Monday, November 19, 2007

Tears of a Mother

Moms throughout history have wept for their children. They can be tears of joy, sadness, or worry. Usually, they can bend a heart of stone. Moms also pray for their children. I know I do for my son. The Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Jewish are in effect our moms and dads of old. For thousands of years, they have taught us about human nature and have guided us to a closer relationship with HaShem. One of the most beloved Matriarchs is Rachel. Her tears are said to still cry for her children of Israel. There used to be a beautiful place to be able to go visit the Tomb of Rachel. The photo below shows what it looked like before it needed to be encased in a concrete bunker because of attacks by Palestinians on those who sought to visit Kever Rachel.

It is bad enough that Palestinians do not respect the holy sites of other religions. They desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and destroyed Joseph's tomb. The Waqf continues its destruction of the archaeological record of the Temple Mount.

Those were and are bad enough. But as with the Temple Mount, the Palestinians are making false claims of religious claims on Kever Rachel.

In 2000, after hundreds of years of recognizing the site as Rachel's Tomb, Muslims began calling it the "Bilal ibn Rabah mosque."20 Members of the Wakf used the name first in 1996, but it has since entered the national Palestinian discourse. Bilal ibn Rabah was an Ethiopian known in Islamic history as a slave who served in the house of the prophet Muhammad as the first muezzin (the individual who calls the faithful to prayer five times a day).21 When Muhammad died, ibn Rabah went to fight the Muslim wars in Syria, was killed in 642 CE, and buried in either Aleppo or Damascus.22 The Palestinian Authority claimed that according to Islamic tradition, it was Muslim conquerors who named the mosque erected at Rachel's Tomb after Bilal ibn Rabah.

The Palestinian claim ignored the fact that Ottoman firmans (mandates or decrees) gave Jews in the Land of Israel the right of access to the site at the beginning of the nineteenth century.23 The Palestinian claim even ignored accepted Muslim tradition, which admires Rachel and recognizes the site as her burial place. According to tradition, the name "Rachel" comes from the word "wander," because she died during one of her wanderings and was buried on the Bethlehem road.24 Her name is referred to in the Koran,25 and in other Muslim sources, Joseph is said to fall upon his mother Rachel's grave and cry bitterly as the caravan of his captors passes by.26 For hundreds of years, Muslim holy men (walis) were buried in tombs whose form was the same as Rachel's.

It seems the Palestinians are desperately trying to wipe out any and all Jewish ties to Israel. A leading "scholar" at Columbia, Nadia Abu El Haj, claims that all archaeology done by Israelis is political in nature and should be ignored because of some sort of "colonialism". Her critics have much to say:

...But politicization also derives from the impact of literary criticism and cultural studies upon anthropological method. Facts on the Ground is profoundly shaped by Edward Said's book Orientalism, which clearly rejects the idea of the objectivity of knowledge. Said's view is that science itself developed in the context of colonialism. By locating the scientific enterprise within the colonial, it becomes possible for writers like El-Haj to create labels such as "colonial science" that treat archeology in much the way old line-Marxists used the idea of "bourgeois science" to try to expunge Mendelian genetics from Soviet scientific thought. Like genetics, archeology is treated as suspect because it allegedly serves the interests of ruling groups.

It seems the Palestinians have no objectivity of knowledge and are politicizing Jewish holy sites in order to try to wipe away thousands of years of history. In Israel, Chrisitians, Bahists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others are all allowed to observe their religious practices without fear. In the areas controlled by the Palestinians, religious rights are not respected and Christians are being driven out. If ever tears of a mother are needed, it is now.

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