A security guard shot and killed an Israeli man on Friday at one of Judaism’s holiest sites in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, which was immediately shut to visitors, police said.
The guard opened fire after the man, in an adjacent restroom, was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is greatest”, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The incident occurred in one of Jerusalem’s most sensitive areas. The Western Wall is one of Judaism’s holiest sites and a place where thousands worship each week.
The plaza where the wall is located is next to the Temple Mount, revered by Jews as the place where two biblical temples stood, and the site of Islam’s third holiest mosque, Masjid al-Aqsa.
Rosenfeld said the guard opened fire with his pistol because he suspected the man was a Palestinian militant. “The fact he shouted Allahu Akbar, that seems to be why the security guard drew his weapon and fired a number of shots at him,” he said.
“Allahu Akbar” is shouted in Arabic-speaking communities whenever praise is intended to be given to God. While the term “Allah” is no longer the common designation for the Biblical God in Jewish communities, for many centuries it was.
In the work Is ‘Allah’ The God of the Jewish People and the Bible? we find numerous archeological and anthropological examples of the Arabic “Allah” used for the Biblical God in Jewish documents, art and architecture.
The Arabic “Allah” used in a Yemenite Synagogue, inside of the Magen David. Such uses of the term “Allah” are historically common in non-European Jewish communities.
Rabbinic heavyweights like the Rambam (Moses Maimonides) had Arabic names with “Allah” in them, and even wrote classics of Jewish literature in Arabic, using “Allah” as the name for the Divine. Judeo-Arabic copies of the Torah transliterated “Allah” in place of various Hebrew Divine names. The Rambam’s son (and dynasty) prayed in Hebrew, using prayer postures common to Muslims, arguing that these were classical Jewish forms of prayer. What would happen if the son of the Rambam were alive today and praying at the Kotel?
Today, the majority of Israelis have at least one grandparent who immigrated from Arabic-speaking lands. Millions of Israelis are themselves Arabian Jews, making this shooting even more problematic. “Allahu Akbar” is used in 99.9% of cases for non-terrorist-related exclamations of praise. Today, a Jewish man is dead, in Israel, at a site of holiness… a site where women are arrested for wearing prayer shawls, and Jews are killed by the police for speaking in the language of the most famous rabbis.
What has happened to Israel?
Shabbat Shalom. Sabt Salaam.