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Our response to the situation at the Kotel, then and now

הרב קוק נגד הפורעים

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.

The Mufti of Jerusalem has just accused the Jews of rioting at the Kotel and claimed that they were attempting to take over the Al-Aksa Mosque. This accusation did not only appear yesterday, but also at the time of the Arab riots at the Kotel in 5689 (1929). At that time, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook published an incisive response to the Mufti of his day, although it seems that it could have been written this morning:

"All of the civilized world knows that the Jews never stopped praying at the Western Wall. Everyone knows that the moniker of 'Wailing Wall' was given to it on account of the tears that Jews wept there for generation upon generation, in the midst of penetrating prayers of every heart and soul.

"The Mufti's claim that Arabs were threatened is false. There is no foundation to this. No Jews, even the young among them, ever threaten anyone. They only stand their ground to defend themselves and, especially, their elders, their women, and their weak when others converge on them. It is a vain and terrible slander to say that the Jews desecrate the holy places of the Muslims, something that has never entered their minds.

"Is this the strategy of those Muslims going to pray, to arm themselves with swords and knives? And who can fail to understand that the Arabs who carry these weapons do so for the sole purpose of committing murder. And how dreadful it is when they turn their prayers into a libel against Jews so that they can justify murder and the spilling of innocent blood.

"The truth is so obvious that a horrible injustice has been instigated by some Muslims through incitement against a quiet people that labors, body and soul, in the Holy Land.

"We hope that the tradition of peaceful co-existence, where all the residents of Eretz Yisral build together the beloved and neglected land, and transform it into the Garden of Eden it is meant to be - that this same holy tradition will prevail over the lying schemes and deception, the impurity and malice we have witnessed of late."



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