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On the revelations of his ignominious offer to Abbas, Olmert said he had offered not only the Temple Mount, but the Western Wall, as well.

Technically, the places would be placed under an international trusteeship with a Muslim majority. No doubt, the Israeli government will eventually agree to similar terms.

The transfer would end a political aberration in which a defeatist, socialist state controls Jewish religious symbols. In 1967, Israel’s socialist rulers did not even plan to annex Jerusalem, despite their staggering military successes on the opening day of the war, and despite heavy shelling from Jordan-occupied Jerusalem. It was only by chance that history went otherwise: PM Levi Eshkol, desperate to cede responsibility for the expected defeat or Pyrrhic victory, invited Menahem Begin to join the government, the first time Labor had ever allowed the opposition in. Begin pounded on all doors and forced Eshkol and Moshe Dayan to liberate Jerusalem just before the UNSC forced us to accept a crippling armistice.

It was not for nothing that Rambam argued against rabbis taking the post of Exilarch—or any state office, for that matter. Secularism is the only way to keep religion independent from taxpayers.

And so the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel commented on the fake IDF conversions. According to Rabbi Amar, the military rabbis acted in cooperation with rabbinical authorities—which is true—and the IDF converts sometimes married halachically—which is also true.

Though rabbi Amar stopped short of outright confirming the fake conversions, he is widely criticized in the ultra-Orthodox community for his conformism.

September 2010
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