Wiesenthal Center Condemns the World Council of Churches Demand for a Return to the “Status Quo” on the Temple Mount

July 21, 2017

Rather than decry the desecration of both human life and a holy site by jihadi murderers, the World Council of Churches (WCC) joined the chorus of voices in the Muslim world up in arms because Israel has introduced metal detectors to increase security for Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The terrorists had brought their weapons to the Temple Mount, stored them there, and then charged out of a mosque, killing the policemen whose job it was to protect the Muslim worshippers inside. “Keeping the historical status quo and supporting equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews at these holy sites is vitally important to maintaining peace and de-escalating violence,” said Father Ioan Sauca, the WCC’s deputy secretary general.

“The response by the WCC is perfectly consistent with the WCC’s decades-long animus against the Jewish State,” observed Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of the Center and its Director of Global Social Action. “In the years prior to the 1967 war, Jordan administered Jerusalem’s holy sites, desecrated every synagogue in the Old City, and barred Jews entirely from the Western Wall. The WCC never, ever protested. Yet they are prepared today to work in the name of the ‘status quo’ against the installation of metal detectors, delighting jihadist groups who dream of igniting regional or global war by suicide attacks launched from Al-Aqsa,” he continued.

“The installation of metal detectors is taken for granted at the Vatican, at government offices, at every airport around the globe,” added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs. “They were first made necessary when Palestinians internationalized terrorism decades ago.”

“If the WCC’s call to maintain the ‘status quo’, i.e. free access without metal detectors, is heeded, it will be complicit in the shedding of blood in the future,” Rabbis Cooper and Adlerstein added. “If the WCC is truly interested in protecting the rights of all the prayers, they should denounce extremist protests and threats made against Istanbul's leading synagogue, which has suffered two previous terrorist attacks."

“In 2017, Palestinian murderous terrorism is incited by religious leaders justifying the cold blooded murder of Israeli Policemen and 3 members of a Jewish family in their home on a Sabbath evening,” the Rabbis said. “What will it take for groups like the World Council of Churches to finally hold Palestinian leadership accountable for such outrages?” they concluded.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).