Cold Cream And Dreams: The Remarkable Story Of Helena Rubinstein By Saul Jay Singer and Jordan demands total control, reduced Jewish presence on Temple Mount and 15 Facts About Yekkes, the Jews of Germany By Menachem Posner and today is Pesach Sheni | The lessons of the Second Passover
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Today we celebrate Pesach Sheni (the Second Passover). The first Passover sacrifice was brought in Egypt in the year 2448 on the 14th of Nissan. The following year in 2449, the Jewish people were preparing to bring the Passover sacrifice while in the desert, but there was a group of Jewish people who were impure at that time and could not bring the Passover sacrifice. They approached Moses and asked, "Why should we be deprived and not be able to present G-d's offering in its time amongst the children of Israel?" (Numbers 9:6-7).
Moses answered them that he will ask G-d what to do. G-d answered that they could have a second chance to be able to bring the Passover sacrifice one month later, on the 14th of Iyar, and they would have a chance to eat it with matzah and bitter herbs, as it was done on the first Passover.
This mitzvah was not only for that year, but applies to all future years as well. Nowadays, even though we cannot bring the Passover offering, the custom is to still celebrate the Second Passover by eating matzah and by omitting the Tachnun prayer from the prayer services.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe discusses an important lesson we can learn from this. It is never too late to change, no matter the circumstances. Even if one was ritually impure, even when one's impurity was deliberate, it is always possible to put things right. The Jewish nation was told that they will always be given a second chance.
This concept is true in every aspect of our lives. One can always fix what he did wrong. Once a person resolves to change his habits through a growth mindset, he can change his past and head in a more positive direction towards a different outcome. The important thing to keep in mind is that G-d himself gives us the opportunity to grow and repent, always giving us a second chance.
An additional lesson is that the second Passover did not come as an idea from Moses, rather it came after the complaint from the impure Jews who were unable to bring the Passover sacrifice. They understood that their situation was not ideal, and they wanted to fix it. Because it was so important to them, they merited that their complaint was accepted and they were given the opportunity to fix it. We can see from this the greatness of every individual Jew and the power that he has.
Let us all take these lessons to heart. Our future is in our hands. Once we give ourselves the opportunity for growth, G-d will help us find a true and positive path.
Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum is the director of the Jewish Uniformed Service Association of Maryland-Chabad, a law enforcement chaplain and Jewish chaplain for Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
15 Facts About Yekkes, the Jews of Germany By Menachem Posner
Among the various ethnicities and cultures that make up Klal Yisrael, the entirety of the Jewish nation, a special place is occupied by Yekkes, Jews from Germany.
Punctilious and particular, the stereotypical Yekke is a creature of habit, reliable, devout, and exact. He or she is also skeptical and ambivalent toward vagaries or anything that cannot be quantified, qualified, and documented.
1. The Term Is Both Laudatory and Mildly Derogatory
The Internet abounds with theories regarding the term Yekke and how it came to refer to Jewish people of German extraction, some positing that it comes from the German word for "jacket," since German Jews tended to wear short suit jackets, not the long frocks of their Eastern European contemporaries. Whatever its source, the term is both a badge of pride and an expression of derision, which is used in a variety of ways: "That Yekke is amazing, never a single minute late!" but also, "That Yekke gets all bent out of shape when I'm even a single minute late!"
2. They Are the First Ashkenazimxtagstartz/h2> ""> alt="Rashi's Synagogue in Worms, Germany (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)" srcset="
A wimpel in the Jewish Museum, New York (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The Jews of Germany have their own unique customs, some of which are shared amongst all Yekkes, and some of which are particular to a specific region or city.
Some of the most noticeable synagogue customs are that boys begin wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) from a young age, and the wimpel—a Torah sash made to honor each child born into the congregation.
Another difference is that on Shabbat and holidays, they wash for bread before reciting Kiddush and then break bread immediately after partaking from the Kiddush wine.
4. Synagogue Tunes Are Very Exact
Synagogues following German rites have specific tunes unique to each holiday and even special Shabbats throughout the year. For example, on the Shabbat of Chanukah, Adon Olam is sung to the tune of Maoz Tzur, and on Passover, to the melody of Adir Hu (which is sung after the Seder).
Thus a Yekke can enter a synagogue any day of the year and, without even hearing what is said, can identify the (approximate) calendar date as well as where the congregation is up to in the service.
5. They Had Their Own Form of Yiddish
While Yiddish shares a common ancestor with modern German, it is, of course, a different language with many unique features. Traditionally German Jews spoke a unique dialect of "Yiddish Deutsch" (German Yiddish), which (quite understandably) was more similar to German than was its eastern counterpart, which evolved in a Slavic milieu and was thus less influenced by the German language.
As German Jews assimilated (to varying degrees) into the wider German culture in the 19th century, the language effectively became extinct.
6. Assimilation Hit Early and Hard
As the Enlightenment swept through Western Europe, the walls of the ghettos came crashing down. Sadly, some German Jews were enticed by promises of acceptance and acculturation and converted to Christianity. Others chose to "reform" Judaism into a bland set of limited and sanitized rituals, which they hoped would allow them to become palatable to their German neighbors without needing to officially renounce their Judaism.
7. Frankfort Was a Bastion of Orthodoxy
The Frankfurt Judengasse ("Jews' Street"), circa 1868 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Throughout Germany, there remained pockets of Jewish people who stayed faithful to the Judaism of their ancestors.1
This was particularly pronounced in Frankfurt, where a separate Orthodox community was formed in an event known as the austritt. With members who were learned in Torah and also well educated in secular matters, the community became a model for others to follow.
8. They Adopted Western Appearances
While Eastern European Jewish males tended to maintain a distinct form of dress, including long coats, black hats, beards etc., the typical Yekke was not externally distinguishable from his neighbors. The rare exception was the rabbi, who typically wore prominent payot and sometimes also a beard.
Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch (1808 – 1888) was the leader of Frankfurt Orthodoxy. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
9. Yekkes Have Their Own Hebrew Pronunciation
Four pronunciations of the cholam prevailed among pre-Holocaust Ashkenazic Jews: two in Eastern Europe and two in Western Europe.
Thus, the word cholam, for example, would be pronounced as choilam among Polish (and Austrian) Jews, chaylam among Lithuanian (and Russian) Jews, chaulam amongst northern Yekkes and cholam when pronounced by southern Yekkes.
It appears that German Jews also once differentiated between the aleph and ayin, and chet and chaf, but that seems to have fallen away by the 17th century.
10. They Referred to Prayer as Orenen
Influenced by Eastern European Yiddish, many American Jews use the word daven to refer to the act of prayer. Among Yekkes, the word oren was used, based on the Latin ora ("pray").
11. They Often Had Two Names
Many German Jews had two names, their Hebrew name and a corresponding German (Yiddish) name. While a Jewish boy received his Hebrew name at his brit milah (circumcision), among western Yekkes the secular name was given at a separate ceremony known as hollekreisch.
12. There Were Three Tiers of Rabbinic Ordination
Among Yekkes (and also Austrian Jews), a person who had studied in yeshivah and was capable of independent study was given the title chaver ("peer"), which was technically not ordination. An advanced scholar was known as a rav ("rabbi"). One who actually issued Torah guidance on a communal level was referred to as moreinu ("our master").
13. Yizkor Was Not Said on Holidaysxtagstartz/h2> ""> alt="Memorbuch of the Jewish Community of Frankfurt (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)" srcset="
Like Sephardim, Ashkenazim traditionally did not say Yizkor on Passover, Sukkot, and Shavuot (some congregations did say it on Yom Kippur) since the melancholy nature of remembering our departed loved ones would detract from the joyous holiday.
Instead, on two specific Shabbats during the year, they pulled out the memorbuch, which contained records of the community's loved ones going back centuries, and recited memorial prayers for them all.
14. Yekke Life Was Transferred to the New World
K'hal Adath Jeshurun is well established in Manhattan's Washington Heights (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
With the rise of Naziism, it became increasingly clear that there was little future for German Jewry. Many escaped to the US, Mandatory Palestine, and other places, replanting their uprooted communities in their new surroundings.
In time, many Yekke communities faded and the children and grandchildren of the original immigrants became one with the wider Jewish community. However, vibrant and distinct German-Jewish communities still remain, notably K'hal Adath Jeshurun in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, founded by transplants from Frankfurt, led by Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer (1883-1980).
15.There Is (New) Jewish Life in Germany
Public Chanukah Menorah at Chabad of Berlin, Germany.
Following the Holocaust and resettlement of the Jewish survivors, few Jews remained in Germany. In 1952, the Jewish population was reported to be just 10,000, a mix of native-born Yekkes and Jews from elsewhere in Europe who ended up in Germany at the war's conclusion and had not moved on.
Starting in the 1990s, German Jewish life flourished once again, as Jews from the USSR (as well as others) poured into the newly unified and prosperous country.
Today, there are more than 100,000 Jews in Germany, served by 35 Chabad emissary couples across 19 cities.2
Cold Cream And Dreams: The Remarkable Story Of Helena Rubinstein
Most of the great cosmetics pioneers of the 20th century were Jews, including Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Charles Revson, and Hazel Bishop, but the greatest of them all was arguably Helena Rubinstein (1870 – 1965), founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein, Inc. She virtually created the cosmetics industry through her brilliant innovations, including a waterproof mascara; medicated face creams; inaugurating the wildly popular "Day of Beauty" at her salons; marketing cosmetics in department stores; and developing the home demonstration sales technique, for which she trained salespeople to teach women about skin care. During WWI, she created the first school for beauticians, who earned a diploma after six months of study, thus inventing "beautician" as a profession.
A key figure in the development of contemporary taste and style, she almost single-handedly reinvented the modern idea of beauty and, by combining medical training, an inherited formula, and shrewd business sense, she established herself as one of the world's greatest entrepreneurs and one of its richest women. The first self-made American female multi-millionaire, the New York Times estimated her wealth after her death in 1965 at about $100 million (or over $800 million in today's dollars) with broad international holdings, including laboratories, factories, and salons in fourteen countries.
In 1910, she became the first person to categorize the skin types that are still used today: dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. She maintained a lifelong bitter rivalry with Elizabeth Arden, whose aesthetic and business practices conflicted with hers; while Arden considered her beauty products as upper-class elite status symbols, Rubinstein marketed to "everywoman;" always maintained her belief in beauty for the masses; and underscored the importance of beauty and independence for all women of all classes. The play War Paint – a really clever title – which won the Tony Award in 2017, depicts the decades-long vicious rivalry between these two leading beauty entrepreneurs.
Ever the showman, her mastery of the art of publicity included introducing a waterproof mascara at a water ballet performance at the 1939 World's Fair and launching what was arguably the first men's salon, which featured colognes and facials, with a ticker tape down Wall Street. However, although she anticipated the popularity of such services and products half a century before its burgeoning popularity in the 1990s, she was way ahead of her time and the venture was one of her few failures. Although best known for her beauty cosmetics and salons, she originated the "total" approach to beauty and was at the forefront of advocating a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, curtailing alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding overexposure to the sun, and devoting regular time to exercise.
Rubinstein was wholly non-observant, did not attend synagogue, generally sought to distance herself from her Jewish roots, and was known to make disparaging remarks about "Jewish taste." Nonetheless, although she had little interest in Judaism and did not generally support Jewish causes, she always self-identified as a Jew, was sensitive to antisemitism, and helped to get Polish Jews out of Europe during the Holocaust and gave them jobs at her salons.
A pioneering spirit herself, she strongly identified with the Israeli spirit. She met Ben Gurion and Golda, both of whom very much impressed her, and she was close to her niece living on a kibbutz; all these factors shaped her as an active Zionist who made significant contributions to the Jewish state. She founded and financed the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv (see exhibit), where her collection of miniature rooms is housed (and where, as part of a reciprocal deal, she opened a factory); created the Helena Rubinstein Foundation (1953), which funded organizations concerned with health, medical research and rehabilitation in the Jewish State; and supported the American Israel Cultural Foundation which awarded scholarships to Israelis. Even to date, Helena Rubinstein products remain atop virtually all Israel-hating boycott lists.
Rubinstein's immigrant background proved significant, as she allegedly started out in business with a product from the world of her European Jewish relatives. The oldest of eight daughters born to a strictly Orthodox family (and a cousin of noted Jewish philosopher Martin Buber), Chaja Rubinstein grew up in Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter in Krakow, where she attended the local Jewish school. She worked as a bookkeeper for her father, Naftali Hertz (Horace) Rubinstein, an unsuccessful wholesale food broker and, at his urging, studied medicine until he permitted her to quit because hospital odors sickened her. However, she was forced to leave home when Horace tried to force an arranged marriage upon his 18-year-old daughter to a 35-year-old wealthy Jewish widower. She brought home her own choice, a non-Jewish University of Cracow medical student, threatened to elope, and left for Australia, where she lived for a time with a maternal uncle.
According to Rubinstein's account – the entire story is likely fictional, as she changed it several times throughout her life – a primary impetus critical to her cosmetics career was the moisturizing cream that her mother obtained for the family's use. The principal story was that her family obtained it from a Dr. Jacob Lykusky, a Hungarian chemist who developed a face cream from ginger herbs in the Carpathian Mountains called Crème Valaze ("gift of heaven" in Hungarian), which was at once a soap, face powder, skin lotion, and hair tonic. Rubinstein says that she took twelve pots of Valaze with her, which quickly became popular in Australia's dry climate, where woman were largely unfamiliar with European skin care methods.
Another version of the narrative was that her mother, Gitel, had obtained Valaze from her friend, Polish actress Helena Modjeska, who had obtained it from Dr. Lykusky, and yet another account has Lykusky traveling to Australia and giving her his "recipe" so that she could manufacture it herself in her kitchen. According to many analysts, however, the truth is most likely that Rubinstein's cosmetics were all commercially manufactured in Melbourne by Felton, Grimwade & Co., a large chemical wholesale and manufacturing company – and, in fact, it was F. S. Grimwade who vouched for her on her application to become an Australian citizen in 1907 – and that Valaze was just a mixture of common garden raw materials and lanolin from sheep, which were abundant in Western Australia.
Unable to endure the frequent quarrels with her Australian uncle, she took off on her own, working first as a governess and then as a waitress before opening the Helena Rubinstein Beauty Salon in Melbourne (1902), where she not only marketed Valaze, but also provided consultations on skin care and beauty to women who were envious of her milky complexion, particularly when compared to their own skin roughened by dust and the harsh Australian sun. In the newspaper ad for Valaze ("The New Russian Skin Food") exhibited here, and in many others, Rubinstein claimed that it eradicates "freckles, wrinkles, sallowness, sunburn, blackheads, acne, pimples, roughness, and all blemishes and eruptions of the skin" and that it is "guaranteed to improve the worst skin in one month."
Rubinstein's success was such that she was able to bring two of her sisters to Australia to run the salons while she spent a year in Europe, where she studied with various experts about skin treatments, facial surgery, and good dietary practices. Upon her return from Europe, she brought new equipment with her that she used to promote new skin treatments, including a "roller massage" which, she claimed, was uniquely effective for at home face massages, and a "Massage Electro-Vibratoire," an electric massager which she hyped for body massage and for treating a variety of conditions, including circulation issues, sciatica, obesity, rheumatism, indigestion, lumbago, and fatigue. She also introduced a vacuum-suction treatment "to remove wrinkles" and a crème that, she claimed, prevents excessive perspiration on nights outdoors.
The vintage Hebrew advertising ad displayed here is an excellent example of Rubinstein's marketing her products by touting their medicinal value and health benefits:
. . . a woman can maintain her youthful appearance despite her passing years, which weaken the activity of skin tissue cells, by treating them regularly and in a systematic way . . . It is incumbent upon her to eliminate the deepening of the small wrinkles in the face lest they turn into larger wrinkles. She must guard the lines of her face so that it remains smooth and youthful . . .
If a woman is 30 or older, the rate of metabolism and regeneration slows down. Tissue and muscle wrinkles begin to exhibit signs of looseness. The skin now needs external factors to assist in its proper function. To eliminate the slowing down of tissue regeneration, one must add to their fundamental life and youthfulness.
Rubinstein met Arthur Ameisen, a Jewish American journalist who had changed his name to Edward William Titus, and they married in London. Titus, who took over marketing and publicity for Rubinstein's enterprises, played a key role in the expansion of her business in Australia and then to New Zealand (1906), London (1908) and Paris (1909). For many years, she had been looking to expand into the American market, advertising in the New York newspapers and Vogue and, with WWI raging in Europe, she fled for the safety of the Unites States in 1915 and launched her incredible fortune from the salon she opened in New York. When she sought to rent an apartment on Fifth Avenue in 1941 and was told that they didn't rent to Jews, she purchased the entire building.
A year later, she expanded to Philadelphia and San Francisco, followed by others in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Toronto. She expanded the reach of her products by permitting select department stores to stock them, while carefully maintaining her right to train salespeople and to monitor and inspect the stores. Her success and popularity grew to the point that she was invited to Hollywood to personally instruct stars such as Theda Bara and Pola Negri on the use of makeup.
When Titus, frustrated by her involvement in her business to the exclusion of family, threatened to leave her, she sold her entire business to Lehman Brothers in an effort to hold on to him, but the marriage nonetheless failed, mostly due to Titus' infidelities. With the new owners all but burning the monumentally successful business to the ground, she secretly began to buy company shares on the open market and, when the stock market crashed, she was able to repurchase the entire company on very favorable terms from a Lehman Brothers eager to dump the stock.
In the wake of the marketing of a coal tar-based eyelash dye (not Rubinstein's) that caused great damage and even blindness, Congress enacted the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 pursuant to which, among other things, false advertising by manufacturers was generally prohibited and, in particular, barred the use of names that implied that beauty products had any food or nutritional value. Consequently. Rubinstein ran into trouble with the FDA for two reasons: first, because her advertising claimed that her crème rebuilds skin cells and, second, because her original cream was called "Valaze Skin Food" (emphasis added). After remedying both violations, she continued her research on age retardants, which led to her "Ultrafeminine" becoming the first beauty product ever approved as a drug by the FDA.
In The Red Menace: How Lipstick Changed the Face of American History, Ilise S. Carter tells the intriguing story of Rubinstein's major contribution to the American war effort during WWII. Although the use of lipstick goes back at least to Colonial America – for example, Martha Washington was a great aficionado – many saw beauty aids as narcissistic and fatuous, including particularly the Church, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and several state legislatures that tried, but failed, to make its use illegal.
All that began to change with the rise in popularity of glamorous Hollywood movie stars and continued apace during the Great Depression, when women entering the workforce for the first time began to pay more attention to their public appearance. As Carter writes, lipstick took on new significance during WWII, when Hitler claimed that Aryan women, who were naturally beautiful, had no need of this artificial beauty aid which, in any event was the tool of degenerate societies and, worse, depraved Jews. At the same time, the Defense Department asked Rubinstein to develop a grooming program for women in the armed services, in response to which she worked with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and developed "Regimental Red," a clear and vibrant lipstick for use by military women that accented their uniforms.
Rubinstein argued that the use of lipstick played an important role not only for military women. who would draw confidence, hope, and courage from being attractive, but also to help American women maintain their femininity while working to support the American war effort and improve their emotional state while their men were away at war. The government obviously agreed; at a time when products and resources were carefully rationed, lipstick conspicuously was not. President Roosevelt personally thanked her, saying that "Your war effort . . . is to help keep up the morale of our women. And you are doing it splendidly," and she was invited to serve on many national committees, including the Committee to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
…In this December 8, 1941 correspondence on her personal letterhead to O'Connor & Farber – ironically written the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor –Rubinstein writes:
Please excuse my delay in replying to your letter of November 26 as I have been away from the city and have just returned to New York.
I deem it an honor to accept your invitation to join the honorary committee which is being formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
With my best wishes for the tremendous success of this significant undertaking, . .
Basil O'Connor, senior partner in the law firm O'Connor & Farber, was FDR's legal advisor and close friend who served as president of the March of Dimes for over three decades and as the director of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, an organization involved with the treatment and rehabilitation of polio victims. Special recognition of the Bill of Rights came on its 150th anniversary in 1941 when FDR proclaimed the first Bill of Rights Day and gave a radio address for the occasion. [Many people do not know that it was not until its 150th anniversary that the Bill of Rights was ratified by Connecticut, Georgia, and Massachusetts.] After WWII, Rubinstein turned to Europe and rebuilt her salons that had been destroyed by the Nazis.
Rubinstein's autobiography, My Life for Beauty (1966), was published posthumously. In 1973, Helena Rubinstein, Inc. was sold to Colgate-Palmolive and its subsequent purchase by L'Oréal created an international scandal because its founder, Eugene Schueller, was a Nazi collaborator during WWII; he was active in expropriating Jewish property in Paris during the Holocaust and he aggressively employed ex-Nazis evading justice after the war, including Jacques Correze, the president of U.S. L'Oréal.
Jordan demands total control, reduced Jewish presence on Temple Mount
Meanwhile, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed seeks "freedom of worship for members of all religions, as stipulated in the standardization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel," says policy expert Moshe Albo. "King Abdullah claims this violates the existing status quo and the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel."BY ISRAEL KASNETT
Palestinians wave flags and shout slogans as Muslim worshippers attend the last Friday prayers of the month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 29, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash
(April 29, 2022 / JNS) Jordan fears it is losing its recognized status as official custodian of Jerusalem's holy Muslim sites, including the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, as Palestinians incited by Hamas, other terror groups and the Palestinian Authority continuously held riots during the Muslim month of Ramadan. In at least one incident, rioters nearly set the Al-Aqsa mosque on fire. Jordan has blamed Israel for the violence and for violating the status quo there. And now, it is demanding total control over the Temple Mount, with worrying consequences. But experts say the story goes deeper.
Moshe Albo, a senior researcher in the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Reichman University in Herzliya (formerly the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), told JNS that in order to understand what's happening in Jerusalem, it's important to understand the broader context.
He explained that Jordan is currently experiencing "huge" domestic economic and political crises. With soaring energy and basic food prices, in addition to visible cracks within the royal family, Jordan's King Abdullah II is losing his image of stability.
The country is also worried that Hamas is replacing it as custodian and "gatekeeper" of the Temple Mount.
Responding to criticism that Israeli Police used heavy-handed tactics to quell Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount, earlier this week Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid accused Hamas of orchestrating the riots. At this point, Palestinian rioters seem to be listening to instructions from Hamas—not the Jordanian Waqf.
On top of that, Jordan is worried about Gulf states replacing it as the custodian of Jerusalem's holy Muslim sites.
Jordan did not participate in the recent "Negev Summit," and according to Albo, it sees the United Arab Emirates, the Saudis and Moroccans as contenders for custodianship over Al-Aqsa—a message that has recently been voiced a number of times.
On Friday, Israeli journalist Yoni Ben-Menachem tweeted that there is a "disagreement between the UAE and Jordan over the Temple Mount."
He wrote that the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, "demands that the status quo on the Temple Mount allow freedom of worship for members of all religions, as stipulated in the standardization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. King Abdullah opposes that and claims this violates the existing status quo and the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel."
That is a groundbreaking statement by an Arab leader to make, especially given the timing, and suggests regional elbowing for control of the Temple Mount.
According to Albo, the Jordanian reaction to what is taking place on the Temple Mount is a result of its desire to secure its responsibility over the mountain and to ensure that no other regional player replaces it as custodian.
"The Jordanians do not like the Gulf states talking about the mountain," said Albo, "but [Jordan] is hardly in a position to secure its position."
As part of its concern over losing control, Jordan reportedly submitted a letter to the Biden administration, demanding the Waqf (Muslim religious guards) be given total control over the Temple Mount. It wants to institute a dress code for non-Muslims, as well as limit visitors to groups no larger than five people. Jordan is also demanding that Israel Police no longer be allowed on the Temple Mount, even if rioters attack Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall or visitors to the site itself.
Its demands also include giving the Waqf the authority to severely restrict non-Muslim visits to the Temple Mount; requiring non-Muslims to apply to visit in writing in advance; and setting restrictive tour routes of no more than 500 feet (150 meters) in each direction for non-Muslim visitors.
Official welcoming ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, for King Abdullah II of Jordan, Feb. 11, 2020. Credit: Gevorg Ghazaryan/Shutterstock.
Netanyahu 'was only part of the problem'
Israeli media reported on Friday that Israel has so far rejected Jordan's demands.
According to Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Jordanian request "is almost certainly a non-starter."
He said Israel is not likely to change the status quo in the Old City, and Jordan's "aggressive push for more control could even spur tensions with Israel."
Schanzer noted that Amman's ties with Israel were expected to improve after the departure of longtime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who "was said to be the primary obstacle to warmer ties."
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz all made state visits to Jordan in recent months—a sign that Israel's ties with Jordan are strong and cooperation is at its highest level in years.
However, with this most recent flare-up in Israel-Jordan ties, Schanzer suggested that "it is clear now that [Netanyahu] was only part of the problem. The other problem appears to be Jordan's policy of siding with the Palestinians in just about every instance. This approach is not sustainable if the goal is to build stronger ties with Israel or to help guide the Palestinians toward reform and eventual statehood."
Albo also said he doesn't believe Israel will allow Jordan to expand the Waqf's responsibilities since it would change the existing status quo. It is this status quo that has everyone so agitated and on edge.
Jordan and the Palestinians insist on reinstituting the status quo as it was agreed upon before the year 2000 when non-Muslims required Waqf permission in advance to visit the Temple Mount. They maintain that the status quo has been violated since then.
Israel insists on maintaining the status quo after 2000, when non-Muslims were given freer access to visit—though not pray on—the Temple Mount without requiring Waqf permission.
According to Hillel Frisch, a professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and an expert on the Arab world at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, the Waqf in most Arab states "are Muslim Brotherhood adherents. They are co-opted by the state and closely monitored. Here, the situation is much more complicated and hence Jordanian custodianship much more problematic."
But it is not only the Waqf that is problematic. According to Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the P.A. also "played a major role in incitement to demonstrate on the Temple Mount, spreading fabricated claims that Israel is seeking to change the status quo there."
Israeli and Jordanian officials are expected to meet after Ramadan to discuss the Palestinian violence and a perceived change to the status quo there, but now Israeli officials say they are refusing to meet due to incendiary remarks made by Jordan's Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh.
At a parliament meeting last week, Khasawneh said, "I salute every Palestinian, and all the employees of the Jordanian Islamic Waqf, who proudly stand like minarets, hurling their stones in a volley of clay at the Zionist sympathizers defiling the Al-Aqsa mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government."
Israel said it will wait to meet with Jordanian representatives until after a number of dates that may see Palestinian incitement and rioting pass. Those dates include Israeli Independence Day (Yom Ha'aztmaut) on May 5, Nakba Day on May 15 and Jerusalem Day on May 29.
Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Qadr Night (Laylat al-Qadr) during the month of Ramadan in Jerusalem's Old City, April 27, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
'Palestinian terror groups inflaming the holy sites'
Meanwhile, King Abdullah is in Washington to discuss these issues with the Biden administration. His trip comes after P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas's visit to Jordan on Wednesday, where Abdullah reaffirmed Jordan's full support for the Palestinians.
The Biden administration, notably U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, has consistently called for "calm on both sides."
But Israel has pushed back against such unfair and inaccurate representations of the reality on the ground.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that this demand is "completely detached from reality. The very notion that mobs of violent rioters motivated by radical Islamic terror groups could be placed on the same moral scale as a law-abiding democracy making every effort to keep the peace is ludicrous."
He added that "the only ones breaking the status quo on the Temple Mount are the Palestinian terror groups inflaming the holy sites."
U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland agreed with Israel's version of events when he addressed the U.N. Security Council, saying "Palestinians threw stones, fireworks and other heavy objects toward Israeli security forces. … Following a standoff with those inside, Israeli police entered the mosque and arrested those barricaded inside."
It seems that Wennesland agrees that the idea that "both sides" are creating violence is nonsense.
Israel is consistently called on by the international community to protect freedom of worship at all holy sites. Yet Jordan, as well as the international community, has long insisted that Israeli authorities restrict Jewish freedom of worship on Judaism's holiest site in the name of maintaining the status quo.
According to Frisch, "just as no other country in the world compromises its sovereignty in its capital, so should Israel have maintained its sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the most important site in its capital [when it liberated it in 1967]. Conceding to Jordanian control over the Temple Mount, when the real powers behind the scenes are the P.A. and Hamas, has compromised this sovereignty evermore to the detriment of the security of Jerusalem's citizens, both Jews and Arabs."
He noted that "most Arabs want to pray in peace on the Temple Mount just like the Jews, but the Waqf, presumably under Jordanian control but in reality manned by Hamas adherents, turn the Temple Mount into an arena of increasing violence."
For its part, Israel has been working hard to control events on the ground as well as in diplomatic circles.
Israel's foreign ministry led significant efforts to influence the narrative in recent weeks amid the wave of terror attacks targeting Israelis and efforts by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other extremists to hijack the Al-Aqsa mosque in order to create an outbreak of violence in Jerusalem and from there, a violent conflict across the country.
Lapid held a briefing for the foreign press and the ministry to confront fake news meant to inflame tensions in real-time on social-media networks and in the media. The ministry also used its digital platforms to express Israel's desire to calm the situation in more than 50 languages to some 10 million followers. In Arabic alone, the ministry's social-media efforts reached 8 million viewers over the last two weeks, according to the foreign ministry.
Albo was optimistic. He said the big test will be after the Eid al-Fitr, a celebration that marks the end of the month-long Ramadan.
On Thursday, a reported 200,000 worshippers attended prayers on the Temple Mount for Qadr Night (Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic), a significant date on the Islamic calendar during the month of Ramadan. Friday drew huge numbers to the mount as well for the last Friday prayers of Ramadan.
"If these pass peacefully," he said, "then overall, the incitement did not succeed. If you look at the strategic picture, the world was focused on Ukraine and not focused on Jerusalem. The Palestinians did not succeed in transferring the events in Jerusalem to the whole Palestinian issue."
"Until now," he said, "Israel succeeded in maintaining stability."
See you tomorrow bli neder
Eat some Matzah today to commemorate Pasach Sheni. That's it its not hard. No cleaning the house and you can have Hamatz with the Matza!