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High On The Har Featured in Times Of Israel

The following is adapted from a speech delivered by the author at the 2023 Temple Mount Jerusalem Conference, hosted at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Watch the full speech below.

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered what many historians and scholars consider to be the most important, defining, and critical speeches in American – if not human – history. His remarks, listened to on the radio waves across the world, laid out a clear and concise vision for the future, a simple but sound framework applicable to all mankind, a set of universal beliefs upon which civilization could not only survive… but thrive. “In the future days, which we seek to make secure,” FDR began, “we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

“The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world…

“The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world…

“The third is freedom from want…”

“The fourth is freedom from fear…”

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”

Indeed, FDR not only saw clearly what the future could be, but also what we must demand it should be. In essence, FDR reminded us that freedom was inviolable, indispensable, and imperative. That men and women must be free; free to speak his or her mind, free to honor his or her faith, and to be free from wanting to do so, or worse, fearing to do so.

It was this vision, and his unfailing belief in freedom, that led the allies to victory, built the modern international system, toppled the Soviet Union and ensured democracy – the only form of government in which freedom can be secured – would spread across the world. Freedom is the foundation upon which the legitimacy of our national and international laws rely; it is the fundamental prerequisite for any civilized society. And there is no doubt that the world, by any measure or metric, is far more free today than at any other time in human history.

But in reality, the fight for freedom has not yet been won.

Because to celebrate freedom, when the Temple Mount is held captive by rioters, criminals, and terrorists – aided and abetted by the Israeli government, which refuses to demand from them what they demand from the Jewish people – feels foolish, futile, and feckless.

I am not a victim of oppression, but a survivor of it. One of the countless foot soldiers fighting against the authoritarian policies which deny me of my fundamental human right to freely express myself on the Temple Mount, and to freely worship God on the Temple Mount. I am one of the countless faithful, who are not afforded the freedom from want – the want to access the Temple Mount at any time, on any day, from any entrance, for any reason, and with any objects of religious meaning. I am one of the many Jews who is not afforded the freedom from fear – the fear of being detained or banned from the Temple Mount for simply acting Jewish, or the fear for my life every time I ascend to the Temple Mount for simply being Jewish.

And why? To appease the American administration, a country which is neither Israel’s colonial overload nor to whom we are bound as a client state? To appease the United Nations, an international body who has rendered itself irrelevant as a result of its blatant policy of bias against Israel or through the appointment of such freedom-loving luminaries as Saudi Arabia and Libya to positions of power on its Human Rights Council? To appease an irrelevant monarch in Jordan, descendent from a long line of terror-toting tyrants? To appea