On a tour of the Muslim holy site, the Haram-al-Sharif, in the Old City of Jerusalem yesterday, a Colorado congressman’s wife advised messianic Jews that “seizure” of the site might be the best option. “Why not tomorrow– say it’s ours!” she said to zealots on the site.
Jean Tipton was touring the site along with her husband Scott Tipton, a Republican representing western Colorado, and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia and his wife Mary.
The Haram-al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary is the third holiest site in Islam. It is governed by a Muslim waqf, backed by Jordan. The site in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem is also revered by Jews because it is the site of the first and second Jewish temples. Its western wall is the famous scene of Jewish prayer.
Jewish Temple Mount activists dream of asserting Israeli sovereignty over the mount, removing the Muslim structures, and replacing them with a Jewish temple, with millions of Jews attending sacrifices there.
During the hour-long tour, posted to Facebook by a Jewish activist, Jean Tipton egged on two of the messianic Jews.
“So you would not be opposed to seizure?” she said to Rabbi Chaim Richman, of the Temple Mount Institute.
“I can’t say that because I would be in trouble,” Richman responded.
Avi Abelow, a Temple Mount activist and New Yorker who moved to Jerusalem, jumped in. “I can say it, what was the question?”
“You would not be opposed to seizure?” Tipton repeated.
“What do you mean?”
“Taking it back…. Just saying, ‘No, it’s ours. Always was. And it is again!'” Tipton went on.
Abelow said Tipton was “correct,” and that Jewish sovereignty would be fairer to Muslim worshipers than Muslim control of the site is to Jews.
Tipton persisted: “So– why not tomorrow say that, ‘It’s ours.'”
Abelow said that such plans are opposed on “a geopolitical level” and by “the current Israeli government,” which fears the consequences of seizing sovereignty of the site.
Tipton continued, “So you’re feeling that it will happen in God’s time. As opposed to man’s time.”
“I’m a believer that God works with man’s assistance,” Abelow said. He said he and Rabbi Richman and others are seeking to “generate the awareness necessary to prepare the Jewish people to be ready to then declare sovereignty and be the active partners with God to bringing about a better situation for all of us. Does that make sense?”
Tipton said, “Totally.”
Abelow offered Islamophobic commentary to the congressmen and their wives as the tour proceeded. For instance, he said that Muslims don’t consider the Dome of the Rock holy because they pray to Al-Aqsa mosque with “their backsides” pointing at the Dome of the Rock. “They claim it’s holy.” And he said that Muslims desecrate the site.
The two congressmen were briefly stopped by police at the end of the 55-minute tour, because one of them had bent to pick up a fallen branch from a tree, and it is forbidden to remove things from the site.
The lawmakers also met with West Bank settler activist Oded Revivi. Rep. McKinley praised Revivi, “This by far, of all the times I’ve been to Israel, this was the best meeting we’ve had. Because I think your candor, and you came down to practical ideas. That’s what I’m looking for. Too many times we come, people talk at 30,000 feet. I want to deal with more reality, what we have to do.”