Stasi in East Jerusalem?

“Went to the Temple Mount with Andreas and Ulrich (from Dresden), explained everything and then “demonstrated” that only Muslims can enter seven of the doors to the Temple Mount (Christians and Jews, like tourists, can only enter the Temple Mount compound through the Mugrabi Gate, after showing their passport). I said to the guard who prevented us from entering that I didn’t appreciate that as a Christian or Jew, we can’t read or pray there.

40 minutes later, after wandering around like tourists in the Old City (buying souvenirs), we went to take our picture outside of the Damascus Gate when 4 plainclothes policemen swooped down on us – me – and asked, “What are you doing here?” I said we were going to take a picture. They said, “Take a picture?” – like, yeah, right.

I said, “Who are you?” They said police. I said, “How do I know that?” The main man pulled out his identity. I heard him saying in Hebrew I was with the organization something. One said, “You’re with Yehuda Etzion.” I said, “No, I’m with Gershon Salmon. There’s a difference.” One said, cynically, “There’s a difference?” I said, “You know there’s a big difference. Gershon has always been law-abiding. The Temple Mount Faithful has never broken the law.”

They then took my aerogrammes and looked at them, then asked and felt what the Germans had in their small bags and then took off, saying, “I know you. I’ve seen you before.” I replied, “And you’ll see me many more times – on the Temple Mount.”

Then the two Germans (we were staying in the same youth hostel) wondered, “WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?” They said it was like Stasi in East Germany. I said it could’ve been worse. (They flew home later that day).

Journal entry, July 13, 1995

(Published in The Jerusalem Post, October 18, 1999).

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