Highway 1: Obama Traffic Jam Begins
by Gil Ronen
The disturbances in Israel’s road traffic because of President Barack Obama’s visit are to begin around noontime Tuesday.
Highway 1, from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem, will be intermittently blocked to traffic starting at around noontime, because of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival.
On Wednesday, traffic disruptions are expected from the morning hours on Highway 1, from Jerusalem toward Ben Gurion Airport. Highway 1 will be closed off to vehicular traffic from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem starting at 1:15 p.m. for about one hour.
On Friday, the highway will be closed from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport in the morning hours.
The following roads in Jerusalem will be closed off to traffic and parking throughout Obama’s visit, from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon:
Hamelech David from the Meches Junction to Gan Hapaamon; Emil Botha; Mapu; Lincoln; Washington toward David Hamelech.
Parking will be allowed for residents only, upon presentation of ID card with attachment, on Emil Botha and Admoni streets, through Shama (for Emil Botha) and Washington (for Admoni).
The light train will work throughout the visit except for the limited times during which the motorcade will be travelling next to the tracks or crossing them.
Public transport will be disrupted citywide. For information, dial *8787. On municipal issues, dial 106.
On Thursday, Highway 60 will be closed off intermittently between Hizme Checkpoint and Ofra Junction. The road will be “sterile” when the motorcade passes through it and no vehicles will be allowed d on it, ambulances included. Emergency evacuations will be carried out by helicopter.
Bet El, Adam, Psagot, Kochav Yaakov / Tel Tzion, Migron and Shaar Binyamin will be closed and no one will be allowed in or out of them.
Hours of traffic blockage in the Binyamin region Thursday:
08:15, routes sealed.
09:30 Traffic renewed.
09:30 – 15:00 Free traffic.
15:15 Routes blocked.
16:30 Free traffic renewed.
The police have opened a public service hotline for information on traffic disruptions during the Obama visit at 1-700-553-100.
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Temple Mount Closed Off after Feiglin Visit
By Gil Ronenirst
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) explained on his Facebook page Monday why he asked to enter the Dome of the Rock, which is located atop the spot where the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple stood.
Entry into the actual area where the Jewish Temple stood is strictly forbidden by all major streams in Judaism, and this is doubly true as regards the area of the Holy of Holies.
MK Feiglin explained, however, that in attempting to enter the Dome of the Rock, he is relying on statements by Rabbi Shlomo Goren Z”l, who was the Chief Rabbi of the IDF and Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi.
“In the introduction to his book, ‘The Temple Mount,’ Rabbi Goren ztz”l wrote: ‘There is no doubt that in a case such as this, when there is a danger of a takeover by foreigners of Har Hamoriah [the Temple Mount], it is permitted even to enter the zone of the Azara [which includes the Temple building itself and the place of the altar], so as not to give them a foothold on the Mount of G-d, because the ascent of Jews to the Mount in this situation is considered an act of conquest and prevention of a foreign takeover of [the Mount].”
“From the moment I became a Knesset Member – in other words, a representative of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel – I felt that this statement by Rabbi Goren obligates me to enter any place on the Temple Mount. This morning, I did so, and I had no idea how right I was. It turns out that the Dome of the Rock (which is not a mosque), was blocked to the entry of Jews and tourists about two years ago.
“‘Only Muslims may enter,’ the Waqf man told me when I politely asked to enter. I explained to the police officer who showed up at the spot that according to law, an MK’s entry into a location may not be impeded, and this is certainly true of a place to which other citizens may enter. The officer’s answer was amazing: ‘The place belongs to the Muslim Waqf.’ It turns out that the heart of hearts of the Land of Israel, the place of the Holy of Holies, has been handed over de facto to Muslim sovereignty – for the simple reason that no Jewish foot has stepped there because of its sanctity.”
“It is important to stress,” MK Feiglin added, “that I am not calling on Jews to begin making pilgrimage to the location of the Temple itself. There is a difference between me as an MK and the general public. But what has become clear, based upon what happened this morning, is that there is a clear admission of the loss of Jewish sovereignty on the Mount, and we must all begin to ‘use our feet’ in order to change the situation.”
OA ‘Compelled to Speak Up’ About Disturbing Obama Itinerary
by Rachel Hirshfeld
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed dismay regarding President Barack Obama’s decision not to address the Knesset as part of his visit to Israel, as well as the exclusion of the Ariel University students from the list of invitees to the presidential speech in Jerusalem’s convention center, even as all of Israel’s other universities were included.
Director of the organization’s Israel branch, Jeff Daube, wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro concerning the affront to both institutions, saying he feels “compelled to speak up about [the] two unsettling aspects of President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel.”
“MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud Beteinu) sent me the letter she wrote to President Obama, together with MK Avraham Wortzman (Bayit Yehudi), asking him to reconsider and speak at ‘the official parliament of the State of Israel, which is seated in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish nation,’” Daube wrote. “After all, the MKs stated, the Knesset is the institution most identified with Israeli statehood and democracy, representing ‘all of our country’s citizens – Jews, Arabs, Druze, Christians and Muslims alike.’”
“Knesset members also have shared with me their concerns about the President’s support for a new Palestinian entity that is sure to end up a failed state at best, but more likely an existential threat to the peace-loving peoples of the roiling Middle East,” Daube wrote. “Incontrovertible examples of PA anti-Israel incitement to this day, and the PA’s de facto partnership with Hamas, whose intention to destroy Israel has never abated, give Israel’s leadership much to worry about. Thus, they were hoping to hear about the President’s intentions for his Ramallah visit, and that he will insist the PA distance itself from all anti-Israel rhetoric and liaisons.
“As for the other matter: the reported decision to exclude the Ariel University students from the President’s scheduled Binyanei Hauma address. My organization is in complete agreement with the many pundits and leaders who have emphatically objected: for example, MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi), who pointed to the inconsistency in the President’s decision to avoid the Knesset supposedly because that would be too political, while making at the same time a blatant political decision concerning one of Israel’s most highly regarded educational institutions; and MK Nachman Shai (Labor) who said, ‘It is shocking to think you can disqualify students just because they learn in the West Bank. I do not understand how President Obama wants to conduct a dialogue with the Israeli public when he is consciously excluding part of it,’” Daube wrote.
The ZOA’s National President Morton Klein recently said that, “Quite apart from the fact that one of the best ways to address the Israeli public is to deliver a televised speech to its democratically elected representatives in the Knesset, there is something deeply divisive and politicized in President Obama’s decision to exclude from his audience Jewish and Arab students from Ariel University.”
“On behalf of those of us who celebrate inclusiveness, including the ZOA’s very substantial following in the U.S. and the tens of thousands of Americans residing and working in Israel, I hope these Ariel students, Jews and Arabs together, indeed will be permitted to join President Obama on March 21 for his Jerusalem address,” Daube continued. “We would love to point to this as a shining example of how the values of coexistence and tolerance might animate future negotiations.”
Copies of the letter were sent to MK Reuven Rivlin, who had invited President Obama to address his colleagues when he was the Speaker of the Knesset in the former government; MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home); MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud Beteinu); MK Nachman Shai (Labor); MK Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home); and Professor Yehuda Danon, President of Ariel University.