While many upon reading the title to this posting will asume that I am talking about the religious freedom of Christians or Muslims, I am actually talking about Jews. A disgraceful story has emerged about a group of religious Jews who were denied access to the holiest place in the world for Jews. Apparently a group of Orthodox Jews visiting Israel from Los Angeles said Israeli police discriminated against them on religious grounds by preventing them from entering the Temple Mount last Sunday.
But police said the group failed to produce identification and were, therefore, not authorized to enter the Temple Mount area until they produced it.
A group of eight, all congregants of the Sha'arey Zedek Synagogue, San Fernando Valley's largest orthodox synagogue, who were in Israel for a Bar Mitzva, blamed the police for discrimination.
"About 30 seconds after we were detained a group of about 50 non-Jews were allowed to enter without ID," said Rabbi Aron Tendler, the rabbi of the synagogue.
"The policemen at the entrance to the Mount told us that gentile tourists are usually not required to show ID, only religious Jews."
A police spokesman rejected Tendler's accusation that police discriminated against the group because they were orthodox Jews, but admitted that police do conduct "selective" ID checks.
That last comment is perhaps the most telling. The police admit that they conduct checks selectively, no surprises for guessing who is on the receiving end of the selective profiling.
Jews have pitifully few holy places in the world, I would even posit to say that apart from graves the Temple Mount is the only holy place for Jews in the world. So for the Israeli police to bar religious Jews from visiting the most holy place for Jews, in the Jewish State is indeed troubling.