‘Conquerors of Jerusalem’: March celebrates Israeli occupation with messianic fervor

Israel/Palestine
and on 24 Comments

Update: This post has been changed to include an updated video that does not include the word Nakba in a chant by a group of young men in the Old City. The chant was the focus of dispute; and the authors of the post chose to revise it, a decision they explain here.

The Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City was cleared of its Palestinian inhabitants on the eve of the Ramadan holiday, June 5, to make way for a flag procession by Jewish religious nationalists, celebrating Israel conquering the eastern half of the city 49 years earlier.

Store owners, street merchants, and shoppers preparing for that evening’s celebratory feast were driven out of the lanes that fell along the route chosen by march organizers and approved by Israel’s Supreme Court. From a safe distance behind police barricades, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem watched silently as ultra-nationalist Jews paraded through the quarter, singing songs of praise to Yahweh and calling for the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews.

Almost all of the shops along the march route shuttered their doors, while some took the added measure of taping over their door locks, to prevent paraders from sabotaging them, a common occurrence in previous years.

Tens of thousands of Israelis took hours to stream through the monumental Damascus Gate and weave their way through the alleys of the Muslim Quarter, eventually reaching their final destination, the holy Western Wall plaza, where they were treated to musical performances and a series of speeches by top religious and political officials.

A determination to assert Jewish sovereignty in the Muslim-majority areas of Jerusalem’s Old City was not the only cause of concern for some marchers. Opposition to a government plan to partition the Western Wall into gender-segregated and gender-mixed prayer areas also occupied some of the paraders.

In recent weeks, pressure from Netanyahu’s Ultra-Orthodox coalition partners convinced him to renege on his prior commitment to support the construction of a mixed-gender prayer area at the southern stretch of the Western Wall. The flag march was an opportunity for conservative religious forces to reassert their adamant opposition to any concessions to liberal Jews at the holy site.

Some marchers wore stickers and held aloft flags that criticized the proposed plan for an egalitarian prayer space. The traditionalist campaign materials read: “You don’t divide a heart – You don’t compromise on the Kotel [Western Wall]”. At the end of the march, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch echoed these sentiments in a celebratory speech, claiming that the current layout of the site – gender-segregated according to Orthodox rules – should not be tampered with:

“May the call go out to all the Jews of the world, whoever and wherever they are: The Western Wall is a place that unifies and consolidates. It is forbidden to allow arguments to rip holes in the beating heart of the Jewish nation. Here we must act according the tradition of the House of Israel, the House of the father, the eternal tradition of Israel. At the Western Wall plaza, with God’s help, people will continue to pray next to one another, religious and non-religious, Jews and non-Jews. Because as it says, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer by all nations’ – because of unity, and because of Jewish tradition. From here we issue a call to leave the Western Wall as a unifier and a consolidator. We earned the kindness of God, in order to return here, for the sake of unity. Don’t ruin it!”

But Rabinovitch’s remarks were measured, bereft of some of the harsh language he has used in the past towards liberal Jews. One enthusiastic young parade participant sporting a gay pride sticker on her backpack was also spotted in the crowd. Her presence would seem to indicate that event organizers had sufficiently camouflaged their reactionary intentions, making the march more palatable to at least some liberal Zionists.

As Orly Noy reported last week in the liberal Israeli news site Local Call, there were concerted efforts to improve the optics of the march in the eyes of onlookers. Police reduced the size of the flagpoles they permitted to be carried into the Old City, confiscating planks that could be used to attack Palestinian people and property. Some Israeli youth sporting stickers calling to ethnically cleanse the country of Palestinians covered them up when they noticed they were being filmed.

But the theme of driving non-Jews out of Israel was not driven out of the march – it was only tamped down by authorities, in order to give the event a thin veneer of respectability. Stickers calling to expel Palestinians from the land reading, “There is no coexistence with them – Transfer Now!”, were freely distributed at the march by far-right activist Baruch Marzel. Jewish youth chanted “May your village burn!” as they marched towards the Old City.

By minimizing the most overt calls to kick Arabs out of the country, event planners managed to rebrand the country’s largest annual “Death to Arabs” rally as a family-friendly show of support for Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. Those that stand to gain from the mainstreaming of the march, however, are not only advocates of one apartheid state, or advocates of fast-track-ethnic-cleansing. Also hoping to gain from the march’s normalization are advocates of building a Jewish temple on the al-Aqsa compound.

Once considered a marginal movement of messianists, Jewish Temple advocates have made major inroads in recent years. More Israeli Jews than ever before are visiting the compound annually, and increasing numbers of Israeli legislators are voicing support for a change in the status quo of the site. A long list of government officials, both religious and secular, have called to officially sanction Jewish religious rituals on the mount. With Temple Movement leader Yehudah Glick entering the Knesset late last month as a member of the Likud list, efforts to apply Jewish sovereignty to the mosque compound are only expected to increase.

Some of the t-shirts worn by flag march participants calling for the elimination of the Dome ofa the Rock and the construction of a Jewish temple on the al-Aqsa compound

Some of the t-shirts worn by flag march participants calling for the elimination of the Dome of the Rock and the construction of a Jewish temple on the al-Aqsa compound

At the flag march itself, many of the participants wore T-shirts that prominently featured drawings of the Jewish Temple that messianists hope to build and T-shirts portraying the existing Islamic Dome of the Rock with calls for its elimination. At the massive celebration held in the Western Wall Plaza at the end of the march, one high profile Israeli official after another used the opportunity to call for the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies that call for a Jewish temple to be built where a mosque has stood for more than a thousand years.

Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall site for over two decades, told the crowd: “We ask to be worthy of complete redemption, to return to the Temple Mount, pure and holy.” Rabinovitch added: “We are now living in the prophecy, and praying for it to be complete.”

David Lau, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis, and the son of a former chief rabbi, said: “Already by next week, as we are graced with the Pentecost holiday, grace us with making a pilgrimage, as we were graced by your first steps to stand here, grace us by showing us the construction of the Temple and cheer us with its renovation, returner of priests to their [Temple] worship and Levites to their singing and music-making.”

Moshe Leon, Jerusalem city councillor, said: “Here, facing the site of the Temple, as we set our eyes towards the holy mount, we all pray for a full redemption, to the building of the Temple speedily, in our era.”

Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, said: “Between the river and the sea will only be the State of Israel. There are not two states west of the Jordan. And the Temple Mount is ours! And it is not to be divided, not with the waqf (Muslim religious authorities), and not with anyone else! Sovereignty is within the power of the State of Israel, it must use it and implement it all the way. We say to Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is time for sovereignty. It is time for sovereignty on the Temple Mount.”

Simon "Simcha" Falic addresses the crowd at the Western Wall plaza at Jerusalem Day festivities on June 5, 2016.

Simon “Simcha” Falic addresses the crowd at the Western Wall plaza at Jerusalem Day festivities on June 5, 2016.

The underlying ideology of the march was best exemplified by the only event speaker who is not a resident of Israel, but rather its primary patron, the United States: Simon Falic. Chair of a large chain of duty-free stores in the US, Simon “Simcha” Falic was honored with a slot on the program because his family is the top contributor to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which manages the Jewish holy site, under the auspices of the prime minister.

Last week, Ha’aretz investigative reporter Uri Blau revealed that the Jerusalem Day flag march is funded by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. In years past, Blau has also exposed that the Falic family is the top contributor to Netanyahu’s personal election campaign, and also the top contributor to Lehava, a violent Jewish Supremacist street gang that follows the teachings of far-right Rabbi Meir Kahane and attacks mixed Jewish-Arab couples. Lehava regalia and other Kahanist identifiers were spotted along the parade route and amongst the Western Wall revelers.

At the Western Wall celebration, Falic reassured the crowd that Israel’s 49-year military occupation of territories conquered in 1967 is morally justified. He also urged Israelis to visit Mount Zion in far greater numbers:

“Forty-nine years ago, the Israel Defense Forces conquered Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. We should be proud of it! There is no shame in it! Better to be conquerer than conquered. They say we have 70,000 participants here today. Next year: 170,000 are waiting for you. There are more devout friends waiting for you. Brothers, come, we need half a million people here.”

The directive to increase the number of Jews who visit the al-Aqsa mosque compound is a declared tactic of the Temple Movement. Vastly expanding the Jewish presence on the site is part of its strategy to create the political pressure necessary to force the Israeli government to alter the status quo of the site and permit augmented Jewish activity there.

Once exclusive control of the mount has been wrested from the hands of the Jordanian waqf, Jewish messianists hope to build a Yahwist temple on the site, replacing prayer with daily animal sacrifices and turning Israel’s somewhat-secular ethnocracy into a full-fledged Orthodox theocracy. Under religious rule, all non-Jews who refuse to sign a contract committing themselves to a special subset of Jewish laws reserved for gentile subjects would be deported or put to death.

By discouraging only the most overt manifestations of base racism while simultaneously infusing the event with ultra-nationalist sentiment and messianic fervor, organizers managed to frame the parade as moderate and mainstream, even though the march route dispossessed Palestinians temporarily and marchers openly voiced unbridled hopes of soon dispossessing them permanently.

About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

Other posts by .


About David Sheen

David Sheen is an independent journalist and film maker who lives in Dimona. His website is http://www.davidsheen.com/.

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24 Responses

  1. Another Dave
    June 16, 2016, 3:47 pm

    Whatever drug they’re smoking, I’m glad I don’t do it.

    If they’re not smoking hard drugs, they need serious psychological help.

    • Kay24
      June 16, 2016, 4:44 pm

      They certainly need serious psychological help. They seem fanatical, and it reminds me of a modern version of nazi youth marching. The mere fact that Palestinians had to close their shops and get out of the way of these arrogant zionists in the Arab part of Jerusalem, shows how dangerous they can be, and that apartheid is alive and well over there.

  2. Kay24
    June 16, 2016, 4:51 pm

    The war monger who brainwashes the people in his country, by consistently attacking and stealing from his neighbors, provoking them, and then crying victim, has been accused of deliberately hyping threats.

    “JERUSALEM — Israel’s popular former defense minister, who was shoved aside last month by his boss, warned on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a fearmonger who hypes threats against Israel to scare the populace and to stay in power.

    It was a blunt, even bitter, declaration of political war by Moshe Yaalon against his former governing partner Netanyahu, who the ex-defense minister accused of stoking ethnic and religious hatreds to cling to office.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/06/16/former-israeli-defense-minister-calls-netanyahu-a-fearmonger-who-hypes-threats/

    There you have it.

  3. johneill
    June 17, 2016, 1:28 am

    “Better to be conquerer than conquered,” is the absolute worst moral justification for anything. “We should be proud of it!”: as proud as Californians living on the potter’s fields of whole nations annihilated.

    Also, is there a source for these otherwise bizarrely outlandish claims? “Jewish messianists hope to build a Yahwist temple on the site, replacing prayer with daily animal sacrifices and turning Israel’s somewhat-secular ethnocracy into a full-fledged Orthodox theocracy. Under religious rule, all non-Jews who refuse to sign a contract committing themselves to a special subset of Jewish laws reserved for gentile subjects would be deported or put to death” I see the theocracy forming, but animal sacrifice? death to gentiles?

  4. Marnie
    June 17, 2016, 2:08 am

    “With Temple Movement leader Yehudah Glick entering the Knesset late last month as a member of the Likud list, efforts to apply Jewish sovereignty to the mosque compound are only expected to increase.”

    Jerusalem Post

    06/16/2016 22:45

    The right road to peace

    Any ambiguity or hesitance only perpetuates the delusion of the two-state solution, and encourages terrorists to try to impose this dangerous plan on us.
    Oslo Accords

    Thirty years ago the idea of “two states for two peoples” was advocated only by a very few in Israel. In fact only the Hadash Arab communist party dared to raise this idea in its platform. Senior figures in the Labor Party, and even political parties that were to its left, did not dare contemplate such an outlandish idea.

    In November 1993, during the drafting of the Oslo Accords, Shimon Peres found himself involved in a discussion in which he inadvertently said: “Eventually, a Palestinian state will be established.”

    In reply, member of Knesset Moshe Katsav demanded of him: “Do you support a Palestinian state?” To which Peres replied angrily: “Are you deaf? I’m telling you: A Palestinian state will not be established.

    What I said was that a Palestinian police force will.”

    After the signing of the agreement titled, “Gaza and Jericho First” in Cairo in 1994, Peres said in interviews that “this agreement is an agreement on Gaza and Jericho.

    As for what will come next – I am opposed to a separate Palestinian state. I’ve said so a thousand times, and I have not changed my mind.”

    How is it then that nowadays, even a prime minister from the rightist Likud party is touting this idea? As I understand it, this change in the public discourse occurred primarily as a result of a well-oiled propaganda campaign of the radical Left. Its method was simple – for many years any leftist who was interviewed by the media, no matter what the subject was, always made sure to begin his reply with something along the lines of: “Everyone knows that in the end there will be two states here, and that a Palestinian state will be established alongside Israel…” Slowly but surely, this supposed “fact” permeated the collective Israeli consciousness to the point that it came to dominate the public discourse as if it were an undeniable truth.

    Today, while nearly half a million Jews live in settlements throughout Judea and Samaria, and an additional million residents in Greater Jerusalem, it’s very hard to believe that anyone rational really thinks that a Palestinian state can be established here. Albeit, the Palestinians were given chances in the past to establish such a state – whether according to the 1947 Partition Plan proposed by the UN, or just a few years ago during the terms of Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert as prime minister.

    But now this option seems to be totally unrealistic, and therefore no longer on the table.

    This being said, it should now be clear to any reasonable person that in the future there will be only one state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River – the State of Israel, with Israeli law and Israeli sovereignty applied over all parts of Judea and Samaria.

    Since this is the case, now that we are entering the 50th year since the reunification of Jerusalem, it is high time to say so plainly and clearly, without stammering and most important – without continuing to delude the Arab population that one day they will have their own state.

    This statement should not put us into a state of euphoria; on the contrary, it should make us realize that we need to enter a period of preparation.

    Serious and appropriate preparation toward the implementation of Israeli law over Judea and Samaria.

    This means that the government would do well if it set up operational committees to implement the plan.

    Among other things, these committees should deal with the question of the Arab population.

    Our value-based aspiration – based primarily on the biblical Jewish values and the principles of Israel’s Declaration of Independence – must insist on unequivocal protection of human rights for all, without ignoring the security risks inherent to the region. We need to prepare the infrastructure for the naturalization of all residents, with the necessary conditions.

    For example, we must determine that in order to receive Israeli citizenship, one has to prove that for the past 10 years he did not belong to any type of terrorist organization.

    As a Jewish and democratic country that has enacted the Law of Return, according to which every Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel receives financial assistance in the form of an “absorption package” to help him through the transition period – so must we determine that all non-Jews living here who want to migrate to another country should receive governmental assistance to help them through their transition period.

    These of course are but a few of the many proposals that can be suggested, but first and foremost we need to make the right decision, state it unequivocally, and begin to implement it. Any ambiguity or hesitance only perpetuates the delusion of the two-state solution, and encourages the terrorists to try to impose this dangerous plan on us.” Yehudah Glick is a member of Knesset for the Likud.

    Read his brilliant plan regarding reverse law of return for Palestinians and the requirements for ‘naturalization’. Lower and lower we sink….

    • Another Dave
      June 18, 2016, 8:37 am

      “For example, we must determine that in order to receive Israeli citizenship, one has to prove that for the past 10 years he did not belong to any type of terrorist organization.”

      Did I read that right? To allow someone citizenship they’d be required to prove a negative? Seriously bad drugs there. :)

      Paying people to leave the country is better than taking their stuff and kicking them out, but I wonder if the money would be worth it. I couldn’t imagine taking money to leave my country. vov

      • Marnie
        June 19, 2016, 12:16 am

        Yes you read it right.

        “I couldn’t imagine taking money to leave my country.” I don’t think millions of Palestinians feel any different than you.

  5. Eva Smagacz
    June 17, 2016, 5:17 am

    I wonder what will happen if one day they will decide that Jews used to live in Lithuania and in Poland, and in Spain for that matter.
    Well, they lived there for hundreds of years and these are also the land of the old …….

    I already read that Israel is overcrowded, so maybe return to Egypt and Babylonia?

    If you think I am joking, think again – there is NO limit to fervent patriot-nationalistic hysteria

    • yonah fredman
      June 17, 2016, 5:35 am

      Eva- the upshot: Helen thomas: go back to where you came from. Eva- not so fast.

      • eljay
        June 17, 2016, 8:02 am

        || yonah fredman: Eva- the upshot: Helen thomas: go back to where you came from. Eva- not so fast. ||

        yonah- the upshot: Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

        Zio-supremacist pyromanics like y.f. enjoy setting fire to international laws and the very ideas of justice, accountability and equality. But when the winds shift – as they inevitably will do – non-Zionist Jews are liable also to get burned. For some reason, this doesn’t seem to bother Zio-supremacists in the least.

        Why do Zio-supremacists hate Jews so much?!

    • Eva Smagacz
      June 17, 2016, 9:40 am

      Yonah:
      “Eva- the upshot: Helen thomas: go back to where you came from”
      You wilfully misconstrued my comment.
      What is stopping Zionists from creating new territorial demands based on their history and the bible? Why be satisfied with little, overcrowded Israel?
      Babylonian lands? Tick
      Yemen? Tick
      Lithuania? Tick
      Spain? Tick
      Et cetera, et cetera

      Give Israeli population enoug of Kahane treatment and we can look forward to Nakbas in other places.

  6. Ossinev
    June 17, 2016, 2:35 pm

    Always interesting to have a live study of modern Neanderthals. The only thing missing in the show was live sacrifice and goblets of blood on altars. These particular Chosen Neanderthals apparently have an aversion to Western Europe and Western Europeans so unlikely to visit our shores – what a relief.

    Hopefully a few generations of interbreeding will do the trick.

  7. Boomer
    June 18, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Thanks for this report. “The handwriting is on the wall” for Palestinians, as Daniel might say. I didn’t recall learning about this in the MSM that I follow, so I checked Google News for other reports. As I expected, most were from publications based in Israel or aimed at Jewish readers, but I did find a report in WaPo, which I had overlooked, that was better than I expected:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israeli-jews-march-in-jerusalems-muslim-quarter-on-eve-of-ramadan/2016/06/05/2989b100-2b2e-11e6-b9d5-3c3063f8332c_story.html

  8. Talkback
    June 19, 2016, 5:39 am

    Israel has truly become a safe heaven for Jews who commit or want to commit atrocities against Gentiles.

    • Mooser
      June 21, 2016, 6:19 am

      “Israel has truly become a safe heaven for Jews who commit or want to commit atrocities against Gentiles.”

      I’m not going to draw that conclusion. I’ve heard this video is a fabrication.

      • Talkback
        June 24, 2016, 9:18 am

        Not all the video. And the video is not all of it.

  9. Ossinev
    June 19, 2016, 12:29 pm

    This march is eerily similar to “traditional” Protestant /Orange/Loyalist marches in Northern Ireland where a bunches of QuasiNazi thugs are allowed to parade past or through Catholic Nationalist areas with heavy police presence simply so that they can “assert” their “traditional” racial superiority and control of their “homeland”. In fact the extreme Loyalists have in recent years taken to “identifying” with Zionists flying JSILi flags partly in response to Nationalists identifying with Palestinians and flying Palestinian flags.

    Sounds as if the Yahoo and Co should actively be recruiting these fellow travellers to the cause and perhaps offering some variation on the”birthright” tours as an inducement.

    Only fly in the ointment is that there is a strong tradition of SS standard anti – Semitic views and behaviour within the extreme Loyalist community which has always identified with pro- Nazi groups in the UK and Europe.

    Still JSIL needs all the friends it can get and any port in a storm etc.

    • amigo
      June 19, 2016, 6:41 pm

      “This march is eerily similar to “traditional” Protestant /Orange/Loyalist marches in Northern Ireland where a bunches of QuasiNazi thugs are allowed to parade past or through Catholic Nationalist areas with heavy police presence simply so that they can “assert” their “traditional” racial superiority and control of their “homeland”. In fact the extreme Loyalists have in recent years taken to “identifying” with Zionists “0ssinev.

      Yes indeed.Remember the venerable (rabbi ) Paisley who claimed Northern Ireland to be a “Protestant country for a Protestant People”.It wasn,t quite the “Nation State of the Protestant people” but the mindset mirrored that of his Zionist fellow travellers.His dream is dead as will that of the zios some day.

      There is some interesting reading on the subject at the following link when you have some spare time.

      http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/06/08/unionism-and-israel-holy-land-is-not-a-hotter-version-of-ulster/comment-page-1/

      • eljay
        June 19, 2016, 7:23 pm

        || amigo: … Remember the venerable (rabbi ) Paisley who claimed Northern Ireland to be a “Protestant country for a Protestant People”. … His dream is dead as will that of the zios some day. ||

        Supremacist Thousand Year States never seem to live up to the hype… :-(

  10. Talkback
    June 21, 2016, 5:14 am

    ‘Worship God By Nakba’ it’s a fabrication:

    “The teens in the video (10:15) are actually shouting “Worship God with rabak,” (עבדו את השם בראבק) a slang word that roughly means “great enthusiasm.” It is a take on Psalm 100:2, “Worship God with joy; come before Him with exultation,” which the teens are seen singing immediately afterward.”
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-dynamic-duo-of-duplicity-hits-jerusalem/

    What are the reasons for this unnecessary fabrication? It plays right into their hands and helps not only undermining the authors, but also Mondoweiss.

    • Shmuel
      June 21, 2016, 5:58 am

      Talkback,

      I doubt that Sheen and Cohen “fabricated” the incorrect translations in their video. More likely they were sloppy or overconfident of their own level of Hebrew comprehension. Definitely not good for them or for Mondoweiss, but not quite as bad as outright fabrication. Either way, Mondoweiss should double-check their material in the future.

    • David Gerald Fincham
      June 22, 2016, 1:21 pm

      Talkback and Shmuel – click on the link ‘a decision they explain here’ below the first video screen above – it explains how they heard the word ‘Nakba’ and why they changed it to ‘unclear’ when others heard ‘rabak’.

  11. Mooser
    June 24, 2016, 8:42 pm

    “Conquerors of Jerusalem” !!! That is so cool! They have got to add that to the Israeli flag, like a battle-honor. There’s plenty of room.
    Can you imagine how that “Conquerors of Jerusalem” would have impressed folks back in the Middle Ages?

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