Everyone knows them: Metal Detectors are used everywhere. On every airport they are part of the security details. We all have experience with those „gates“. Often I had to take out my change because it was detected in my pockets where I forgot it. Thanks to the metal detectors I found my lost coins quite often.
Recently these „gates“ were installed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. No big deal one would think, as these detectors are part of the daily life. Even more when they were installed after a deadly terror attack was committed in which Muslims from the Temple Mount murdered 2 Israeli policemen. It was legal and reasonable to put these detectors art the entrance of the holy area. The only goal was to prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons to the Temple Mount. Long story short, the Muslim world started a wave of terror, incitement and violent „demonstrations“ against Israel because of the security updates.
The Mufti of Jerusalem even said, that if Muslims walk through the detectors, their prayers won’t be heard.
After few days of Muslim violence and threats of a new Intifada, Israel removed to metal detectors and announced other measures will be implemented to replace the metal detectors.
The question now is, was it wise to give in to the Muslim demands?
Many, especially in Europe see it as a diplomatically right move. But also many in Israel agree, that the removal was right.
Those who support the removal of the metal detectors have two main arguments:
- It is wise to give up on the detectors and stop the wave of violence and so saving lives which would have been lost otherwise. If the restoration of calm and some sort of coexistence means to sacrifice the metal detectors, so let it be. That’s the opinion of those who argue this way.
- Metal detectors don’t prevent terror. If the terrorists can’t smuggle the weapons to the temple mount, they will simply use them before entering the metal detectors.
I want to comment on #2 first: If this argument was right, then why do we put metal detectors before entering a plane? If terrorists want to kill, they can do it in the airport to the passengers who are waiting to check in.
The point is, while will never be able to stop terrorists from harming us, there are places where it is easier to fight them. On a plane up in the air it is much more difficult to fight a terrorist than in the airport. So is the temple mount a very crucial place and very symbolic, it gives terrorists much more attention and publicity.
Now let’s talk about argument #1. The argument, to save lives by being smart and giving in to the Muslim demands sounds very humane. Those who oppose that move apparently are in favor of sacrificing human lives over the metal detectors. That doesn’t sound morally right, does it?
But if we really care about saving as much innocent lives in the future as possible, we must oppose the removal of the detectors and the concessions to the always demanding Muslim streets.
With the removal we may indeed save a few lives because the rioters will pause for a moment. But their lesson is: if we riot and incite, Israel backs off. So in few days they will start the next attack, the next round of terror. Because they know it pays off for them. So giving in and removing the detectors will be less safe for the visitors on the Temple Mount and encourage the Muslim streets to continue with their terror on Jews and Israel in general.
The fear for a new wave of violence was the motivation for removing the metal detectors. As I pointed out, it won’t bring more safety and will even encourage more terror attacks as it obviously pays off.
But what would Ben Gurion have done in such a tense situation? Of course we will never know for sure, but we can analyze how he acted in the past and by that get an idea of what he might have done today if he would be PM.
On the eve of the declaration of the independence of Israel, the middle east was as hostile towards Jews as one even can imagine. It was no secret, that would Ben Gurion declare Israeli independence, the Arabs would go on war against the Jewish state. Many told Ben Gurion not to do that step. The consequences would be deadly. The Jewish people were outnumbered by the Arabs, it was obvious, that a war would cost unimaginable numbers of lives.
We all know what Ben Gurion and his followers did in May 1948: He declared Israel as independent! Against all odds. Against all common sense? Not at all. He thought in long terms. Yes, in the short-term many would fall in the war – but once the war would have been won, the Jews would have their own state, taking their destiny into their own hands.
Sometimes we have to go through a storm if we want to reach calmness. To avoid the storm will keep us living in constant small trouble which will turn into hell in the end, like it was in Europe in the years 1933-1945. Appeasement is a short-term solution. It never worked in the long-term.
If we apply the argument #1 to the time of Ben Gurion, he would have removed his plans for the declaration of independence for the sake of avoiding a war and taking a continuation of Jewish suffering and bleeding by racist rulers. Thank G-d Ben Gurion really wanted to save lives, not just a few, but as much as possible. And indeed he did, even more, I as a German was able to visit the only democracy in the middle east several times and I found friends there who live because of the wise and bold move of Ben Gurion. I respect the recent decisions by the Israeli government, I am sure they had a lot to consider. I just compared situations and arguments and wrote down my conclusions.
Love and support for Israel from Germany