy Report which would effectively annex the West Bank:
“One of the most worthy and just reports ever penned.” (Source)
3. Nissan Slomiansky (MK)
On the prospect of a new city for Arab citizens of Israel in the Galilee:
“It’s outrageous that while the government freezes the construction in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem, and fails to approve any additional Jewish community, the interior minister approves the establishment of an Arab city in the north. Then we hear claims about the Arabs being discriminated against and about the Galilee having no Jews. This is an irrational move and it should never have been approved.” (Source)
There’s a lot more where those came from, and it’s not just limited to the Jewish Home party. Gimpel’s casual contemplation of blowing up the Dome of the Rock shows you just how far-right the Israeli discourse has become.