SLevinson at MAIL.LAW.UTEXAS.EDU
Tue Oct 17 12:56:32 PDT 2000
Michael Mcconnell asks:
>or custom did Ariel Sharon violate when he visited the Temple Mount? My
>impression had been that these sites are open and available to anyone, and
>that he did not enter into any mosque. What am I missing?
If Sharon were Orthodox, he would have violated a Jewish ban against
visiting the sight because of the risk of walking on the Holy of Holies
from the Temple. There is no other law or custom that is relevant. (I
have visited the Temple Mount and personally consider the Mosque of Omar
the most stunningly beautiful single building I've ever seen.) I think
that the honest answer with regard to Sharon has to do with who he is and
what the semiotic message was. He was not, to put it mildly, a "sincere"
tourist; he wanted to demonstrate, in as "in-your-face" way as possible,
the retention of Israeli sovereignty over the site. And Sharon, of course,
is no ordinary Israeli. He is (some would say rightly) regarded as the
butcher of Lebanon and the collaborator with the Sabra-Shatilla massacres
(though see the libel suit against Time for more details as to exactly what
he knew and when and he new it and what he did about it). This is, I
think, like William T. Sherman striding into the Richmond capitol in order
to demonstrate that, yes indeed, the North won the war.
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