Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Address at the Hall of the Nascent Sanhedrin

I was asked to address tomorrow night’s conference at the Hall of the Sanhedrin at Ohel Yitzchak in the Old City of Jerusalem on Torah as Governance, Authority, and the base for establishment of Sovereignty. As I cannot attend the event this time, I at least wanted to make this posting to the blog in an effort at being unselfish with any gift that HaShem-G-d blessed me with.  If any innovation was said here, it was HaShem who gave it to me. This is the text of the speech:

B'Ezras HaShem Yisborach, by the grace of G-d, may He be blessed.  In Memory of Howard Chaim ben Leah (Grief).

I am grateful for the invitation to speak to you today in the Hall of Nascent Sanhedrin.  It is an honor to be asked to speak in a place of Torah, before people of wisdom. I have been asked to address two matters in the span of ten minutes, my feelings about Howard Grief, and my perspective about the Har HaBayit, Temple Mount in International Law.

I was saddened at the news of International Law expert Howard Grief's passing. But more than sadness, I am concerned. Concerned that today's scholars will not be able to speak as strong and freely as Howard Grief did. He was polite, but never catered to political correctness over absolute truthful analysis of International Law about a region in which a clear declaration of the truth is just as important as its understanding.  We must learn from Howard to not allow distractions nor an air of political correctness in legal discourse of International Law and Israel to keep us from speaking the simple truth.

Howard brought to our attention the San Remo conference of 1920 and its profound effect on Israeli sovereignty to all of the Land West of the River Jordan.  In my effort to emulate him, I will need to use the rest of this time to discuss International Law.  But unlike Howard Grief, I did not spend 25 years writing a book before publishing my thoughts.  Instead I have posted them publicly on my blog, Jerusalem Defender, for the past several years, so that some aspect of peer review would occur.  I want to point out that what I am speaking of Torah scholars already know, the only innovation here is to emphasize its significance in International Law.

In Sefer Ezra, the book of Ezra, we find the world leading political power, the Persian-Median Empire’s recognition of Jewish rights to Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, including Yehuda veShomron, Judea and Samaria, and Har Habayis, the Temple Mount in particular.

In the Book of Ezra, chapter 4, which occurred some 2500 years ago, when the Jews were also returning to the Holy Land from an exile, the leading political power of the World at the time was the Persian-Median Empire. The Emperor Artachshast(a), in Aramaic – Artaxerxes, in English, converses with the leaders of the adversaries of the Jews in the Holy Land.  Both the jealous leaders of the Arabic areas of the Trans-Euphrates region of the Persian-Median Empire and the main political leader of the World in that age itself each refer to the land of Israel as territory that stretched out to the River, the Euphrates.  A Jewish Right of Return and legal authority of the Land of Israel was recognized by the International Community of that day.

The Persian-Median recognition of Jewish rights to Har Habayis (the Temple Mount) is also interesting to consider, despite the inconsistency in its history of applied sovereignty due to the Babylonian exile. From the Persian-Median perspective, however, it seems that this too was not an impediment upon viewing Israel's rights to include all the land which they had acquired under King David.

Thus there exists a profoundly deep historical reality of International Recognition of Jewish Rights to the
Land of Israel from ancient times and until today.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem 33 years ago. But even then the status of Israel's claims to the Temple Mount seemed on the surface to be in doubt, despite Jerusalem's reconquest, for in 1967, less than a month after it's capture, the keys to the Temple Mount were handed over to the Waqf. This was, however, a transfer of administrative control exclusively, but not of sovereignty.  The transfer was conducted by the defense minister, not by a head of state, to an Arab organization, not with a government.  Further, this took place prior to the Oslo Accords, and outside of them, yet no legally binding change to this administrative transfer has since occurred. The Clinton Parameters, the suggested split of Har HaBayit and the Western Wall, in the closing days of the Clinton Administration, were never accepted in a finalized peace deal.

East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were not legally acquired by Jordan during and due to their offensive attack in the War of Independence. Jordan never exercised sovereignty over the region, under International Law, merely military occupation. Nor was Israel's offer of Judea and Samaria to avoid conflict prior to the War of Independence accepted by the Arabs, and thus no revision of the Mandate for Palestine took place. 
Thus our political dilemma now has a religious question, not a legal one between states, and we need to know the extent, if any, of the legal authority of the Moslem Waqf on the
Temple Mount.

First of all, whenever there is a question of the rights of an organization, when in conflict with a government under International Law, the weight of the law sides with a State.

Religiously speaking, the
Temple Mount has been reserved for this time in history according to the Bible.  Before Islam was formed, it was already known and accepted that the location of the Temple Mount was reserved for the Third Temple.  The buildings currently on the Temple Mount do not change the fact that Jewish history predates Islamic history and the Jewish prophets are revered by the very text of the Islamic Faith itself.

Any demand or decree from the Waqf, then, would have no legal bearing or limitation upon the State of
Israel, should it decide to change the status of the Temple Mount at any time. The choice is Israel's alone to make.

Thus after all these years since Motta Gur's famous declaration, nothing has changed.  "Har HaBayit BeYadaynu!" ("The
Temple Mount is in Our Hands!")  We have G-d to thank for that. Perhaps it's time for our government to acknowledge this?

Would that our political policies reflected our religious responsibilities so that freedom of religion is at long last fully restored to the Jewish People, by rebuilding our
Holy Temple in its place, that very holy place as was chosen by Heaven itself.  May it soon be so, by the grace of G-d, B’Ezras HaShem Yisborach.

The flyer for the event at the Hall of the Nascent Sanhedrin.

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