Recent Developments in the News
regarding the Temple Mount

Gathered from Various Sources.
Last updated December 21, 2009.


Before Israel founded, 'Muslims would not have disputed connection Jews have'

JERUSALEM - A prestigious Palestinian professor told WND that the Muslim denial of a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount is political and that historically Muslims did not dispute Jewish ties to the site.

"If you went back a couple of hundred years, before the advent of the political form of Zionism, I think you will find that many Muslims would not have disputed the connection that Jews have toward [the Mount]," said Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University in eastern Jerusalem.

"The problem began arising with the advent of Zionism, when people started connecting a kind of feeling that Jews have toward the area with the political project of Zionism," Nusseibeh stated.

Zionism refers to the political movement that supports the reestablishment of the Jewish state in the land of Israel.

According to sources inside the Palestinian Authority, Nusseibeh has come under some PA pressure for writing in a recent study that Jews historically revered the Temple Mount before the time of Muhammad and Islam.

The PA sources denied any security threats against Nusseibeh but conceded that PA President Mahmoud Abbas' office had asked the professor to issue a clarification acknowledging the Palestinian line denying Jewish ties to the Mount.

The sources indicated that if Nusseibeh did not issue a clarification his position as Al-Quds' president could be in jeopardy.

Nusseibeh, however, denied that he has received any threats over the matter.

"I am surprised that people are surprised by what I wrote. There is nothing in Islam that denies the fact that Judaism is one of the religions of the book," he said.

Nusseibeh contributed to an Israeli-Palestinian study about the Temple Mount entitled, "Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade." In the study, Nusseibeh does not affirm the existence of the Jewish Temples on the site but writes the Mount was revered by Jews before the time of Muhammad.

The PA long has denied any Jewish historic connection to the Temple Mount or Jerusalem.

Israel's Maariv daily newspaper reported Nusseibeh was threatened by Palestinians regarding his participation in the study.

Chief Palestinian justice: Temples never existed

In a previous WND interview, Chief Palestinian Justice Sheik Taysir Tamimi declared the Jewish temples never existed and Jews have no historic connection to Jerusalem. He also claimed the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad's horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam.

Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.

"Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city, and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s," said Tamimi.

"About these so-called two temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount]," Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office.

The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged, and that the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish, when they were prophets for Islam.

"All this is not real. We don't believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews," said Tamimi.

He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were "prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam."

Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad's horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years.

"The Western Wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It's where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal, which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah."

The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem.

Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque , which has sprung multiple leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels.

"Al Aqsa was built by the angels 40 years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true," he said.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and were the main gathering place for Israelites.

According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It's believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.

The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.

Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.

According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem as being holy. Berkovits points out in his new book, "How Dreadful Is this Place!" that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God.

As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula and that "in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron."

A guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published in 1925 listed the Mount as Jewish and as the site of Solomon's Temple. The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 "Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif," which states on page 4, "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord.'"


Judaism and Islam have a lot in common.
To develop relationships between these two faiths further, Jews and Muslims need to be more aware of nuances within their respective traditions

by Dan Rickman

I have just returned from a week in Jerusalem and yet again tensions are high surrounding the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and this yet again threatens relations between the two great monotheistic faiths of Islam and Judaism.

The gap of understanding is highlighted by right-wing rabbis encouraging Jews to visit the Temple Mount. The suggestion that Jewish visitors are being "humiliated" in being prevented from praying there and being limited to the Western Wall is astonishing to me.

The conflict creates painful discourse regarding the respective religious histories with Jewish and Muslim "scholars" queuing up to de-legitimise the historical validity of the other side. In addition, there are many difficult issues which seem to suggest that reasoned discourse is impossible, for example regarding what remains of Jewish communities in Muslim countries.

Many Jews are familiar with negative images from the Koran if only because these are used frequently in the ongoing propaganda wars between Zionist and anti-Zionist groups. Yet many Jews are unaware that within Jewish sources there are also many negative stereotypes about "the other", the most radical perhaps being a view in the Palestinian Talmud that non-Jews do not even exist.

These sorts of jarring views are sadly common place in almost all religious literature and as a consequence religion has all too often played a negative role in this conflict.

Yet despite all this, there are more moderate voices in all these faiths. Moreover, Judaism has traditionally had tremendous respect for Islam as a pure monotheistic faith and this is recognized even nowadays in the plethora of groups trying to improve Jewish-Muslim understanding.

Deeper links

Judaism and Islam have a lot in common. They both have written scripture (Bible and Koran) and also oral tradition (halacha and sharia). The study of this law is also considered a value in both religious traditions and their legal, mystical and philosophical systems have significantly interacted over the centuries and learned from each other.

In addition, these traditions see their role as applying to all spheres of life, which means that inevitably they are political to a greater or lesser extent. It is not at all surprising then that when meetings of Rabbis and Imams are arranged they find they have much in common.

I'd suggest that there are deeper links as well. Judaism and Islam both exist outside the mainstream Western intellectual discourse which lies at the heart of liberal democracy and the modern nation state. This has a number of profound implications. Both religious traditions have to address the conflicts between their world views and modern democracy.

Additionally, in countries where Jews and Muslims are in a minority they face prejudice based on common misunderstandings which means that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are in fact two sides of the same coin. It therefore does us no credit as Jews (whether religious or secular) when we repeat or accept negative stereotypes of Islam.

The way to address these misunderstandings is to learn more about each other's religious traditions as well as our own and there are books such as Rabbi Reuven Firestone's "An Introduction to Islam for Jews" which are well worth reading to address this.

Rabbi Firestone suggests that worthwhile dialogue requires "focus on text study and social responsibility projects" and this is reflected in initiatives such as the Center for Jewish-Muslim Engagement. There are, of course, many examples in Israel where Jews and Muslims co-operate and work together, a recent example being a course to train Jordanian paramedics at Ben-Gurion University.

To develop these relationships further, Jews and Muslims need to be more aware of the nuances within their respective traditions. There was a furore when Ken Livingstone invited Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London leading him to produce a detailed justification of his actions based around the need for dialogue.

Firestone says that Sheikh Al-Qaradawi is a "moderate conservative" whose views are very influential lying between radicals and Westernised Muslims. Whilst his better known pronouncements do jar with Western sensibilities, one can readily find analogous statements from rabbis.

This raises a question for Judaism itself which until recently did not have political power. Now that it does, through religious parties in Israel, what lessons can be learned from other religious traditions, especially Islam which is so similar, to use this power responsibly?


A peek into Temple Mount excavations - Ronen Medzini - www.ynetnews.com

Western Wall Heritage Foundation holds tour of tunnels in attempt to ward off Muslim claims that al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger of collapsing. Waqf refuses offer for similar tour for Muslims, saying 'settlers won't give us approval to enter a Muslim-owned area.'

Excavation works being held near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have sparked uproar in the Muslim world in recent years. Recent riots in the capital were allegedly sparked by a repeated Muslim claim that the Jews are attempting "to take over" the Temple Mount mosques or damage them through the digs taking place in tunnels within the mount.

According to the Muslims, the digs are taking place under the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and are threatening to collapse them.

Initial photos obtained by Ynet show the excavation works along the tunnels, as photographed during a tour held in the area about two weeks ago, which was attended by several officials and organizations from all parts of the political spectrum.

Following the tour, its participants said they did not witness attempts to dig under the mosques' plaza.

The digs begin on al-Waad Street in the Old City's Muslim Quarter and connect to the Western Wall tunnels under the ground. The works began more than four years ago, and have since caused angry responses in the Muslim world, which is finding it difficult to receive a clear picture of the dig, due to the discrete manner in which it is are being led by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

One of the claims is that the dig is endangering the buildings located above it and damaging the heart of the Muslim heritage. The fears are also related to the fact that many of the members of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation are also members of the Ateret Kohanim association, whose goal is to see Jews settle in the Old City's Muslim and Christian quarters.

The tunnels are expected to be open to the public in the future, but today they remain closed until the excavation works will be completed. In light of the many claims, however, the Foundation decided to invite several officials to tour the area.

The tour's participants included the Foundation's executive director Mordechai (Sullie) Eliav, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Jerusalem Council Members Meir Margalit (Meretz) and Rabbi Yossi Deutsch (United Torah Judaism), and representatives of left-wing organizations.

The tour's participants spoke to the excavation workers, who told them that the digging is currently 12 meters (39 feet) deep. According to estimates, the final dig will be 16 meter deep, where the workers will reach an impenetrable rock layer.

According to the participants, the workers uncovered important archaeological remains from the First Temple during the excavation.

It should be noted that the tour's participants testified that in some of the places, improvised reinforcement works were being conducted to support the walls and ceiling, in a manner which raises fears that there is indeed a danger of collapse, or at least a danger that the land above may sink. The picture brought here support this claim.

Arab diplomats seek solution

"I don't support digging in sensitive places, and I understand the Muslims' fears," said Margalit. "However, in the name of intellectual integrity, I did not see any attempt to dig under the mosques' plaza. I cannot guarantee that such a thing will not happen in the future, but it's clear to me that in the meantime there were no signs testifying that this is in fact taking place.

"It's important for me to say this because I am very concerned about what may happen following the wave of rumors and speculations running around this city," he added, "and everyone must contribute as much as they can to calm things down."

Ynet has learned that the Western Wall Heritage Foundation is now planning to conduct another tour, which will be attended by a professional Muslim delegation, in order to refute the accusations.

Margalit has even approached representatives of the Jerusalem Waqf with an offer to tour the area, but they have rejected it for now, claiming that "we will not receive approval from settlers to enter a Muslim-owned area."

Diplomats from an Arab country arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday in an attempt to come up with a creative solution which would allow a Muslim delegation to tour the area. A third party is now trying to mediate between the Foundation and the diplomats in a bid to organize such a delegation, which will be comprised of representatives from Arab countries.

However, in light of the recent political tensions, which have led to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' announcement that he would not run for president in the upcoming elections, it appears that such a tour will not be made possible for the time being.


Writing Jews out of Jerusalem's history

The whipping up of unrest around the Temple Mount is part of an insidious campaign to cast Jewish people as modern interlopers

Jeremy Sharon

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 November 2009 10.00 GM

The Temple Mount, or al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, must rank as one of the most sensitive religious sites in the world. The sporadic riots of the past month at the site are therefore particularly alarming, as such incidents have the potential to ignite much wider unrest.

For that reason, it would seem to be in everyone's interest to reduce as far as possible tensions and friction at the Temple Mount to an absolute minimum. But the statements and actions of a number of Muslim clerics based in Israel, Palestinian politicians and even foreign governments have only inflamed and exacerbated an already explosive situation.

Of even greater concern is the underlying sentiment behind the recent riots, protests, declarations and denunciations. Whether or not "Jewish extremists" went up to the Temple Mount (and they did not) and irrespective of whether or not they planned to, the violent and vitriolic response to these rumours is indicative of a fundamental lack of tolerance for the religious beliefs of the Jewish people.

And the incitement has been widespread, coming from both political and religious sectors. The Islamic Movement in Israel, in particular, has made strenuous efforts to inform its flock that Jewish groups were planning to "desecrate", "storm" or otherwise "endanger" the al-Aqsa mosque and arranged buses for worshippers to come and "protect" the site.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch and one of the principal provocateurs, declared to a crowd, "We'll liberate al-Aqsa with blood and fire" and stated that Israel was seeking to build a synagogue on the al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad told a meeting of foreign ambassadors that the riots were due to "an assault by extremist religious settlers on the Temple Mount compound". The Syrian foreign ministry decided to stir the pot too, stating "[Damascus] believes the Israeli security forces' invasion of al-Aqsa was part of Israel's scheme to Judaise Jerusalem and destroy the mosque."

Not one shred of evidence has been presented to back up any of these accusations, the reason being that there simply is none.

Such baseless incitement over one of the most sensitive places of worship in the world is incredibly irresponsible. The destabilising effect of this agitation undermines whatever small amount of trust there may be between Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors. Additionally, it further inflames wider Arab and Muslim opinion, which is similarly deleterious to the project of tolerance and coexistence in the region. Inventing wild myths about Jewish designs on Muslim holy places can only harm any prospects for the normalisation of ties between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbours.

Aside from the agitation is the disturbing notion that Jews seeking to visit, or even pray at, their holiest place of worship (the Temple Mount and not merely the Western Wall) should be seen as provocation, desecration or in any other way unacceptable. Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are an indelible part of the Jewish national consciousness. The very term for the movement to re-establish the Jewish national home, Zionism, derives from a synonym for Jerusalem, Zion. Every day, three times a day, Jews all over the world turn towards Jerusalem and pray for it to be restored to its former glory; they have done so for nearly 2,000 years. That Jews are actually banned by the Israeli government from praying on the Temple Mount is a quite astounding concession to the demands of the Islamic waqf that administers it.

But preventing Jews from praying at the Temple Mount is not the only goal. A far more insidious campaign is afoot, one that rewrites history by arguing that there never was any Jewish temple at the site, thereby seeking to delegitimise any connection that Israel and the Jewish people may have to it, and by extension, the land as a whole. In a region in thrall to an epidemic of conspiracy theories, the irrefutable archaeological and historical evidence attesting to the Second Temple alone is sadly deemed insufficient.

The failure to acknowledge the connection the Jewish people have to Jerusalem is symptomatic of a problem which goes to the heart of the political conflict; that the Palestinian body politic has never reconciled itself to the fact that the Jewish people have deep-rooted historical ties to the land and are not simply foreign invaders who wandered in a few decades ago.

However politically expedient, Palestinian and Muslim leaders must desist from the incitement against Israel and the delegitimisation of the Jewish people's connection to the land, if there is ever to be any political accommodation between the two sides. If the Palestinian public never appreciates the depth of feeling Jews have for their holy places and their historical homeland, then the state of Israel, within any borders, will forever be illegitimate in the eyes of the Palestinians and will remain a target for eventual removal. Such an attitude poses a tremendous obstacle to the future prospects of peace between the two peoples.


Televised: Temple Mount broadcast

A7 Radio's "The Tovia Singer Show" with Tovia Singer

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/1547

Listen Now! In this eye-opening broadcast Ari Abramowitz, who is substituting for Jeremy Gimpel, joins Tovia for a show packed with controversy, insight and spontaneity. Who is the Messiah the son of Joseph? Why is there not a clear messianic prophecy found in the Torah? Buckle up as they confront listeners probing questions live on camera and on air.

Discuss this topic in the new Forums Section

Rabbi Tovia Singer is the founder and director of Outreach Judaism, an anti-missionary organization, addressing more than 200 audiences a year in Israel and the United States. He is the author of the book and accompanying audio CD series Let's Get Biblical. He has hosted the Tovia Singer Show since 2002. It airs live every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 midnight Israel time / 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and is downloadable as a podcast on Israel National Radio.


Upping the ante at Al-Aqsa

Despite Arab government denials, Muslim officials on the ground confirm Jewish extremists are escalating plans to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

(Photo Caption) Palestinian youths hurl stones towards Israeli riot policemen during clashes in Jerusalem's old city on Sunday

Government-backed Jewish religious extremists have stepped up their efforts to seize a foothold at Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade in East Jerusalem, ostensibly in order to erect there a Jewish temple.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the three holiest Islamic sanctuaries. The other two are the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet Mohamed's Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, 25 October crack Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa site, firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at Muslim worshipers. The troops also savagely beat Palestinian worshipers, including women and children. The paramilitary police, known as the Border Guard, also briefly shut off the Noble Sanctuary (the 141,000-square metre court housing Islamic holy places), barring Muslims from accessing the site.

More than 20 were injured, some badly, and dozens of others arrested. The Israeli occupation authorities also cut off electricity to the Old City of Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The new violation of the holy site by Israeli forces followed a call by Muslim leaders in Jerusalem alerting inhabitants to go to the mosque and maintain a presence there to repulse a fresh attempt by Jewish extremists to storm the Noble Sanctuary and seize a foothold to practise Jewish rituals. Jewish extremists, along with some government officials, hope that persistent provocations at the exclusively Islamic holy site will allow them to worship at the site and eventually build a Jewish temple.

Many Jews believe that the ancient Temple of Solomon stood where Al-Aqsa Mosque was built more than 1,300 years ago. Destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque and building a Jewish temple in its place is said by some extremists to be a condition for the second coming of Christ.

In recent days and weeks, Talmudic extremists placed a huge menorah -- a Jewish religious symbol -- opposite the Dome of the Rock Mosque. Other extremists erected at the same place a model of the so-called Temple of Solomon. Israeli occupation authorities made no effort to stop the manifestly provocative acts.

Meanwhile, the religious Zionist camp in Israel, which spearheads anti-Islam provocations at Al-Aqsa esplanade, held a meeting in West Jerusalem during which Jews were urged to descend to the Islamic holy place and wrest it from the hands of the "goyem" (a derogatory epithet for non-Jews). The meeting was attended by several prominent rabbis affiliated with the settler movement, as well as several Knesset members and other extremist leaders.

Following the meeting, a statement issued called on Jews to maintain a presence at the "Temple Mount" to prevent Arabs from turning the site into "a theatre of violence". Participants urged Jews interested in "changing the status quo at the Temple Mount" to "work more and speak less" and to carry out their task "quietly and through subterfuge".

Earlier, the Israeli media reported that Israel was planning a "major archaeological excavation under Al-Buraq Court", renamed "the Western Wall plaza". Historically, the place had always been part of Al-Aqsa Mosque until the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967. The excavation, Muslim leaders argue, could seriously destabilise the foundations of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other nearby historic Muslim structures. Israeli officials pay little or no attention to Muslim protests and often invoke the mantra that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal and undivided capital.

Adnan Al-Husseini is the head of the Supreme Muslim Council, the body overseeing and running the Haram Al-Sharif compound. He accuses Israel of "planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque by way of digging subterranean tunnels in its vicinity."

"When they speak to the media or meet with some Muslim officials from Turkey or Egypt and Jordan, they assure them that everything is fine and that the Islamic holy site faces no danger. However, we who live here and see things with our eyes on a daily basis are sure 100 per cent that Israel's ultimate goal is the demolition of the mosque and the building of a Jewish temple." Al-Husseini added: "Are we to believe Israeli lies and mendacious denials or our own eyes?"

Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, another prominent Muslim official at Jerusalem's Noble Sanctuary, described the situation as "very, very dangerous". "The Israeli authorities are trying to desensitise Muslim public opinion in the hope that Muslims at a certain point would accept a partitioning of this Islamic holy place. But, of course, this will never ever happen."

Hussein urged Muslim governments and peoples "to do away with words and routine condemnations and take meaningful measures to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israel's evil design." He added: "The situation can't continue like this. The Arab-Muslim world must take immediate action to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque. Muslim states that have diplomatic ties with Israel must act as well."

According to Sheikh Taysir Tamimi, the chief judge of the Palestinian Authority, present Israeli provocations in Jerusalem are aimed primarily at partitioning Al-Aqsa esplanade.

"They want to take over Al-Aqsa Mosque step by step as they did with the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron following the massacre of 1994." There Israeli occupation authorities partitioned the mosque, one of the most ancient in occupied Palestine, between Jews and Muslims, giving Jews the lion's share of the ancient structure where the patriarch Ibrahim (Abraham) is believed to be buried. (In Islam, Ibrahim, Isaac, Jacob and other Israelite prophets are also considered Muslim prophets).

Muslims never accepted the partitioning, stressing that the mosque was an Islamic site of worship for more than 1,300 years.

On Al-Aqsa, demonstrations have taken place in several Muslim countries, calling on Muslim governments to take proactive steps against Israel, including severing diplomatic ties. However, it is highly doubtful that token protests by Muslims will deter Israel and stop extremist Jewish groups from pursuing their designs against the main symbol of Islam in occupied Palestine and the Levant region.

Indeed, it is quite likely that this crisis, which is a ticking bomb, will reach a critical point. One foreign observer in Ramallah remarked that "the peace process is nearly dead even without this powder keg surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque. All I can say is that I foresee a lot of trouble and violence ahead."

Source: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/970/re2.htm


Clash around Al-Aqsa Mosque cannot be resolved through religious dialogue: experts (UPDATED)


29.10.2009 18:01

EDITOR's NOTE: comments of two experts have been added after the 12th paragraph

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 29 / Trend News, U.Sadikhova/

The problem of clash between the Arab and the Orthodox Jews and the Israeli police around the Al-Aqsa mosque cannot be solved by a religious dialogue, because the problem is a continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, experts believe.

Analysts also do not rule out that it may trigger a new wave of violence in the region.

The Palestinian Delegation to the UN, which has an observer status, urged the UN Security Council to take urgent steps due to worsening of the situation on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, venerated by both Muslims and Jews, RIA Novosti reported.

In recent weeks, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, especially around the third-largest Muslim holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, were the scene of constant clashes between Arabs and the Israeli police and Orthodox Jews. Last Sunday 18 people were arrested in the clashes.

However, even minor disturbances in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider the capital of their future state, and where the major Muslim shrines are located, can lead to serious complications.

Visiting the Temple Mount in 2000, Ariel Sharon, who later became the Prime Minister of Israel, turned into the intifada that lasted several years.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), one of the largest in the Islamic world, in a statement called on Islamic countries to take steps to protect their holy places in Jerusalem.

However, analysts believe that the conflict caused by the clash around Al-Aqsa is political in nature, although it arose between representatives of different religions.

The Arab experts were unanimous in their opinion that the clashes in Jerusalem are the result of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands.

"The problem is that the Israeli government is trying to gain upper hand over all Jerusalem," Director of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Hasan Abu Nimah, said to Trend News in a telephone conversation. "This problem cannot be solved through inter-religious dialogue and negotiation between religious communities, because that arose as a result of policies of the Israeli government."

The issue of East Jerusalem is one of the most difficult in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Both Palestinians and Israelis consider the city their capital.

Analysts and international organizations also fear that the clashes around Al-Aqsa can lead to increased violence and escalate into armed clashes between Arabs and Israelis.

American professor in the religious studies Carl W. Ernst said that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute cannot be solved by religious dialogue, since it is based upon nationalism and dispute over territory.

"Religion is used to harden the positions of opposition between the different parties. If the problem is taken out of the sphere of religion, then it is much more likely that compromise is possible," Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations at the University of North Carolina W. Ernst wrote Trend News in an e-mail.

Analyst on the Arab-Israeli conflict Yossi Mekelberg also shares with Ernst, saying that the problem of Jerusalem and clashes around the Al-Aqsa mosque are not a religious problem, because the major point here is to divide the city between Israelis and Arabs.

The problem of Jerusalem is on the one hand religiously but on the other hand it is the capital of Israel and the future capital of Palestinian state, Mekelberg said.

"It is a nationality issue of sovereignty, not only the issue of religion," Senior Research Fellow of the Chatham House British Royal Institute of International Affairs, Mekelberg told Trend News in a telephone conversation. "The problem of Jerusalem is a very important issue and so the [Middle East] quartet will be involved in this to encourage the both sides [Palestinians and Israelis] for talks […], in order to end the violence."

Mekelberg said Jerusalem is a "very sensitive issue, beyond Israelis and Palestinians".

The Analyst on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Yossi Mekelberg believes that the issue of Jerusalem and the clash around Al-Aqsa is not a religious issue, because there is the question of dividing the city between Israelis and Arabs.

As long as that conflict continues, there will always be extremists on both sides who will seize opportunities to advance their own causes by creating situations of conflict, John Voll, professor of Islamic history at the Georgetown University said.

"The international community should encourage all parties in the conflict to be more open to resolving conflicts without resorting to violence," Associate Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown Unversity Voll wrote Trend News in an e-mail.

Specifically, important parts of this effort must be that the allies of Israel need to urge Israel not to resort to violent military responses to Palestinian protests, Voll believes.

OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu also warned that "the Israeli police attack against the Al-Aqsa mosque could lead to undesirable consequences."

Radical groupings will advantage from the clash around Al-Aqsa to raise tensions around the world to make thinks worse and so it will be a very big mistake, if it affects the relations between Muslims and Jews around the world, Mekelberg said.

The Director of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, Oraib al-Rantawi said that the clashes on the Temple Mount create conditions for war in the region and for new clashes.

"The events surrounding the Al-Aqsa can lead to a new intifada, and provoke a new wave of aggression in the region between the Palestinians and Israelis," al-Rantawi told Trend News in a telephone conversation. "Israel is playing with fire, because a new wave of aggression can spread to the whole Muslim region, based on the fact that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a symbol of the entire Islamic world."

Concerning the role of the Islamic community (ummah) to the situation around the clashes on the Temple Mount, the Director of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Abu Nimah believes that the ummah is limited only by the statements to which Israel is not paying attention.

In his view, the position of the Islamic Ummah to protect Al-Aqsa is still "sleeping".

On Monday, Syria accused Israel of intending to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, calling his actions "a blatant violation of the sanctity and inviolability of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a part of the plan for Judaizing Jerusalem and destructing the Al-Aqsa Mosque, RIA Novosti reported with reference to the Syrian sources.

The OIC also called on the Muslim Ummah to take a "firm stance to protect their holy places following the intensification of the Israeli attacks against the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem."

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Something is Rotten in the State of Israel

by Joharah Baker
(Wednesday, October 28, 2009)

"The reference to the Aqsa Mosque Compound as the "Temple Mount" has been mainstreamed even in Western discourse, thus, offering legitimacy to the Jewish alternative to Islam's third holiest site. Again, never mind the fact that the actual site of the Holy of Holies and even the first and second temples are disputed much less the location of where the third temple should be built."

It is unfathomable that the recurrent unrest in and around the Aqsa Mosque Compound are individual spats of violence unrelated to any larger picture. Anyone even slightly versed in this entangled conflict knows better, knows that every statement, every move in Jerusalem is laced with political overtones and is a tiny piece of a much larger canvas.

So, yesterday's events in Jerusalem's Old City can only be viewed as one more link in Israel's master plan for the city and for the Aqsa Mosque Compound in particular. For the second time in the past month, extremist Jewish groups announced their intent to enter the mosque and for the second time, Palestinian Muslims in Jerusalem staved them off. Following a morning call from the mosques' muezzin to the people of the Old City to "come and protect Al Aqsa", clashes ensued between Israeli riot police and soldiers, many who had taken up position the night before in anticipation of confrontations.

And confrontations they certainly were. Angry Palestinians set fire to tires and trash cans after Israeli police shut the doors to the mosque's compound, trapping dozens inside. Stun grenades, rubber–coated metal bullets and tear gas filled the streets and the two sides clashed violently for hours. By the time things quieted down, at least 30 Palestinians had been injured and three Israeli police.

As disturbing as the incident itself is, what's worse is its dangerous implications. Israel has had its eye on this area of the Old City since it captured the eastern sector in the 1967 War. Not only is it in the heart of Jerusalem, which Israel has yet to relinquish even partial claim over, it is said to be the place where the first and second Jewish temples were built and subsequently destroyed. The Third Temple is, Jews say, to be built on this exact spot.

What follows is speculation, but speculation that is based in hard truths and realities that cannot be ignored lest we drop the ball on this extremely significant and delicate subject. Israel has always retained an overall policy of sending up "test balloons" to gauge reactions - both locally and internationally - then absorbing any backlash, until finally implementing its plans when the dust finally settles. This happened with the construction of the separation wall, with the Qalandiya checkpoint and the Lebanon War. Israel would throw the idea out into the open and wait until it could give a convincing enough justification before putting plan into action. Today, much of the world falls for the line that the Separation Wall was built to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers and protect innocent Israeli civilians. Never mind that the wall swallows up approximately 40 percent of the West Bank, cutting off people and land, and that an eerily similar plan was devised just after the 1967 occupation dubbed the Allon Plan which basically drew the same borders.

As for the Qalandiya checkpoint, the same strategy was undertaken. At first, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called for the 100 day plan in January, 2001, supposedly as a means to quell the Aqsa Intifada of 2000. Part of the plan, which included a severe military crackdown on Palestinian protesters, was setting up a "makeshift" checkpoint near the Qalandiya airstrip. Soon however, the dirt barricades turned into cement blocks, which then turned into vehicle and pedestrian lanes with corrugated iron roofs, which finally turned into a full blown terminal, which effectively severs the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Today, we are faced with a similar strategy for Al Aqsa. Israel has always called it the "Temple Mount", in reference to the supposed location of the first and second temples and the Holy of Holies. The reference to the Aqsa Mosque Compound as the "Temple Mount" has been mainstreamed even in Western discourse, thus, offering legitimacy to the Jewish alternative to Islam's third holiest site. Again, never mind the fact that the actual site of the Holy of Holies and even the first and second temples are disputed much less the location of where the third temple should be built. Anyway, even if the Jewish temples were built on or around the area that now houses the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, this should in no way contradict with what exists there today. If every group of people made claims to ancient ruins, would the world not be in archeological chaos by now?

It seems however, that Israel is looking further than even its own religion. Like all things to do with the conflict, this is about politics. After the repeated upsets at the compound and the increasing number of extremist Israeli Jews who insist that they will enter the compound for prayer, Israeli government officials began releasing their infamous test balloons.

It is difficult to surmise what came first, the proverbial chicken (the Israeli government's plan) or the egg (the push by extremist Jews). The end result, however, is that both compliment each other with a common goal of marginalizing Palestinian and Muslim presence in the city. On October 1, the Islamic-Christian Society in Support of Jerusalem announced that Israel plans to allow Jews exclusive access to the Aqsa Compound on 50 Jewish holidays to perform prayers. The announcement came after a day of clashes at the compound.

While there have been no reports of such a move since then, the prospect of such a decision could have catastrophic ramifications. And given Israel's history with throwing out outrageous ideas before actually implementing them on the ground, this does not seem as outrageous as one would imagine.

Besides, Israel already has a prototype for this kind of arrangement - the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. As early as 1975, Israeli authorities divided the mosque between Jewish settlers and Palestinian Muslim worshipers, with the entire mosque falling under Israeli control. After the 1994 massacre of 29 Muslim worshipers by Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein, the iron door between the two sides was shut permanently, thus banning Palestinians from a large portion of the mosque they had prayed and worshiped in for years.

This is why the prospect of Israel attempting to pull off something of the sort at Al Aqsa is not so far-fetched. Israel seems to have a policy of, "If we can do it, then we will." There is no doubt that Israel, being the occupying power backed by the world's only superpower, "can do it." However, if it does decide to inch towards this eventual goal, it should know by now that the backlash will be severe. The burning tires, stones and flying chairs are just a hint of what will happen should Israel try to take full control over Al Aqsa. Palestinians are sure not to go down easily, if they go down at all.

Source: by courtesy & copyright 2009 Joharah Baker


Remember, the Temple was built by Herod

Robert Eisenman www.jpost.com

The Temple, over which we now see such weekly struggles, was built by Herod who, for all intents and purposes, was not Jewish. He had not an ounce of Jewish blood in him - if one can speak in such "racial" terms in this period - his mother, according to Josephus, being an "Arab" from Petra, probably related to the royal family there; his grandfather, a Greco-Arab priest of Apollo from the Gaza/Ashkelon "Philistine"/Palestine Coast.

On occasion, he might have simulated Jewish ways in line with his appointment as king of the Jews (which did not necessarily require being Jewish - it was a Roman title and a tax-farming fiefdom). His father Antipater was the first Roman procurator of Judea (c. 60 BCE), who parlayed a Roman governorship into a family dynasty, in the process eliminating the Maccabees and garnering a Roman citizenship for himself and his family after him.

Herod might have had a few Jewish wives among the 10 or so he allowed himself, including two high priests' daughters - one the proverbial Maccabean princess Mariamme/Miriam, whom he actually had executed, as he did his children by her, due to his jealousy of their Maccabean blood and therefore their popularity among the masses. Almost all of his other wives were Greek or Arab.

He also built a host of Greek temples - in Sebaste (Samaria) in honor of the Emperor Augustus, at Caesarea and across the Mediterranean, as well as the Antonia fortress in the Temple in honor of Mark Anthony and Phasael (Feisal) after his brother was executed by one of his Maccabean wife's uncles.

Herod used his building projects to magnify his own image and keep a disaffected population busy. The Temple itself, which he began early in his reign in the 20s BCE, was not finished until shortly before its fall in 70 CE. Herod in fact was a typical Arab potentate, combining the worst qualities of a latter-day Saddam Hussein and the harem aspects of the House of Saud.

As Josephus tell us, Herod had spies everywhere, executed all the members of the previous Maccabean or nationalistic Sanhedrin except the two Pharisees "Pollio and Sameas" - probably Hillel and Shammai - and even went on the streets in disguise to search out malcontents. These he had taken to the fortresses Hyrcania and Machaerus (as John the Baptist was, by one of his Greco-Arab sons) to be tortured and ultimately put to death. He was hated by the Jewish people and, as noted, responsible for the extirpation of the whole Maccabean family root and stalk, including his own several grafts upon them; and there followed 110 years of struggle (37 BCE-73 CE) to be rid of him, his heirs and the Romans who imposed them on the Jews and supported them.

Nor is the celebrated Western Wall anything but a part of this extravaganza he built to mollify Jews and busy unemployed priests. It was consecrated by their Roman overlords, after they destroyed the Temple, as a place Jews could go once a year (on the Ninth of Av) in humiliation to bewail their former glories - therefore its traditional name, the Wailing Wall.

SO THE Jews go today to worship at the remains of a stone edifice built by their arch-enemy, responsible more than anyone else for their destruction, who was himself certainly not native born and hardly Jewish at all except where convenient. (This is much like Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. To paraphrase: "I am a Jew to the Jews, a Greek to the Greeks, a law-keeper to the law-keepers, a law-breaker to the law-breakers. I believe in winning. I will do whatever I have to do to win. That's how I fight, not beating the air." And Herod did "win," as did Paul, his probable descendant).

But here's the rub. The Pharisees and the Herodian Sadducees whom they dominated were the only party willing to live with Herod and the Romans. In fact, Pollio and Sameas in 37 BCE recommended opening Jerusalem's gates to Herod and the Roman army given him by Mark Anthony. This behavior was repeated over and over, including 130 years earlier, at the time of Judah Maccabee, when they were willing to support Alcimus, a high priest appointed by a foreign power (the Greek Seleucids in Syria) - probably "the birth moment" of the Pharisee party. It happened again when Pompey stormed the Temple 100 years after that. According to Josephus, the Pharisees cooperated with the Romans in slaughtering the Temple's pro-Maccabean defenders.

Notwithstanding, over and over again the people rejected the counsel of the Pharisees, including at the time of the uprising against Rome in 66 CE, when they cooperated in inviting the Roman army into the city. The Pharisees were not the popular party they are assumed to be, despite the pretensions of historians probably based on Gospel portraiture.

Predictably the nationalists were the popular party (as they usually are even today).

Pollio and Sameas became the heads of Herod's Sanhedrin after he had executed all its Maccabean and pro-nationalist members when he took undisputed control. Earlier, in the mid-50s BCE, they alone opposed bringing him to Sanhedrin trial when he was governor of Galilee (under his father) and had executed guerrilla leaders there.

BUT THE Pharisees cum Rabbinic Judaism were, as noted, the only party Rome was willing to live with after the uprisings of 66-70 and 132-6 CE. Their patriarchs became the de facto Roman tax collectors in Palestine, as the Herodians had been earlier.

We all respect our rabbis, their durability, learning, and great venerability. We acknowledge their leadership in surviving 2,000 years of the Diaspora, that is, up to the Holocaust - but they were not up to the Holocaust. They could not provide real leadership then. Only the pro-Zionist parties left or right and the worker's movements did.

In the same manner, the rabbis, experts at non-territorial leadership, cannot provide = almost by definition - leadership in a territorial situation. Now, in the face of the seemingly miraculous Jewish regaining of the Temple Mount in 1967, their bans for or against walking on the Temple Mount smack of quaintness and out-of-touch or even self-serving unreality. One is not walking upon anything there except perhaps Herod's Temple (recently Herod's tomb seems to have been found under his pile of dirt Herodion, not surprisingly apparently smashed to bits by revolutionaries).

Perhaps there is an authentic First or early Second Temple Holy of Holies hidden somewhere beneath the ruins, but it would take an archeological investigation to determine this. The Western Wall with all its familiar comfort is nothing but stones set down by the destroyer of the Jewish people and its royal family and a probable abomination, i.e. kissing stones set down by Herod.

The problem is we must start from scratch based on being a territorial people once again.

We need a new approach to religion if, for instance, we are to combat the J Streets, Goldstones or George Soroses of this world, not to mention appealing to the imagination of questioning disaffected youth; and the first step should have been to start rebuilding the Temple.

This does not mean one should revive the priesthood or the sacrificial cult. You need living symbols to move the people. If nothing else, Herod showed us this and the durability of the wall he built is its final proof.

Unfortunately, Rabbinic Judaism can no longer provide us these. Two millennia, yes, and up to the Holocaust. But no further. It cannot provide us with the blueprint for becoming territorial once again. Moshe Dayan was wrong in ordering the Israeli flag taken down, in effect, surrendering sovereignty and giving the Muslim Wakf control over the Temple Mount. No self-respecting people after two victorious wars would have behaved in this way. But he had no guideposts to rely upon, only egocentrism and his own pragmatism - plus he loved the grande geste.

But now, almost three generations after the Holocaust and with its memory beginning to fade, we have nothing positive to appeal to our young generations in Israel and abroad. It is poetry and the spirit that provide this. They are the positives, not humiliating renunciations. The reconstruction of a Temple - any Temple - should have begun 40 years ago and we would be well on our way toward achieving these things. This does not mean we should emulate the old design. Its content, shape and operation should be open to investigation, even architectural competitions, and creativity; but the symbol would be there.

It took the Herodian Temple almost 90 years to be completed. Ours and even its early stage - archeological investigation - hasn't even begun. People need a positive historical Judaism to go forward and this does not mean a Roman/Herodian-sponsored Phariseeism. People need positive symbols to rally around. The time is late. There is plenty of room on the Mount for everyone.

In no other manner can we gain the respect of the world and regain our own self-respect, and the world come to understand us - and we come to understand ourselves.


Fall Newsletter, October 30, 2009. http://www.3rdtemplebill.org

Within the last three months, the Temple Institute has created an altar for use on the Temple Mount. The altar is 3 x 3 meters and 2 meters high, and fulfills the minimum requirements for a valid temple altar. Now that we have a valid altar, we have the opportunity to seek to bring certain classes of sacrifice which "thrust aside," the laws of Biblical purity. These sacrifices include communal sacrifices that have a fixed time.

In order to proceed towards this goal, we must know the exact location of the altar from the first and second temples. This has always been the number one goal of our organization.

We, therefore, have communicated with Gabai Berchai, a renowned archeologist, who is now interested in helping us to get permission to perform a limited exploration on the Temple Mount, for the purpose of locating the underground pile of rubble, where the altar once stood. Professor Ritmeyer, a world renowned expert on the Temple Mount wrote me that he believes it will be possible to locate the underground pile of stones and rubble from the altar, and the drainage well, which was in the SW corner of the altar, in two weeks of digging with 10 trained archeology assistants.

In preparation to make the dig request, we are working with architect Tuvia Sagiv, of Tel Aviv, inventor of the Southern Theory of the location of the temple, to do an infrared photographic scan of the Temple Mount. This scan has a chance of tracing the full underground course of a wall that was uncovered last years by Muslim excavation of a utility trench in the region east of the central area of the Temple Mount. The ruined ancient wall may very well have been the wall of the woman's court of the Second Temple. It was in the proper location. Historical knowledge of the Temple Mount makes this conclusion even more likely. After the Romans destroyed the mount, they built a Temple to Jupiter and an alter. Subsequently the Byzantines conquered the Romans, destroyed the temple to Jupiter, and turned the Temple Mount into a garbage dump. When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, they removed the garbage and built several structures, which remain today, including the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque. Based on history the ruined wall could only have been from the Temple or possibly the Temple to Jupiter, although archeologists may be able to rule that out.

If the actual size of the ancient wall corresponds to the size of the woman's courtyard of the Second Temple than we will be able to accurately determine the exact location of the Second Temple and the altar.

We currently need $4,000.00 dollars to complete this project. The photos will eb taken from a helicopter flying over the Mount of Olives, and therefore requires no special permission! We are seeking pledges right now. When the pledged amount reaches $5,000.00 all those pledging will be asked to send in their money directly to Tuvia Sagiv, who is arranging the flight and the filming.


Professor Weiss calls for the rebuilding of the Temple

Written by Chris Perver, www.prophecynews.co.uk

Violent protests in the streets of Jerusalem have continued this week amid heightened tensions over the Temple Mount. The fighting began several weeks ago on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, when Muslims began throwing stones at a group that was visiting the site. The Muslims accused Israel of allowing Jews into the compound to pray on the Day of Atonement, something that the Israeli police forbid on the grounds that it could cause offence to the Islamic Waqf that administer the site. Israel denied that any religious group was planning to pray on the Mount, and believe that the violence was purposely orchestrated to coincide with the Jewish holy day. Last week Israeli police entered the Temple Mount in order to arrest stone-throwers and to bring an end to the rioting which threatens to destabilize the peace process. Jordan expressed concern over the Israeli intervention on the Mount, claiming it was a flagrant violation of international law, while Syria accused the Jewish state of attempting to destroy the al Aqsa Mosque. Hamas declared that only war will resolve the contention over Jerusalem. Some Orthodox Jewish groups have called for protests against the Muslim rioters by ascending the Temple Mount, while others have asked their followers to stay away from the area, believing that it is forbidden for any Jew to set foot on the Mount for fear of accidentally entering the place where the Holy of Holies once was. Professor Hillel Weiss, of the Organization for Human Rights on the Temple Mount, has called for the immediate rebuilding of the Jewish Temple itself.

Quote: "In a move that may heighten tensions in the capital, the Organization for Human Rights on the Temple Mount (OHRTM) called for Jews to visit the east Jerusalem compound, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque. During a rightist event held in Jerusalem Sunday evening, just hours after Muslims rioted in and around the Temple Mount amid reports that Jewish extremists were planning to visit the site, Professor Hillel Weiss said, "The (third) temple must be built now. The mosques do not have to be destroyed in order for us to do this."

There are of course diverging opinions in Judaism as to whether or not the Dome of the Rock would need to come down in order to build the Third Temple. Some believe that the Temple should be constructed opposite the present Eastern Gate, which would place a rebuilt Temple slightly to the north of the Dome of the Rock. Others believe that the bedrock underneath the Dome of the Rock was the original bedrock where the Holy of Holies once stood, and that the rebuilding of the Temple would necessitate the Dome's destruction. Incidentally, the Dome of the Rock, also known as the Mosque of Omar, is actually a Muslim shrine and not a mosque. Muslims revere the al Aqsa mosque, which is located at the far end of the Temple courtyard, as the place where Mohammed ascended into heaven (even though Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Qur'an). But the Dome of the Rock is less revered than the al-Aqsa mosque itself. And as we have seen lately, even a prominent Muslim author has already gone on the record in calling for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. Under the present political conditions, Israel could not go ahead and rebuilt the Temple. But religiously speaking, there is little preventing them from doing it. The Bible seems to indicate that it may be the Antichrist who will open up the way for the rebuilding of the Temple, under the pretext of achieving unity between the world's religions.

I have been talking this past week with some friends of mine who are preterists, who believe that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ occurred in 70 AD and that the Jewish Temple was destroyed never to be rebuilt again. I won't go into the rights and wrongs of their views. But I believe the Temple will one day be rebuilt. The Temple mentioned in Ezekiel 40-48 has never been constructed. There are many structural and ceremonial differences between the Temple that was built by Ezra and later expanded upon by Herod and the Temple that is mentioned in Ezekiel 40-48. Whether or not the Temple mentioned in the book of Ezekiel is the Temple that the Antichrist will defile, I do not know. But I do know that preparations are now being made for the rebuilding of the Temple, and that can only mean one thing, that Jesus Christ is coming back. Micah had this to say concerning the rebuilding of the Temple and the return of Christ to this earth.

Micah 4:1-3: But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

One day the House of the Lord will be established in the top of the mountains of Jerusalem. And only then, when the Prince of Peace returns, will there be true peace on Earth and goodwill to all men (Isaiah 9:6-7).

But you can know this peace now. Jesus Christ said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid". This peace comes through the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins. Jesus Christ died for you. He was the Lamb of God who bore away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He was the one upon whom the Father laid the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). And through believing on Him for salvation, you can know your sins forgiven, and have eternal life in heaven. Why don't you turn away from your sins, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.

Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.


TIME FOR A TEMPLE?

Jewish plans to Rebuild the Temple
By Randall Price

The most volatile 35 acres on earth are undoubtedly those comprising a rectangular platform in East Jerusalem on which the ancient Jewish Temple once stood. Both the Old Testament (Is. 1:2-3; Ezek. 37:26-28; 40-48; Dan. 9:27; Mic. 4:1-2; Hag. 2:7-9; Zech 6:12-15; 14:20) and the New Testament (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; 2Th.2:4; Rev. 11:1-2) affirm that a new Temple will once again occupy this platform as part of God's end-time program for the nation of Israel.

What evidence is there in Israel today that this predicted rebuilding is close to becoming a reality?

THE PRAYER FOR THE TEMPLE

Since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D., Jewish prayers have been made for its rebuilding. Such a precedent was set by the Prophet Daniel while in Babylonian exile (Dan. 9:17), and Orthodox Jews - the denomination most desirous of a Third Temple - today recite three times daily the words: "May it be Thy will that the Temple be speedily rebuilt in our own time." Even so, almost 2,000 years have passed, Israel is largely a secular state, and many people understand this thrice-recited prayer only metaphorically. Given this largely non-religious climate, what does the modern Israeli public think of the idea of rebuilding the Temple?

In 1989, at the beginning of the Temple Movement, Time magazine reported that a 1983 newspaper poll had shown "that a surprising 18%.3 of Israelis thought it was the time to rebuild." However, since that time Israel has suffered through the Intifadah, the "peace process," and numerous riots provoked by the issue of the Temple Mount. When last year I put the question to Ehud Olmert, mayor of Jerusalem, he replied that most people were not in favor of rebuilding the Temple, believing that such an act was associated with fanatics wanting to destroy the peace process.

However, on February 11, 1996, The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement - an Israeli activist organization that publicly demonstrates in favor of rebuilding the Temple - commissioned a poll, conducted by the international Gallup organization, of Israelis of all age groups. The question asked was: "The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, headed by Gershon Salomon, put forth its main ideology on the struggle for Israeli sovereignty and the Jewish future of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and the land of Israel, and the rebuilding of the Temple. How likely would you be to support the idea of this movement?"

The results, according to the Temple Mount Faithful, were the largest show of support any organization in Israel had ever received (58%). Of the polled group, the highest percentage came from young Israelis. Depending on the usual variables in statistical surveys, this indicates a substantial increase in the readiness of Israelis to see Jewish sovereignty reasserted over the Temple Mount and a new Temple erected.

THE PROTOCOL FOR THE TEMPLE

Orthodox Jews differ as to when and how the Third Temple should be built. One school of thought believes that the Temple cannot be built in a secular state but will descend in fire from heaven completely built after a religious government is established when the Messiah arrives in the Age of Redemption. Those who follow this belief forbid entrance to the Temple Mount on the ground that someone might tread upon the site of the unlocated Holy of Holies, a place that has retained its sanctity despite the loss of the Temple. The predominate school of thought, however, is that the Torah obligates the Jewish nation to rebuild the Temple whenever it becomes possible to do so (Ex. 25:8). Therefore, since 1967, when access was gained to the Temple site, the nation has sinned in not obeying this divine command. They argue that no Temple was ever built without human preparation (1 Ki. 5-6; Ezra 3:7-11), and that this effort had divine approval (1 Chr. 22:14; 23:4).

Based on rabbinic authority, they contend that even though heaven must send the Prophet and the Messiah as a sign of redemption, this will not be done until there is national repentance and a desire to begin the task of rebuilding (see Yalkut Shimoni Samuel 106). Therefore, they say, since 1967, when Israel acquired sovereignty over the Temple site, Israel has continually experienced national problems because it has failed to rebuild. When the Palestinian Intifadah began in 1987, various Jewish groups who held this ideology felt they could wait no longer and began to work in different ways to prepare for the day when the Temple could be rebuilt. Thus was born the Temple Movement with its research and activist wings striving separately, but with a united goal.

THE PLACE FOR THE TEMPLE

In order to build the Temple, it is believed that the exact location of the former two Temple must be correctly identified. One reason for this is that it is argued that the site for the Temple was divinely appointed (Gen 22:2; Ex. 15:17; 2Sam. 24:18; 1 Chr. 21:18).

Another reason is that there also appears to be a continuity between Temples - each being build with its Holy of Holies enclosing the same protrusion of Mount Moriah known as Even ha-Shetiyah (The Foundation Stone). Because it was upon this stone that the Ark of the Covenant had been set and the Shekinah (Divine Presence) had descended (1 KI.8), departed (Ezek. 8:4; 11:23), and promised to return (Ezek. 43:1-7), it is thought that no other place can be substituted. The problem has been in locating this place. The Temple Mount platform, built to support the Temple and its courts, has been preserved down through the centuries.

While this has limited the area for the search, it is impossible to resolve the matter due to the lack of access to the site for archaeological confirmation. Nevertheless, based on many evidences that can be discerned without archaeological investigation, three major theories of location have been advanced.

One theory put forth by Tel Aviv architect Tuvia Sagiv, based on accounts in ancient sources and topographical elevations, argues that the Temple was situated at the southwestern corner of the platform near to where the Al Aqsa mosque is today. He also suggests from surveys of this area - employing ground-penetrating radar probes and infrared thermo graphic scans - that traces of underground structures may prove the presence of vaults and that Hadrian's Roman temple to Jupiter once stood in this souththern region. If this Roman temple was built over the destroyed Jewish Temple, as was often the custom, this may indicate that the Temple was originally at this location.

A more popular theory is that of Hebrew University physicist Asher Kaufmann. His research - relying upon details given in the Mishna tractate known as Middot (Measurements), computations of angles of line-of-sight between the Mount of Olives where the red heifer was sacrificed, and the eastern court of the Temple where the Great Altar stood, as well as physical clues discovered around the outside of the platform that are now destroyed or hidden by the Muslims - concludes that the Temple was built on the north-western corner of the platform only about 330 feet from the Muslim Dome of the Rock. He believes that the bedrock identifiable within a small cupola at this site, known in Arabic as the Dome of the Tablets, was the Foundation Stone within the Holy of Holies.

Another theory, with both traditional support and the consensus of Israeli archaeologists, is that the Temple stood exactly where the Dome of the Rock is today. Early research by Benjamin Mazar, the Israeli archaeologist who directed the excavations adjacent to the Temple Mount, and recent research by Leen Ritmeyer, who served as chief architect for the excavations, have produced diagrams of the locations of both the First and Second Temples, based on physical evidence remaining at the site. Ritmeyer has done extensive study of the rock within the Muslim Dome of the Rock and concluded that not only is it the Foundation Stone, but that foundation trenches and the walls of the Holy of Holies, and even the place where the Ark of the Covenant rested, are still discernible. Most of the Orthodox Jews presently preparing for a Temple have agreed upon this latter location. Once access to the site is gained for archaeological excavation, answers will be quickly forthcoming.

THE PLANS FOR THE TEMPLE

According to Temple Institute spokesman Rabbi Chaim Richman, detailed blueprints for the Third Temple have existed for the past four years. The plans were necessarily drawn according to the primary sources for this information: the Bible, Josephus, and Middot. Additions to these ancient specifications have included the use of electricity and other modern improvements that agree with Halacha (the Law). Other structures pertaining to the Temple's function have also been planned or actually built.

According to Goren, its present location adjacent to the Temple Mount is correct for the restored Temple complex as envisioned by the Prophet Ezekiel, which is to be 30 times larger than that of previous Temples. The legal stipulations that the Sanhedrin will use to govern Israel's relationship to the rebuilt Temple and its services have already been researched and are in the process of being published (the first volume in 1986) by the Research Center for Jewish Thought under the direction of Yoel Lerner.

THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE TEMPLE

Since 1987, a group of rabbinical researchers, designers, and craftsmen, under the direction of Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, have been creating in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem what they call a "Temple-in-waiting." Their efforts have resulted in computerized visualization and blueprints for the Third Temple and the production of ritually qualified vessels, garments, and other items necessary for a restoration of the Temple services. Known as the Temple Institute, this organization has been at the forefront of the publication of Third Temple research. Among the items that have been or are in the process of being created are: apparel for the high priest (his eight-layered woven robe, the golden crown worn on his head, and his jeweled breastplate bearing the names of the tribes of Israel); priestly garments and the blue-purple die (tchelet) for the priestly tsitsit (fringes on the prayer shawl); the eleven sacrificial incense spices, urns, ewers, incense pans, forks, shovels, and carts (for burnt offerings); the gold and silver mizrak (vessels used to dispense sacrificial blood on the altar); the golden laver, flasks and measuring cups (used in the libation offerings); vessels for the meal offerings; the lottery boxes (for the Day of Atonement); the mortar and pestle and the stone vessels (kelal) for grinding and holding the purifying ashes of the red heifer; the golden menorah (lamp stand); cleaving instruments and oil pitchers for replenishing the oil for its light; silver trumpets (for assembling Israel at the Temple); and the barley altar.

While a replica of the Ark of the Covenant is prominently displayed in the Temple Institute's visitors center, spokesmen for the Institute publicly state that they believe the original still exists in a secret chamber located under the Temple Mount beneath the site of the Holy of Holies. When access to the site is possible and all other ritual requirements have been met, they expect it to be recovered and take its place within the restored Temple.

THE PRIESTS FOR THE TEMPLE

According to rabbinical tradition, even though the genealogical records of the Temple were lost and Jews were scattered throughout Gentile lands, those of the tribe of Levi were forbidden to alter their names (which connoted their priestly heritage) when assimilated into foreign cultures. Thus, we continue to this day to have Levis and Cohens and derivatives of those names. Recently, a more scientific test to verify those of priestly lineage has appeared. In studies of male Jews claiming descent from Aaron, it was found that they as a group uniquely carry an aberration of the Y chromosome. Because each person's DNA is as individual as a fingerprint, this characteristic linked these men together as a separate and identifiable group that must be traced back to an original ancestor.

However, even without such information to identify priests, Rabbi Nachman Kahane, head of the Young Israel Synagogue (the closest synagogue to the Western Wall. located in the Muslim Quarter) and the Institute for Talmudic Commentaries maintain a computerized list of all known candidates in Israel. Other Orthodox organizations in Israel are helping to educate this priesthood. The Yeshiva founded by Motti Dan Hocohen, known as Ateret Cohanim, trains its students in the order of priestly service. The yeshiva states that it is not interested in activist attempts to enter the sacred precincts, but, with its sister organization Atara Leyoshna, it has aggressively attempted to acquire numerous Arab properties in the Muslim Quarter next to the Temple Mount in order to establish a "Jewish presence" in preparation for rebuilding the Temple.

THE PURIFICATION FOR THE TEMPLE

According to the rabbis of the Temple Movement, in order for a Temple to be rebuilt today, those who would enter the area of sanctity and perform the holy tasks must first be ritually pure. Because all Jews have become ceremonially unclean in the Diaspora (Dispersion), the only means to reverse this condition and establish a functioning priesthood is through the ashes of the red heifer (described in Num.19).

This year, a red heifer was born in Israel - the first in 2,000 years. There is some debate concerning its legitimacy due to the presence of several white hairs. Nevertheless, other qualified red heifers have been secured from Mississippi rancher Clyde Lott.

These have already been approved by Israeli authorities for import and are now awaiting transport to Israel.  Because the Jewish sage Maimonides taught that there had been nine red heifers between the beginning of the Tabernacle and the end of the Second Temple, and that when the tenth arrived it would be prepared by the Messianic King,  a special urgency is attached to this recovery by leaders of the Temple Institute, such as Rabbi Chaim Richman. (14)

THE POLITICS OF THE TEMPLE

The issue of rebuilding the Temple has been at the forefront of the Arab-Israeli conflict, though often downplayed. The Islamic Authority (called in Arabic the Wakf), which maintains rigid control of the Temple Mount, blamed the Israeli government for starting a fire in the Al Aqsa mosque in 1969 in order to destroy the structure and rebuild the Temple, despite the fact that a mentally unstable member of a Christian cult actually set the blaze.

Ever since, the Muslims have assumed that every incursion in or near the area - whether for archaeological or religious purposes - has been for the same purpose. For this reason, riots followed: an excavation to uncover the subterranean Western Wall tunnel in 1982, a demonstration by the Temple Mountain Faithful in 1990 in which 17 were killed, excavations to reveal the Herodian street next to the Western Wall in 1995, and the opening of an exit tunnel to the Hasmonean tunnel in 1996, in which 58 were killed.

In March 1997, Yasser Arafat was shown in a photograph - distributed internationally by the Associated Press - holding up an artist's rendering of a restored Jewish Temple and telling his people to "get ready for the next battle" (for Jerusalem). Similar calls for conflict were also issued from loudspeakers on the Temple Mount to Arabs in East Jerusalem during each of the preceding riots.

RELIGIOUS ACCESS TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT

Since 1967, when the Israeli government returned jurisdiction of the Islamic holy places on the Temple Mount to the Wakf, Jews (and Christians) have been forbidden under Islamic law to enter the area for religious purposes. However, the law protecting the holy places adopted by the Knesset on June 27, 1967, had as one of its provisions:

"Whoever does anything that is likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the various religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment..."

This included Jews who above all regarded the Temple Mount with utmost reverence and had just fought to recover it.

Nevertheless, after 30 years in a united Jerusalem with the Temple Mount under Israeli sovereignty, Jews still are not permitted access to the site of the Temple for prayers or religious acts of any kind. Last year, however, the Israeli Supreme Court finally issued a ruling upholding the right of Jews to pray on the site. In a letter from Benjamin Netanyahu to Yehuda Etzion, the activist whose trial for resisting arrest, when forcibly removed from the Temple Mount after attempting to pray, resulted in the court ruling, the Prime Minister stated:

"The right of the Jewish people to its holy place - the Temple Mount - cannot be questioned. I believe it is necessary to arrange for Jewish prayer at the site, especially given that we permit freedom of worship to all religions in Jerusalem..."

If access to the site of the Temple is soon permitted for religious purposes, many services long suspended since the Temple's destruction will be reinstituted. Such actions, it has been argued, would further demand a rebuilt Temple to complete and focus these acts of devotions (see Ezra 3:2-3). For this reason, Gershon Salomon's Temple Mount Faithful have attempted to offer a Passover sacrifice near the site of the ancient altar, which they believe to be the Dome of the Rock. Salomon states why his organization believes this sacrifice is so important:

"Major rabbis during the time after the destruction of the Temple, especially Rabbi Tucochinsky in Jerusalem in the 1930s, stated that the first Passover sacrifice which will be made about the coming of Mashiach ben David and the rebuilding of the Temple."

 Although denied access to the Mount for this purpose, last Passover (April 8), members of the group cut the Omer Hatnofah (first wheat harvest) from Israeli fields and symbolically offered it as firstfruits on a makeshift Temple altar. Members carried small stones from their fields and deposited them on the pavement of the Temple Mount. In addition, during the annual Feast of Tabernacles, the group conducts a restored water libation ceremony (originally performed when the Temple was standing) at the Pool of Siloam. Along with this, they regularly attempt to lay a cornerstone, which they have made for the Third Temple on the Temple Mount, and don chains and sackcloth and march to the site every year on Tisha B'Av (the time of mourning the destruction of the Second Temple).

THE PERSPECTIVE FOR THE TEMPLE?

The modern physical preparations and political demonstrations by Orthodox Jews point toward the ultimate fulfillment of a restored Jewish Temple. The first of these will be rebuilt to occupy a prominent role in the period known as "the time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7), or the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; 2 Th. 2:4; Rev. 11:1-2). The last of these will be designated as the Messiah's Temple and will appear in the Millennial Kingdom (Is. 2:2-3; 66:23; Ezek. 37:26-28; 40-48; Mic. 4;1-2; Hag. 2:7-9; Zech. 6:12-15; 14:2, 16-21).

These Temples will play an important role in the future prophetic program for Israel and the Gentile nations (Is. 56:6-7; Jer. 3:17; Zech. 6:15). For believers in this age of the church who are awaiting the Rapture - an event that will occur before the Tribulation commences with the signing of the covenant of Daniel 9:27 - these presents efforts to rebuild represents a significant sign of events that will be part of the Tribulation. As such, readiness to rebuild announces the nearness of the coming day and encourages us as believers to live godly and productive lives as we watch and wait for the "blessed hope" (Rom. 13:11-14; 1th. 1:10; 5:5-11; Ti. 2:13).


Jerusalem Post: Articles and topics: Quarry for Herod's Second Temple discovered. July 6, 2009

A quarry from the late Second Temple Period that produced stone to build the Temple Mount's supporting walls has been uncovered in central Jerusalem, the Antiquities Authority said Monday.

The latest discovery brought to three the number of quarries found in the city over the past two years which archeologists believe were used in the construction of the Temple walls.

The 2,030-year-old quarry, which spans more than one dunam (0.1 hectare), was discovered during a salvage excavation on the city's Rehov Shmuel Hanevi ahead of planned construction of residential buildings at the site, the Authority said.

The immense size of the stones found at the site, reaching a height of 2 meters, indicate that they were used in the construction of King Herod's magnificent projects in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount walls, said Dr. Ofer Sion, the director of the dig at the site.

"We know from historical sources that in order to build the Temple and other projects which Herod constructed, such as his palace, hundreds of thousands of various size stones were required - most of them weighing between two and five tons each," he said. "The dimensions of the stones that were produced in the quarry that was revealed are suitable for the Temple walls."

Sion added that the quarry that was exposed was actually a small part of a large series of quarries that was spread across the entire slope, from Musrara to the Sanhedria neighborhood.

He said the recent exposure of the quarries in Sanhedria and in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, farther north, indicate that Herod began quarrying closest to the Temple Mount, and then worked away from it.

In those days the world of hi-tech focused on quarrying, removing and transporting stones," Sion said.

Historical sources record that Herod trained more than 10,000 people to be involved in this work: They prepared transportation routes and then moved the huge stones in a variety of ways - on rolling wooden fixtures that were drawn by camels, in pieces on carriages, etc.

Among the artifacts discovered in the excavation were metal plates that were used to severe the stones from the bedrock, as well as coins and pottery shards that date to the end of the Second Temple period.

Dozens of quarries have been found in Jerusalem, but these are the first three that archeologists think were used in the construction of the Temple Mount.

A few dozens quarries were likely used in the building of the Temple Mount, said Prof. Amos Kloner, a former Jerusalem district archaeologist at the Antiquities Authority.


Can Third Temple be built without destroying Dome of the Rock?
By MATTHEW WAGNER

A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.

"God's Holy Mountain Vision" project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews' end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam's present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount. "This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians," said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative. The Interfaith Encounter Association at the Mishkenot Sha'ananim's Konrad Adenauer Conference Center in Jerusalem is sponsoring the program, which includes interfaith study and other educational projects.

According to Islamic tradition, the Dome of the Rock, built in 691, marks the spot where Muhammed ascended to Heaven. But according to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah, now under the Dome of the Rock, is where the Temple's Holy of Holies was situated.

Until now Jewish tradition has assumed that destruction of the Dome of the Rock was a precondition for the building of the third and last Temple. However, in an article that appeared in 2007 in Tehumin, an influential journal of Jewish law, Frankel, a young scholar, presented a different option. His main argument is that Jewish doctrine regarding the rebuilding of the Temple emphasizes the role of a prophet. This prophet would have extraordinary authority, including the discretion to specify the Temple's precise location, regardless of any diverging Jewish traditions. Frankel considers the scenario of a holy revelation given to an authentic prophet that the Temple be rebuilt on the current or an extended Temple Mount in peaceful proximity to the dome and other houses of prayer such as the Aksa Mosque and nearby Christian shrines. However, both Muslims and Jews have expressed opposition to the initiative. Sheikh Abdulla Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said it was pointless to talk about what would happen when the mahdi, the Muslim equivalent of the messiah, would reveal himself. "Why are we taking upon ourselves the responsibility to decide such things?" Darwish said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. "Even Jews believe that it is prohibited to rebuild the Temple until the messiah comes. So what is there to talk about. "The mahdi will decide whether or not to rebuild the Temple. If he decides that it should be rebuilt, I will go out to the Temple Mount and help carry the rocks." Darwish warned against any attempt to rebuild the Temple before the coming of the mahdi. "As long as there is a Muslim alive, no Jewish Temple will be built on Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount]. The status quo must be maintained, otherwise there will be bloodshed." In contrast, Baruch Ben-Yosef, chairman of the Movement to Restore the Temple, made it clear that the Temple had to be built where the Dome of the Rock presently stands. "Anybody who says anything else simply does not know what he is talking about," he said. "A prophet does not have the power to change the law which explicitly states the location of the Temple." Ben-Yosef also rejected the idea that rebuilding of the Temple had to be done by a prophet. "All you need is a Sanhedrin," he said.

Mainstream Orthodox rabbis have opposed attempts to rebuild the Temple since the Mount came under Israeli control in 1967.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel even issued a decree prohibiting Jews from entering the area due to ritual purity issues.

However, several grassroots organizations such as the Movement to Restore the Temple, and maverick rabbis, including Rabbi Israel Ariel, head of the capital's Temple Institute and a leading member of the revived Sanhedrin led by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, have called to take steps to renew the sacrifices on the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple.


Greetings from Ahimelekh and Yehokhil, from Netofa in Judah

Royal seal impressions were discovered in excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority at Umm Tuba, in the southern hills of Jerusalem.

A large building that dates to the time of the First and Second Temples, in which there was an amazing wealth of inscriptions, was discovered in a salvage excavation conducted by Zubair Adawi, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in the village of Umm Tuba in southern Jerusalem (between Zur Bahar and the Har Homa quarter), prior to construction work by a private contractor.

Considering the limited area of the excavation and the rural nature of the structure that was revealed, the excavators were surprised to discover in it so many royal seal impressions that date to the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah (end of the eighth century BCE). Four "LMLK" type impressions were discovered on handles of large jars that were used to store wine and oil in royal administrative centers. These were found together with the seal impressions of two high ranking officials named Ahimelekh ben Amadyahu and Yehokhil ben Shahar, who served in the kingdom's government. The Yehokhil seal was stamped on one of the LMLK impressions before the jar was fired in a kiln and this is a very rare instance in which two such impressions appear together on a single handle.

Another Hebrew inscription, 600 years later than the seal impressions of the Kingdom of Judah, was discovered on a fragment of a jar neck that dates to the Hasmonean period. An alphabetic sequence was engraved with a thin iron stylus below the vessel's rim in Hebrew script that is characteristic of the beginning of the Hasmonean period (end of the second century BCE). The letters hay to yod and a small part of the letter kaf were preserved on the sherd. Similar inscriptions bearing alphabetic sequences were discovered in the past, usually on ostraca (inscriptions written in ink on pottery sherds) or engraved on ossuaries (stone receptacles in which human bones were buried). The alphabetic inscription that was discovered in this instance is unique and the significance of it requires further study: was this a "writing exercise" done by an apprentice scribe or should we ascribe it some magical importance?

The remains of the large building included several rooms arranged around a courtyard. Pits, agricultural installations and subterranean silos were hewn inside the courtyard. A potter's kiln, a large columbarium cave in which there is a rock-hewn hiding refuge, pottery vessels, etc were also discovered inside the built complex. The pottery vessels that were recovered from the ruins of the building indicate it first dates to the end of the Iron Age (the First Temple period) in the eighth century BCE. Following its destruction, along with Jerusalem and all of Judah during the Babylonian conquest, Jews reoccupied it in the Hasmonean period (second century BCE) and it existed for another two hundred years until the destruction of the Second Temple. During the Byzantine period the place was reinhabited as part of the extensive rural settlement of monasteries and farmsteads in the region between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Some three years ago the impressive remains of a monastery from this period were excavated that together with the remains of the current excavation confirm the identification of the place as "Metofa", which is mentioned in the writings of the church fathers in the Byzantine period. The name of the Arab village, "Umm Tuba" is therefore a derivation of Byzantine "Metofa", which is Biblical "Netofa" and is mentioned as the place from which two of David's heroes originated (2 Samuel 23:28-29).

Visit here for downloading high resolution pictures.
Photographic credit: Mariana Saltzberger, Israel Antiquities Authority.

For additional details, kindly contact: Meyrav Shay, Acting Spokesperson of the Israel Antiquities Authority: 972-52-4284408, meyrav@israntique.org.il


FROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAU

What? Israel to help Muslims carve Quranic verses on Temple Mount Islamic writings all over holiest site for Judaism

Posted: September 16, 2008
By Aaron Klein
©2008 WorldNetDaily

The Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – After three years of waiting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert quietly has granted permission to the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount to repair and enhance Quranic verses plastered around Judaism's holiest site, WND has learned.

The approval came as result of the petitioning of the Israeli government by Jordan, which has been solidifying control over the Temple Mount in recent years.

There are more than 4,000 Quranic quotations written in Arabic calligraphy and carved into various Islamic buildings throughout the Temple Mount, including inside and outside the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

Six hundred of the carved verses are in poor condition, according to the Waqf, the Mount's Muslim custodians.

The Waqf has been asking Israel for permission to repair the Quranic quotation carvings for years now. It even transported to the Israeli port city of Ashdod boxes of European tools and machinery especially made to repair the Temple Mount Quranic verses. The tools have been sitting in Ashdod for three years, according to informed sources.

Following Jordanian intervention, Olmert last week gave the Waqf approval to begin fixing the Quranic quotes, the informed sources told WND.

Jordan controlled areas of eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, from 1948 until Israel recaptured the site in the 1967 Six Day War.

During the period of Jordanian control, Jews were barred from the Western Wall and Temple Mount, and hundreds of synagogues in eastern Jerusalem were destroyed. Jordan constructed a road that stretched across the Mount of Olives, adjacent to the Temple Mount, bulldozing hundreds of Jewish gravestones in the process.

Following the Six Day War, one of the first acts of Moshe Dayan, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, was to ensure the Jordanian-allied Mufti of Jerusalem, Abd Al Hamid A Saih, the holy site would remain under Islamic custodianship.

Dayan later also famously ordered an Israeli flag removed from the Dome of the Rock.

Jordan continues to maintain a major influence over the Temple Mount. Sheik Azzam Khateeb, who was installed in February 2007 as the new manager of the Waqf, is known to be close to the Jordanian monarchy. The previous Waqf manager, Sheik Adnon Husseini, was loyal to Palestinian Authority although toward the end of his rein, he seemed to be warming to Jordan.

In a gesture to Jordan, in January 2006, Israel granted Jordan permission to replace the main podium in the Al Aqsa Mosque from which Islamic preachers deliver their sermons. The podium, which was partially funded by Saudi Arabia, is considered one of the most important stands in the Muslim world. Muslims now believe it marks the "exact spot" Muhammad went up to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.

The new stand bears the emblem of the Jordanian kingdom. It replaced a 1,000-year-old podium believed to have been shipped to Jerusalem by the Islamic conqueror Saladin.

That stand was destroyed in 1969, when an Australian tourist set fire to the Al Aqsa Mosque.

In recent years, Jordan quietly has been purchasing real estate surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in hopes of gaining more control over the area accessing the holy site, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials speaking to WND.

The officials disclosed the Jordanian kingdom in 2006 and 2007 used shell companies to purchase several apartments and shops located at key peripheral sections of the Temple Mount. The shell companies at times presented themselves as acting on behalf of the Waqf custodians of the Temple Mount, according to information obtained.

The officials said Jordan also set up a commission to use the shell companies to petition mostly Arab landowners adjacent to eastern sections of the Temple Mount to sell their properties. They said profits from sales at any purchased shops would be reinvested to buy more real estate near the Mount and in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. The First Jewish Temple was built there by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's shechina or "presence" dwelt. All Jewish holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Jewish Temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place for the Jewish people.

According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. The site is believed to be the Biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.

Jewish tradition holds Mashiach, or the Jewish Messiah, will return and rebuild the third and final Temple on the Mount in Jerusalem.

The Kotel, or Western Wall, is the one part of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and stands today in Jerusalem.

Throughout all notorious Jewish exiles, thorough documentation shows the Jews never gave up their hope of returning to Jerusalem and re-establishing their Temple. To this day Jews worldwide pray facing the Western Wall, while Muslims turn their backs away from the Temple Mount and pray toward Mecca.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph.

About 100 years ago, Al Aqsa in Jerusalem became associated with the place Muslims came to believe Muhammad ascended to heaven. Jerusalem, however, is not mentioned in the Quran.

Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque," and from a rock there ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah that became part of the Quran.

Palestinians today claim exclusivity over the Temple Mount and Palestinian leaders routinely deny Jewish historic connection to the site, but historically, Muslims did not claim the Al Aqsa Mosque as their third holiest site and admitted the Jewish Temples existed.

According to research by Israeli author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam previously disregarded Jerusalem. He points out in his book "How Dreadful Is this Place!" that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. Berkovits wrote that Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship, and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God.

As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula, and that "in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron."

It wasn't until the late 19th century – incidentally when Jews started immigrating to Palestine – that some Muslim scholars began claiming Muhammad tied his horse to the Western Wall and associated Muhammad's purported night journey with the Temple Mount.

A guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published in 1925 listed the Mount as the site of Solomon's Temple.

The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 "Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif," which states on page 4, "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute.

This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord.'"


Digging out the truth?
By LELA GILBERT

My first introduction to Jerusalem in 2006 took place on Tisha Be'av, the fast commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples. I stood at the Western Wall, during that time of the Second War in Lebanon, watching thousands of Jewish faithful, from all different walks of life - women and men, soldiers and Hassidim, Sephardim and Ashkenazim - gathered in unity to remember and to mourn. It was like entering the very soul of Israel.

Gabriel Barkay. 'Temple denial is more serious and more dangerous than Holocaust denial.'

This Tisha Be'av caused me to reflect further on those lost Temples, particularly now that I have spent two years in the country, during which I had occasion to visit the Temple Mount. After passing through two security checks before entering, a different world appeared - one with no visible vestige of Judaism - on that ancient and holiest of Jewish sites.

Christianity hasn't fared any better. In fact, for Christians, the writing is on the wall - literally and figuratively - the wall inside the Dome of the Rock. In Arabic calligraphy dating from the seventh century, the text declares that God has no son; that Jesus was not resurrected (Islam also denies that he was crucified); that Jews and Christians, "the People of the Book," transgress by not embracing Muhammad's revelation; and that Allah's reckoning will come swiftly on those who do not believe.

Christians' attachment to the Temple Mount is based on Jesus's words and deeds as recorded in the Gospels.

It was strange enough for me to discover, therefore, that Jews and Christians are not permitted to read their scriptures or pray aloud there. But it wasn't until learning that during the 2000 Camp David negotiations, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat had denied that any Jewish Temple had ever existed on the Mount that I grasped the depth of the divergence from the Hebrew Scripture, New Testament and historical records that is out there, and not as fringe an idea as one might assume.

SIFTING THROUGH tons of rubble that had been illicitly dug up on the Temple Mount by the Muslim Wakf and stealthily dumped into a landfill, biblical archeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay, professor at Bar-Ilan University, is in the midst of the project of a lifetime. I put the question of Temple denial to him.

"This denial of the historical, spiritual and archeological connections of the Jews to the Temple Mount is something new," he says. "There was always talk about the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem - called the 'praise of Jerusalem'- in Arabic literature, in Islamic literature. This new idea of Temple denial is due to the Arabic fear of Jewish aspirations connected to the Temple Mount. It is part of something I call the 'cultural intifada.'"

Barkay says the change took place in the 1990s: "In the Washington DC think tanks surrounding president Bill Clinton, it was understood that the Temple Mount was the crux of the problem of the Middle East conflict. These think tanks decided that if there could be 'split sovereignty' on the Temple Mount, then split sovereignty could also be achieved over the entire land of Palestine. So they suggested that in a future agreement, the Temple Mount would be split horizontally. That is to say that whatever is above ground, the part that includes the shrines of the Muslims, would be under Palestinian sovereignty. Whatever is underground, which would include the remnants of the Temple of the Jews, would be under Israeli sovereignty.

"It's a brilliant idea, an excellent idea, but totally idiotic from a practical point of view. You cannot have a building standing with its foundations in another country. You cannot have a building with the infrastructure and the plumbing in another country. And you cannot have sovereignty on the subground without having accessibility to the subground, because the accessibility is from above ground. The whole thing was stupid."

Barkay explains that the Temple Mount is honeycombed with more than 50 different cavities, holes, passageways and cisterns that are "filled with earth which is saturated with very valuable archeological materials. Enormous damage was done in these works which were carried out mainly from 1996 and onward. The idea that came from the circles surrounding Bill Clinton and leaked to the Wakf authorities is what generated the illicit building activities - I wouldn't call them excavations - but destructive work which was carried out brutally on the Temple Mount. The fear, the fear of anything representing a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount drove them mad."

PRIOR TO my own visits to the Mount, I had been warned not to carry a bible or "holy objects" with me, and to stay away from the Dome of the Rock shrine and the Aksa Mosque, into which non-Muslims are forbidden to go. Nor was I allowed to see a third edifice which I'd read about - the Marwani Mosque - a gigantic, subterranean building, located in the southeast corner of the Temple Mount Plaza. In 1996, the Wakf had reconfigured an underground structure, formerly known as "Solomon's Stables," into a mosque. Their contractors lowered the inside surface of the building by removing large quantities of priceless soil, rich in archeological evidence.

According to Barkay, the history they hauled away in dump trucks was not Muslim. "The building was never a mosque. It is actually more connected to traditions about Jesus. There are quite solid hints in the literature of the existence of an early Christian church there, marking the place where St. James was killed in the first century. The place is more Christian than Muslim."

In November 1999, the Wakf asked permission from the Israeli government to open an emergency exit leading from the Marwani Mosque.

"The prime minister at that time was Ehud Barak, and as usual he didn't consult with anybody else," Barkay recalls. "He gave them permission. But instead of an emergency exit, they created a main entrance to the building - a monumental entrance. For that entrance, they dug a pit 40 meters long and 12 meters deep. They did it with bulldozers in the most destructive manner possible, that of a bull in a china shop. The work on that place should have been done carefully, not with bulldozers. They removed 400 truckloads of earth."

For Barkay, sifting through those truckloads of material is essential, because it amounts to exploring a black hole in archeological history. Although Israel is one of the most excavated places in the world, explored continuously since the 1850s, the Temple Mount has been surveyed but never excavated. Therefore, ironically, the digging and removal of earth in the 1990s has provided a new opportunity.

"At least it enables us to look at the soil, though everything comes from a very disturbed context," Barkay says. "But we know it comes from the Temple Mount. And we have tens of thousands of finds."

These finds, that cover approximately 15,000 years, have altered the historic understanding of the area's history. Sponsored by the Ir David Foundation, volunteers working with Barkay have been sifting through the debris, and have found Stone Age flint implements. They have discovered pre-Israelite material, Bronze Age pottery, two Egyptian scarabs and several seals and seal impressions.

One very significant find, confirming the recorded history of the Temple's existence, is the fragment of a bulla, a clay lump with a seal impression upon it, which is about 2,600 years old and dates from the First Temple period. Its inscription bears part of official's name, Gealyahu son of Immer. The Immer family is recorded in the Bible. "In Jeremiah 20:1," Barkay says, "probably the brother of Gealyahu is mentioned, a priestly man named Pashur son of Immer. He is introduced as the man in charge of the Temple."

Findings from the time of Solomon's Temple up to the 20th century illuminate the raging conflicts of passing civilizations. "We have enormous quantities of war artifacts: We have lead slingshots of the Seleucid armies in the battles of Judah Maccabee. We have arrowheads of the army of Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the First Temple. We have arrowheads of the Hellenistic period. We have one arrowhead bearing distinguishing markings of having been shot by a catapult. Those machines were only used by the armies of Titus in 70 CE in the destruction of the Second Temple. We have stone slingshots; we have spearheads; and we have medieval arrowheads from the Crusader conquest of the Temple Mount. There are even bullets from both the Turkish army and the British army in World War I."

Other findings on the Temple Mount - jewelry, coins, pottery shards and architectural fragments - provide specific details of human life spanning several millennia. "We have material dating back to the 10th century BCE, the time of David and Solomon. We have material from the time of the kings of Judah. We have material in abundance from the early Christian period. This is very significant, because it is written in most history books that the churches moved to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher after it was built (it dates back to at least the fourth century), and that thereafter the Temple Mount was neglected and was a garbage heap. But now we have to build a new history, based on archeological evidence.

"We have fragments of capitals from church buildings. We have remnants of chancel screens that separated the presbytery from the nave of the church. We have several bronze weights for weighing gold coins from the Christian era. We have to rethink the role of the Temple Mount in the time of early Christianity. Was it a garbage heap? Or is that biased history? I think that history was ideological."

Barkay says that large quantities of animal bones have been found on the Mount. "Bones are very important. We have pig bones which had to have come from pagan or Christian times. We also have bones of foxes. And that is interesting, because in the Talmud we have a story about foxes which until recently I thought was a legend."

IN SPITE of these discoveries, Temple denial remains a growing phenomenon in Europe and America, particularly in leftist intellectual circles. It is supported by the reality that there are no visible remains of the temples of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. Barkay contends that there were remains still visible in the 1960s and 1970s, which have either been removed or covered up by gardens.

"The Islamic Wakf says, 'We are not going to let you dig, but show us any remains of the Temple.' You cannot have it both ways. If you don't allow people to dig, then don't use this absence of remains as an argument.

"Temple denial is a very tragic harnessing of politics to change history. It is not a different interpretation of historical events or archeological evidence. This is something major. I think that Temple denial is more serious and more dangerous than Holocaust denial. Why? Because for the Holocaust there are still living witnesses. There are photographs; there are archives; there are the soldiers who released the prisoners; there are testimonies from the Nazis themselves. There were trials, a whole series of them, starting with Nuremberg. There are people who survived the Holocaust still among us. Concerning the Temple, there are no people among us who remember.

"Still, [to deny the Temples], you have to dismiss the evidence of Flavius Josephus; you have to dismiss the evidence of the Mishna and of the Talmud; and you have to dismiss the writings of Roman and Greek historians who mention the Temple of Jerusalem. And you have to dismiss The Bible. That is, I think, way too much."

The writer has authored or co-authored more than 60 books, primarily in the field of ecumenical Christian non-fiction. Her work includes the recently released biography Baroness Cox: Eyewitness to a Broken World and the award-winning Their Blood Cries Out, co-authored with Paul Marshall. She is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. (Jerusaelm Post Opinions, August 14, 2008).


Arab agents infiltrate Temple Mount

'Muslim countries vying for influence, expecting Israel to give up holy site'

Posted: June 25, 2008, 9:39 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
(c) 2008 WorldNetDaily

Temple Mount

JERUSALEM - A number of Arab states quietly have sent intelligence agents to infiltrate the Temple Mount to determine how they can obtain more influence over Judaism's holiest site, informed security sources told WND.

"It's possible in the coming two years a deal will be made that transfers the Temple Mount out from Israeli hands," said a security source. "The Arab countries are vying for influence, since they think controlling the site means big prestige in the Muslim world."

The security sources said the Arab agents mostly are attempting to infiltrate the Waqf, the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount, securing all sorts of positions from Waqf garden workers through religious clerics inside the Mount's many mosques.

The Waqf is largely controlled by Jordan, which took over top positions from the Palestinian Authority in recent years.

The sources said the agents' primary job is to collect information on how to gain more influence on the site. The agents also are to report on which Waqf officials are paid by Jordan, through which clerics can be suspected of having good relations with Israel.

"The Arab countries want to work their way in so Jordan doesn't get the most control once Israel gives up the Mount," said a security source.

Saudi Arabia sent the most agents to the Mount, but other countries, including Egypt, also sent agents, security sources said. "Don't be surprised if in the near future even Somalia sends some people over to study how to have influence on the Mount," said a security source.

In line with Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis conference, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is working to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year. Olmert is widely expected to announce Israeli evacuations from most of the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is located in eastern Jerusalem, although Israel is not expected to immediately give up the holy site during the initial attempted creation of a Palestinian state.

The Arab countries are "near certain" Israel will eventually evacuate the Temple Mount and likely hand it over to the PA together with a coalition of Muslim states, said an informed security source.

Temple Mount '100 percent Islamic'

Mainstream Palestinian leaders claim the Temple Mount is Muslim in spite of overwhelming archaeological evidence documenting the first and second Jewish temples.

Earlier this month, Rafiq Al Husseini, the chief of staff for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, declared Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong to the Muslims and said any Israeli action that "offends" the Mount will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims.

"Jerusalem is Muslim. The blessed Al Aqsa mosque and Harem Al Sharif (Temple Mount) is 100 percent Muslim. The Israelis are playing with fire when they threaten Al Aqsa with digging that is taking place," Husseini said.

In a WND exclusive interview last year, Taysir Tamimi, chief Palestinian Justice and one of the most influential Muslim leaders in Israel, argued the Jewish Temples never existed, the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad's horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam.

Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.

"Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city, and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s," said Tamimi.

"About these so-called two Temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount]," Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office.

The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged. He contended the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish when they actually were prophets for Islam.

"All this is not real. We don't believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews," said Tamimi.

He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were "prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam."

Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad's horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years.

"The Western wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It's where prophet Muhammad tied his animal which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah."

The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem.

Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque , which has sprung leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels. "Al Aqsa was built by the angels 40 years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true," he said.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place for Israelites.

According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It's believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.

The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times. Muslims worldwide pray with their backs away from the Temple Mount and toward Mecca.

Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from "a sacred mosque" - believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia - to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.

According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem. Berkovits points out in his new book, "How dreadful is this place!" that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place - the Kaaba in Mecca - to signify the unity of God.

As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula, and that "in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron."

It wasn't until the late 19th century - when Jews started immigrating to Palestine - that some Muslim scholars began claiming Muhammad tied his horse to the Western Wall and associated Muhammad's purported night journey with the Temple Mount.


Inevitability of Third Temple
By Anne T. Garcia
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 4:06 PM CDT

As various factions call for peace in the Middle East, observant Jews and Christians ask the same question: When will construction on the Third Temple begin?

This is a hot button issue, with Moslems opposed to any increased Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. Still, those in the know understand there will soon be another Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah.

Let's review history. The first Temple, built by Solomon, was dedicated in 960 B.C. and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second Temple, later called Herod's Temple, was dedicated in 515 B.C. It was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 and the Jews were scattered throughout the earth.

The future Temple must be built on precisely the same spot where the first two stood.

Why? Because God Himself chose the spot, as He spoke to Solomon (pay special attention to the word "place"): "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever." (2 Chronicles 7:15,16)

However, there is a bit of a problem with the place God chose to be His special place. Namely, it has been occupied by the Arabs for the past 1,300 years.

Traditionally, scholars have held the Dome of the Rock hovers over God's special place and will have to go to make room for the Third Temple. How would the Jews be able to build on Islam's third holiest site?

Several possibilities could be considered:

--The Arabs could disassemble the Dome of the Rock and reassemble it on Arab property--not likely.

--The Dome might fall via a so-called "act of God," such as an earthquake.

--A military conflict might destroy the edifice, a possibility the Israelis studiously avoid.

The question remains, how can the Jews build a Temple on the site where Mohammad allegedly ascended into heaven to visit with Allah?

Within the last generation a fourth possible scenario has emerged. Could it be that the Dome of the Rock is not the exact location of the previous Temples? Is it possible that the solution is for the Temple and the Dome to stand side by side on the Temple Mount?

In the 1980s Dr. Asher Kaufman, professor of physics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, suggested an alternate site for the two previous Temples. He believes the Temples may have been located northward, where the Islamic "Dome of the Tablets" now stands.

Then about seven years ago Tel Aviv architect Tuvia Sagiv proposed a southern site for the earlier Temples. In his thinking the Temples were located east of the Western Wall, where the El Kas fountain stands.

It will probably require archeological digs to determine the correct spot. This is implausible in the present political milieu. But if there is a peace deal, then it may be time.

Some argue it wouldn't be fitting to put a Temple next to a structure dedicated to Allah. Yet the Book of Revelation implies this may be how it is actually going to work out.

Notice that in Revelation 11 John is given a measuring rod and instructed to measure the Third Temple: "Rise and measure the Temple of God, the altar and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the Temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the gentiles." (Revelation 11:1,2)

Clearly from this passage we see the Temple next to a gentile presence on the Temple Mount. Are we on the cusp of the fulfillment of a major prophecy? We are living in the most exciting time since Jesus walked the earth 2,000 years ago.

Anne T. Garcia's television show, "Understanding the End of the Age" can be accessed on Direct TV every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on channel 376 and 1 p.m. on channel 377. For more information, or to contact her go to fromthehidden.com.
http://monroecountyclarion.stltoday.com/articles/2008/04/08/opinions/doc47fbc4a63990f519030828.txt


First-Ever: First-Temple Building Remains Found Near Temple Mount

by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) The Israel Antiquities Authority announces the first time in the history of the archaeological research of Jerusalem that building remains from the First Temple period have been exposed so close to the Temple Mount--on the eastern slopes of the Upper City.

A rich layer of finds from the latter part of the First Temple period (8th-6th centuries B.C.E.) has been discovered in archaeological rescue excavations near the Western Wall plaza. The dig is being carried out in the northwestern part of the Western Wall plaza, near the staircase leading up towards the Jaffa Gate.

The Israel Antiquties Authority has been conducting the excavations for the past two years under the direction of archaeologists Shlomit Wexler-Bdoulah and Alexander Onn, in cooperation with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The remains of a magnificent colonnaded street [i.e., lined by columns] from the 2nd century C.E. were uncovered; the street appears on the mosaic Madaba map, and is referred to by the name Eastern Cardo. The level of the Eastern Cardo is paved with large heavy limestone pavers that were set directly atop the layer that dates to the end of the First Temple period. This Roman road thus "seals" beneath it the finds from the First Temple period, protecting them from being plundered in later periods.

The walls of the buildings found in the dig are preserved to a height of more than two meters.

Ring Seal Found, Inscribed with Owner's Name

Another impressive artifact found in the salvage excavations is a personal Hebrew seal made of a semi-precious stone that was apparently inlaid in a ring. The seal is elliptical and measures approximately 1 by 1.4 centimeters.

The seal's surface is divided into three strips separated by a double line: in the upper strip is a chain decoration comprising four pomegranates, and in the two bottom strips is the name of the owner of the seal, engraved in ancient Hebrew script. It reads: "[Belonging] to Netanyahu ben [son of] Yaush." Though each of the two names are not unfamiliar, no one with that name is known to scholars of the period.

A vast amount of pottery vessels was also discovered, among them three jar handles that bear similar stamped impressions. An inscription written in ancient Hebrew script is preserved on one these impressions, reading "Belonging] to the King of Hevron."

Note: These finds are particularly important in that Muslims are stepping up their program of historical revisionism and denying that there ever was a temple in Jerusalem.


Arab leader denies temple ever existed

JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 10, 2008
www.jpost.com

The al-Aqsa mosque was never the site of a Jewish temple, Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, said Monday during a press conference he convened in Jerusalem to respond to voices calling for the expulsion of Israeli residents of the city who participate in terror activities against Israel.

"Those calling for the expulsion of Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem are hysterical and stupid and belong in the trash can," Salah said at the conference. He went on to deny any Israeli or Jewish historical claim to the city, denying that there ever existed a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.

"The claims of the Jews are big lies and they have no right to any speck of dust here," he said.

Israel, he claimed, was carrying out extensive digs under al-Aqsa mosque, and was hiding destructive tunnels under the compound which had already caused damage to the mosque and several houses in the Muslim Quarter.

"I think that we are at a critical time. We believe that al-Aqsa is in danger and that it is under occupation, and we believe that Jerusalem is in danger because it is under occupation," Salah said. "Jerusalem is not only houses - it is faith, it is history, it is a culture, it is a present, a future and an eternal right that we will not relinquish."

In January, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz filed an indictment against Salah, charging him with incitement to violence and racism in a speech he made last year protesting the archeological dig carried out at the Old City's Mughrabi Gate.

During his sermon in Jerusalem's Wadi Joz neighborhood on February 16 of last year, Salah urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to "save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation."

Salah's speech also attacked Jews, saying, "They want to build their temple at a time when our blood is on their clothes, on their doorsteps, in their food and in their drinks. Our blood has passed from one 'general terrorist' to another 'general terrorist.'"

He also said, "We are not those who ate bread dipped in children's blood."


Former mufti: Western Wall was never part of Jewish temple

Mike Seid , THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 25, 2007

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380646406&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The former mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, has made the claim that there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall was really part of a mosque.

"There was never a Jewish temple on Al-Aksa [the mosque compound] and there is no proof that there was ever a temple," he told The Jerusalem Post via a translator. "Because Allah is fair, he would not agree to make Al-Aksa if there were a temple there for others beforehand."

Sabri rejected Judaism's claim to the Western Wall as part of the outer wall of the Second Temple.

"The wall is not part of the Jewish temple. It is just the western wall of the mosque," he said. "There is not a single stone with any relation at all to the history of the Hebrews."

Asked if Jews would ever be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount under Muslim control, he replied: "It is not the Temple Mount, you must say Al-Aksa. And no Jews have the right to pray at the mosque. It was always only a mosque - all 144 dunams, the entire area. No Jewish prayer. If the Jews want real peace, they must not do anything to try to pray on Al-Aksa. Everyone knows that."

"Zionism tries to trick the Jews claiming that this was part of a Jewish temple, but they dug there and they found nothing," Sabri added.

Archeologists overseeing Islamic infrastructure work on the Mount announced this week that they had unveiled a sealed archeological level dating back to the First Temple period.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century BCE, and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was built 70 years later, enlarged during the first century BCE by Herod, and destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.

The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque were constructed on the Temple Mount site in the late seventh century.

The controversial issue of the holy sites is expected to come up during negotiations ahead of a US-sponsored summit on the Middle East in Annapolis later this year.

Palestinian leaders, most notably the late Yasser Arafat, have consistently denied Jewish claims to the Mount.

Sabri made the comments in an interview with the Post's Friday supplement, In Jerusalem, for a cover story on how religious leaders view the capital.


Archeologists find link to First Temple era

E-mail News Brief

Tell the Editors - JTA News

Published: 10/21/2007

Israeli archeologists say they have stumbled upon a sealed archeological level dating to the First Temple period.

The discovery at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, where the archeologists are overseeing contested Islamic infrastructure work, was announced Sunday by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The find marks the first time that archeological remains dating back to the First Temple period have been found on the bitterly contested holy site, the state-run archeological body said. The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is the holiest site of Judaism and the third holiest site for Islam.

The sealed archeological level, which dates from the eighth to the sixth centuries B.C.E., includes fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bone.

Independent Israeli archeologists from the nonpartisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, which repeatedly has lambasted the Antiquities Authority for allowing Islamic officials to carry out the infrastructure work this summer, downplayed the findings. -- http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/104790.html


Quarry for Temple Mount's Giant Rocks - Found

by Hillel Fendel

The Antiquities Authority announced today that it has found the quarry that supplied the giant stones for the building of the Temple Mount. The quarry is located in what is now one of Jerusalem's newest neighborhoods, Ramat Shlomo (also known as Reches Shuafat), between Ramot and French Hill. The quarry was found in the course of an archaeological rescue dig prior to the construction of a neighborhood school.

The ancient quarry is spread out over at least five dunams (1.25 acres), with rocks between three and eight meters long - the size of those that can still be seen today at the foundations of the Temple Mount and in the Western Wall - hewn out of the ground. Click here for photos of the quarry on the Israel Matzav blog.

Divine Regards

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem told Arutz-7 that the discovery of the quarry was both historically dramatic and spiritually exhilarating: "Precisely now, when the Moslems are trying to erase all vestiges of the presence of our Holy Temple, and when even among our own leaders there is a trend towards giving it away and viewing it as an unnecessary burden - precisely now, with this discovery, G-d is sending the Jewish People a kiss, as if to say, 'Don't worry, I haven't forgotten you; there are those who want to give it [the Temple Mount] away or take it away from you, but I still have big plans for both you and for the Holy Temple - and the Temple will yet become the focal point of the world once again."

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky has ordered a halt to the school-building plans, budgeting 350,000 shekels ($86,500) for the archaeological work.

Jerusalem archaeologist Yuval Baruch told Arutz-7 that the ancient hewing was done in stages. First, deep and narrow trenches were dug around the four sides of what was to be the rock. Then, dozens of small specially-shaped picks were used to make holes underneath, at a distance of several centimeters from each other, until the rock was able to be separated from the ground. Archaeologists found one such pick in the area - a 15-centimeter (6-inch) long metallic object.

Gideon Charlap, a top Jerusalem architect and Temple Mount expert, told Arutz-7 that while rocks for the Temple may not be hewn with iron on the Temple Mount, iron may be used on the rocks before they reach the Mount. This, as opposed to stones used for the Temple's altar, which are never permitted to be hewn with iron.

The rulers of ancient Jerusalem used top-quality, shining-white stone for their public buildings, of the type they called Malcha (from the word for royalty). Dozens of quarries have been discovered in and around Jerusalem over the years, Baruch said, "including some from the period of Herod, like this one. However, never before has one been found with such large rocks."

The Shuafat mountain is some 80 meters higher than the Temple Mount. That, and its proximity to the main road to Jerusalem from the north, made this quarry a prime candidate to provide the rocks to be used in the city's important buildings. Teams of oxen pulled the giant stones down the moderate incline towards the city. The rocks were then placed upon the bedrock, forming the foundation of the Temple Mount, and keeping it stable and firm without the use of concrete even up until today.

Coins and pottery were also found in the quarry, dating back 1,900 years - further evidence that this quarry was used during the height of construction in ancient Jerusalem.

Ancient Drainage Tunnel and Escape Route Found

Earlier this month, the Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of the City of David's main drainage channel - later used by Jerusalem residents when they tried to flee from the Romans. The channel is located along the route from the Temple Mount to the Shiloah Pool, and apparently continues on to Nahal Kidron on its way to the Dead Sea. It drained the rainfall of ancient Jerusalem - the Jewish quarter, the western region of the City of David, and the Temple Mount. The excavations were jointly carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Elad Association.

The excavation directors wrote, "There is evidence in the writings of Josephus Flavius, the historian who described the revolt, the conquest and the destruction of Jerusalem, that numerous people took shelter in the channel and even lived in it for a period until they succeeded to flee the city through its southern end."


ZOA: OLMERT GOVERNMENT MUST STOP DESTRUCTION OF JEWISH ANTIQUITIES ON JERUSALEM'S TEMPLE MOUNT BY MUSLIM AUTHORITIES

New York -- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has written to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urging him to immediately take action to stop the wanton destruction of priceless Jewish antiquities on Jerusalem's Temple Mount by the Waqf, the Muslim religious authorities who control the Temple Mount area. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, but of lesser significance to Muslims than Mecca and Medina. Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, but not even once in Quran. When Jordan controlled the Temple Mount between 1948 and 1967, no Arab leader other than King Hussein of Jordan visited the mosques there; 58 synagogues, however, were destroyed. In recent days, reports indicate that the Islamic Waqf's desecration and destruction of the Temple Mount has intensified. The Waqf, which is digging a trench five feet deep and some 150 yards long for the laying of electrical cables and water pipes, is using a mechanical digger, cutting through the subsoil and piling it up beside the trench. Israeli archaeologists say such material should be carefully sifted and documented, as it would be even at sites of far lesser significance than this most sensitive Jewish religious and cultural location.

New photographs of the work zone show carved stones casually dumped in a pile that appear to be a section of the outer wall of the Second Temple, according to archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. Mazar, a member of the faculty at Hebrew University and a member of the Public Committee for Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, says it is "crucial this wall is inspected." She explains that the current ground level of the Temple Mount is slightly above the original Temple Mount platform, "meaning anything found is likely from the Temple itself." Mazar insists that she must personally inspect the stones to confirm their status, and attempted to inspect the site last week. She was stopped by Israeli police who are protecting the construction.

The Israel Antiquities Authority approved the construction despite archaeologists' concern that precious artifacts are being destroyed. The Authority, which digs for religious artifacts across the State of Israel, has not inspected construction on Judaism's holiest site even once since the work began, despite continuous calls for the construction to be supervised and halted. English spokesman for the Israeli Police, Mickey Rosenfeld, asserts that the police stationed on the Temple Mount will not prevent the construction because the Antiquities Authority approved the dig. The Waqf denies any wrong-doing and says that the Temple Mount is in "occupied territory."

Dr. Gabriel Barkai, of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount calls it an act of barbarism. "They are digging in the most crucial and delicate point of the Temple Mount - of the whole country. They should be using a toothbrush, not a bulldozer." Dr Barkai identifies the area currently under excavation as the outer courts of the Second Temple, built by Herod the Great in the First Century BCE. He maintains it is where the best preservation of antiquities was anticipated, since other parts of the compound are built on exposed bedrock ( BBC News, August 28).

According to Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, the Waqf is intentionally digging in areas where "undoubtedly the Temple once stood . For the first time since the Temple's destruction, a section of the Temple Wall itself has been exposed and the Waqf under the guise of laying down electrical pipes has dug a trench, destroying the most important holy artifact ever found to date" (One Jerusalem, September 2).

This is but the latest episode in archeological vandalism beneath Temple Mount committed by the Waqf:

In 1970, the Waqf excavated a pit without supervision that exposed a 16-foot-long, six-foot-thick wall that scholars believe may well be the eastern wall of the Herodian Temple complex. An inspector from the antiquities department saw it and composed a handwritten report (still unpublished) before the wall was dismantled, destroyed and covered up.

In 1993, Israel's Supreme Court found that the Waqf had violated Israel's antiquities laws on 35 occasions, many involving irreversible destruction of important archaeological remains. The court declined to enter an injunction, however, expressing its confidence that in the future Israeli authorities would correct their past errors.

In 1999, to accommodate a major expansion of an underground mosque into what is known popularly as Solomon's Stables in the southeastern part of the Temple Mount, the Waqf dug an enormous stairway down to the mosque. Hundreds of truckloads of archaeologically rich dirt were dug with mechanical equipment and then dumped into the adjacent Kidron Valley. When archaeology student Zachi Zweig began to explore the mounds of dirt for antiquities, he was arrested at the behest of the Israel Antiquities Authority -- for excavating without a permit. Since then, a major legal sifting operation of this dirt by Professor Gabriel Barkai of Bar Ilan University (together with Mr. Zweig) has uncovered thousands of artifacts from all periods going back more than 3,000 years. They include a seal impression of a probable brother of someone mentioned in the Bible, Babylonian arrowheads dating to the destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th century B.C. (as well as other arrowheads from battles on the Temple Mount), thousands of coins (many dating to the Great Revolt against Rome), beautiful jewelry and even an ancient Egyptian scarab.

The Palestinian Arabs, including the Palestinian Authority (PA), have a long record of desecrating and destroying Jewish religious sites and denying the Jewish historical and religious connection to Jerusalem and Israel.

Statement on Jewish holy sites by PA leaders:

Yasser Arafat: "That is not the Western Wall at all, but a Moslem shrine" (Ma'ariv, October. 11, 1996).

Then PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Hassan Tahboub, "The Western Wall is Muslim property. It is part of the al-Aqsa Mosque. Once we control it, Jews must remain six feet away from our holy wall" (November 23, 1997).

PA Ministry of Information: Thirty years of Israeli excavation has revealed Islamic holy places, Roman ruins, Armenian ruins, but no tangible evidence of anything Jewish was revealed in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Jews have implanted a biblical myth in the mind of the world," (December 12, 1997).

Walid M. Awad, Director of Foreign Publications for the PLO's Palestine Ministry of Information: " Jerusalem was never a Jewish city" (IMRA news agency, December. 25, 1996).

Jarid al-Kidwa, a Palestinian 'historian' broadcast in the PA media, has stated, "The stories of the Torah and the Bible did not take place in the Land of Israel - they occurred in the Arabian peninsula, primarily in Yemen" (Ha'aretz, July 6, 1997).

Jewish holy sites have been destroyed, vandalized or left in disrepair by the Palestinians whenever PA control has been extended, even temporarily, to localities containing them:

In September 1996, widespread Arab rioting broke out in response to false rumors circulated about alleged Jewish efforts to undermine the structure of the Dome of the Rock atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Palestinian rioters set upon and destroyed the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva at Joseph Tomb in Nablus, also killing Israeli soldiers trying to guard it. 500 Arabs also stormed Rachel's Tomb, the third holiest Jewish site, firing weapons and hurling Molotov cocktails and torching the scaffolding of new construction on the site, which was saved only due to determined efforts under fire by fire-fighting units.

October 2000: During the first days of the Palestinian terrorist campaign, Joseph's Tomb in Nablus was entirely destroyed by a Palestinian mob of 5,000 and its contents incinerated after the Israeli garrison guarding it was temporarily withdrawn during fighting. It has since been rebuilt by the PA - as a mosque supposedly honoring a Muslim figure. Muslims assert exclusive right to the site and Jews have been unable to re-enter it.

October 2000: The ancient Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho, rediscovered only after the 1967 war, was completely and deliberately destroyed, though its Torah scrolls were saved. The Na'aran synagogue in Jericho, which is believed to have been built in the 5th or 6th century, and which contains a mosaic floor, is now abandoned and derelict.

Moreover, Jewish worshippers at Jerusalem's Western Wall have more than once been the target of stones and other projectiles from the Temple Mount in recent years, most recently in February 2007, when Palestinians rioted on the fabricated pretext that Israeli excavation work taking place nearly 100 yards from the mosques on Temple Mount for the purpose of replacing a bridge in danger of collapse were threatening the mosques. Also, sporadic gunfire is routinely directed today at Rachel's Tomb, where a special fortification with guard towers has had to be constructed around it for its protection. Several soldiers guarding the site have been killed over the years.

In its letter, signed by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of Executive Committee Dr. Alan Mazurek, and Treasurer Henry Schwartz, Executive Director Stanley Kessock and Director of the ZOA's Center for Middle East Policy Dr. Daniel Mandel, the ZOA said, "It is imperative for the preservation of literally the holiest site in the world to Judaism and of world significance to civilization, as well as for the long term interests of Israel, that the government put an immediate stop to the desecration and destruction of priceless Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount. No digging with heavy machinery should ever be taking place at such a site, which surely demands, at a minimum, the usual safeguards, care and archeological supervision that would be applied in excavating any other site of even minor archeological significance. It is an act of sacrilege and archeological vandalism that irreversible destruction is proceeding at this very moment at Judaism's holiest site. We urge you most earnestly to intervene while there is still time to prevent this historic loss to Israel, the Jewish people and indeed the world."

In addition, the ZOA has made the following public statement: "The ZOA urges every rabbis of every synagogue in America and around the world, and every Jewish organization, to speak out forcefully and repeatedly to urge Israel's Prime Minister and all Muslims of goodwill to stop this destruction of holy and priceless Jewish artifacts under the Temple Mount where Judaism's two holy temples once existed."


Jews urging Christians to save Jewish Temple - By Aaron Klein - www.worldnetdaily.com

Archaeologists kept out as Israel allows Muslims to pulverize antiquities at Judaism's holiest site

JERUSALEM - The Christian world and top U.S. Christian leaders are being urged to petition the Israeli government to immediately halt a massive dig Islamic authorities are conducting on the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - that is said to be destroying antiquities and what archaeologists believe is a wall from the Second Jewish Temple.

The Israeli government has barred archaeologists from inspecting the Temple-era wall, believed to be from the outer courtyard of the Second Temple.

The wall reportedly has been pulverized by bulldozers operated by the Waqf, the Mount's Muslim custodians.

If verified, the wall would be the most significant Jewish Temple find in history.

"The Christian people must rise up and stand with their brethren in Israel and make their voices heard to stop this travesty," states an open letter from Israel's Temple Institute, an organization seeking to promote awareness of the Temple Mount. "We are asking Christians to do everything possible to petition the Israeli government to halt the Waqf destruction and have archaeologists immediately inspect the area."

The Temple Institute is asking concerned Christians to contact Olmert's office.

"As a result of destructive and wanton bulldozing by the Waqf - with Israeli permission - a section of the wall of the Holy Temple in the area universally recognized as the location of the Women's Court has been unearthed," the letter states. "This is the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple that actual physical evidence of the Temple has been revealed. But all of the antiquities of the Temple that have been uncovered are in danger of being destroyed if you don't help."

Leading Israeli archaeologists, speaking to WND, also urged the Christian world to act immediately:

"The Christian world and all those who care about safeguarding the Temple Mount must immediately join us in our efforts to protect the holy site and demand that the Israeli government stop the Waqf construction," prominent, third-generation Temple Mount archaeologist Eilat Mazar said.

"The Temple Mount is important to people of all religions. Now is the time to act before more antiquities are erased," said Mazar, a senior fellow at Israel's Shalem Center and member of the Public Committee for Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on Temple Mount.

Mazar's much-discussed discovery in the City of David, a neighborhood just south of Jerusalem's Old City Walls, is a massive building that dates to the 10th century BC is believed is the remains of the palace of the biblical King David, the second leader of a united Kingdom of Israel, who ruled from around 1005 to 965 B.C.

This weekend, Islamic authorities using heavy machinery to dig on the Temple Mount were caught red-handed by WND destroying Temple-era antiquities and the purported outer wall of the Second Jewish Temple.

Last month, they were given permission by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to use bulldozers and other heavy equipment to dig a massive trench they say is necessary to replace electrical cables outside mosques on the holy site. The dig, which extends to most of the periphery of the Mount, is being protected by the Israeli police and is supposed to be supervised by the Israeli government's Antiquities Authority.

Earlier this month, after bulldozers dug a trench 1,300 feet long and five feet deep, the Muslim diggers came across a wall Israeli archaeologists believe may be remains of an area of the Second Jewish Temple known as the woman's courtyard.

The Antiquities Authority has not halted the dig and has not inspected the site. The Waqf has continued using bulldozers to blast away at the trench containing the wall and has steadfastly denied it is destroying any antiquities.

But WND obtained a photograph of the massive Waqf trench. In view in the picture are concrete slabs broken by Waqf bulldozers and a chopped up carved stone believed to be of Jewish Temple-era antiquity.

Mazar analyzed the photo and said the damaged stone displays elements of the second Temple era and might be part of the Jewish Temple wall Israeli archaeologists charge the Waqf has been attempting to destroy. She said in order to certify the stone in the photo, she would need to personally inspect it.

But Israel is blocking leading archaeologists from surveying the massive damage Islamic authorities are accused of causing to what may be the outer wall of the Second Jewish Temple.

"The Antiquities Authority tells us to coordinate with the police. The police send us back to the Antiquities Authority," said Mazar.

The Antiquities Authority did not return repeated requests for comment.

"It's crucial this wall is inspected. The Temple Mount ground level is only slightly above the original Temple Mount platform, meaning anything found is likely from the Temple itself," the archaeologist said.

Fed up, Mazar and other top archaeologists last week ascended the Mount to hold a news conference and inspect the site without government permission, but they were blocked from the trench by the Israeli police.

"It is unconscionable that the Israeli government is permitting the Waqf to use heavy equipment to chop away at the most important archaeological site in the country without supervision," Mazar said.

"The Israeli government is actively blocking us from inspecting the site and what may be a monumental find and is doing nothing while the Waqf destroys artifacts at Judaism's holiest site," she said.

Mount destruction 'attempt to undermine God's sovereignty'

In his group's letter to the Christian world today, Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the international department at Israel's Temple Institute, pointed out what he said was the significant of the Islamic dig on the Temple Mount.

To understand the Waqf destruction as merely an archaeological issue would be myopic. It would also be a mistake to consider these actions as nothing more than a heartless and cruel attack against another religion and culture. These atrocities are not being committed solely against the Jewish people and their traditions. This is an attack on humankind by enemies of the God of Israel

Aside from the political implications regarding the future of Jerusalem and the direct effect that this will have on the entire world, the spiritual implications of what is now transpiring are enormous. The Bible consistently emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Temple in the life of mankind; it is none other than the 'footstool' of God in the world.

The destruction of God's holy mountain is precisely what is taking place at this very moment under our very eyes. The purposeful destruction of remnants of the Holy Temple are an attempt to undermine God's sovereignty and to erase His name from the one place on earth that He has chosen to manifest His presence throughout the saga of human history.

Richman called the Temple Mount "central to humanity."

"Our sages teach us that Adam, the first man, was created from the spot of the altar in the Holy Temple. All of Adam's descendants - the family of man who are created in the Divine image - are therefore under attack."

Richman was among those on the Mount last week with Mazar. He told WND he attempted to take pictures of the damage the bulldozers are allegedly wrecking on the wall, but his digital camera was confiscated by Israeli police at the direction of Waqf officials.

"If Israel was building a shopping mall and they found what may be an ancient Buddhist structure, the government would stop the construction and have archaeologists go over the area with a fine tooth comb. Here, the holiest site in Judaism is being damaged, a Temple wall was found, and Israel is actively blocking experts from inspecting the site while allowing the destruction to continue," Richman said.

Richman charged the Waqf was "trying to erase Jewish vestiges from the Temple Mount."

The last time the Waqf conducted a large dig on the Temple Mount - during construction 10 years ago of a massive mosque at an area referred to as Solomon's Stables - the Wafq reportedly disposed truckloads of dirt containing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods.

After the media reported the disposals, Israeli authorities froze the construction permit given to the Wafq, and the dirt was transferred to Israeli archaeologists for analysis. The Israeli authorities found scores of Jewish Temple relics in the nearly disposed dirt, including coins with Hebrew writing referencing the Temple, part of a Hasmonean lamp, several other Second Temple lamps, Temple period pottery with Jewish markings, a marble pillar shaft and other Temple period artifacts. The Waqf was widely accused of attempting to hide evidence of the existence of the Jewish Temples.

Temples 'never existed'

Most Palestinian leaders routinely deny well-documented Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

Speaking to WND in a recent interview, Waqf official and chief Palestinian Justice Taysir Tamimi claimed the Jewish Temples "never existed."

"About these so-called two Temples, they never existed, certainly not at the Haram Al- Sharif (Temple Mount)," said Tamimi, who is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

"Israel started since 1967 making archaeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city, and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s," said Tamimi.

The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples, tunnels that snake under the Temple Mount and more than 100 ritual immersion pools believed to have been used by Jewish priests to cleanse themselves before services. The cleansing process is detailed in the Torah.

Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad's horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years.

"The Western Wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It's where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah."

The Palestinian media also regularly claim the Jewish Temples never existed.

Judaism's holiest site

While the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, Muslims say it is their third holiest site.

The First Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's "presence" dwelt. The Dome of the Rock now sits on the site and the Al Aqsa Mosque is adjacent.

The temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.

The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark where Muslims came to believe Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" - believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia - to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with Jerusalem.


Myths About Israel and Palestine

by Dr. Thomas Ice - www.pre-trib.org

The top story in the media has been the ongoing saga of the so-called "peace process" between Israel and the Arabs, popularly known as "Palestinians." This, of course, is not surprising to those of us who take a literal view of Bible prophecy, since Israel is at the center of imminent future events. However, I am constantly annoyed by the steady stream of myths and propaganda that streams from the global media, often misinforming the world about the modern land of Israel. This month I want to demythologize a number of popular notions about the Land of Israel, so that prophecy-loving believers may not be taken in by what they hear and see in today's media.

The Ancient Palestinians

Perhaps the most maddening term that I hear today is related to the term "Palestinian." Let me start by providing a history of that word. It was a term invented by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in a.d. 135 after he had destroyed Jerusalem during a campaign to put down a Jewish uprising known as the Bar Kokhba revolt. Hadrian was tired of the constant revolts by the Jews in the land of Israel so he set out to "de-Judaize" Israel. This he did by renaming Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina and he renamed the Land of Israel Palestine from the word Philistine, a reference to the ancient Canaanites. Palestine became the common term that many used to refer to the biblical land of Israel. During the early 1900s and before 1948, a Palestinian was always thought to be a Jew who lived in the land of Israel, of course, popularly known as Palestine. When Israel became a nation in 1948, the Jews took the biblical term Israel to refer to the reborn nation. Some time between 1948 and 1963, the Egyptian, Yasser Arafat took the term Palestine to refer to the Arab claim of the land of Israel. Thus, it was only around 1963 that the term Palestinian began to be used of Arabs. There is no such thing as the ancient land of Palestine. It is the ancient land of Israel.

Because of the contemporary use of the term "Palestine," I think it is best that Christians refrain from using it to refer to the land of Israel. This is how Israel is usually referred to, even in biblical maps from the time of Christ and before, when the term was not invented until 100 years after the time of Christ. This is why in our newly produced Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible we insisted upon using the term "Israel" when referencing the land of Israel. We did not call it Palestine. The only real Palestine I know of is a town in East Texas with that name.

The Palestinian Right of Return

In light of what I noted in the previous section, it follows that the so-called Palestinian "right of return" is a key element in Arafat's position in the Oslo Peace Process. This is one of the few issues that current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has not caved in on, . . . at least not yet. Arafat claims that there are about four million Arabs and their descendants who were displaced by Israel in 1948. This is a most ridiculous claim. First of all, only about 200,000 Arabs left their homes in the land of Israel.[1] Few, if any, of these Arabs "refugees" were forced out by the Israelis. Instead, "The Arab refugees were not driven from Palestine by anyone," notes Samuel Katz. "The vast majority left, whether of their own free will or at the orders or exhortations of their leaders, always wit the same reassurance-that their departure would help in the war against Israel."[2]

After the 1948 war, Arab leaders refused to settle these refugees, even though hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands with only the shirt on their backs.[3] In fact, based upon conservative estimates, at least two times more Jews were made refugees from the countries in which they lived and have now been settled in the land of Israel without the need for refugee camps that the Arabs are so famous for constructing for their people. Lately, Arafat has been demanding four to five billion dollars as reparations for the so-called "Palestinian refugees," while no one has brought up the fact that the Jews left behind in their country of origin billions of dollars worth of property. Where is the outcry for Jewish compensation?

Instead of settling Arabs who left Israel in 1948 in other Arab countries, Arab leaders have consistently insisted that they remain huddled together in the squalor of refugee camps in various locations throughout the Middle East. Joan Peters noted in 1984:

Over the last thirty-odd year, numerous projects have been proposed, international funds provided, studies undertaken, all indicating the benefits that could be derived by the Arab refugee from their absorption into the brethren cultures of the Arab host countries.[4]

Yet Arab leaders always reject any solution that might serve to solve the problem. Even though the Arab refugees number only in the hundreds of thousands, others have successfully exchanged many times that number. Peters notes that, "The exchange between India and Pakistan in the 1950s was overwhelming in magnitude: 8,500,000 Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan fled to India, and roughly 6,500,000 Muslims moved from India to Pakistan."[5] The fact that "from 1933 to 1945, a total of 79,200,000 souls were displaced," is staggering. But all but the Arab refugees from Israel have not been able to find a place of settlement. Why? Because the long-term Arab goal is not peaceful co-existence with Israel, but a total annihilation of every Jew and the modern nation of Israel. This reality is why it is foolish for Israel to continue the Oslo Peace Process.

David and Goliath

During the so-called "Temple Mount Intifada" we have seen a blatant example of Arab manipulation of the media in the incident of the death of the twelve-year old Arab boy named Mohammed. The world's media captured the sad death of Mohammed in a crossfire between Arabs and Israelis. The video footage revealed the boy being shot and dying in his father's arms. The immediate outcry from the global media was how the evil Israelis (the bully Goliath) were picking on the poor defenseless Arabs (David). The media assumed and then reported that Mohammed was shot by the Israeli army. Few asked what the boy was doing there in the first place. Few noted that Mohammed's father had come to get him because he had gone to throw rocks at the Israeli army. But, most significantly, it was reported in the alternative media that there were questions about whether the Israelis were even in position to have shot the boy. A later investigation has proved that it was impossible for the Israeli soldiers to have shot him since they could not have hit him since they were not in position to have the right angle to get to him. It is now clear that the Arabs shot one of their own, apparently for propaganda purposes. They cared more about sending out to the global media a certain image than they did about the life of that twelve-year old boy. This kind of thing is all too common in the battle for truth in the propaganda wars coming out of Israel in our day. In fact, established reports have revealed that the Saudi Arabian government is paying $2,000.00 to the family members of each Arab killed in the current Intifada and $300.00 for each non-fatal wound. This is most revealing when one realizes that Muslims believe that they are guaranteed to go to heaven if they die during the current conflict. Boy are they in for an immediate surprise. This is probably the most blatant propaganda piece of the entire conflict.

The Temple Mount

Another classic instance of Arab lying that has come out in the media recently is their widely held belief that there has never been a Jewish Temple upon the Temple Mount (Arabs call it Al-Qods-Al-Sharif) in Jerusalem. Randall Price and I noted this in our book, Ready To Rebuild, in the early 1990s. This belief, coupled with the equally errant lie, that the place of Mohammed's supposed ascent into heaven occurred on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This was a later myth added to the lore of Islam as time went on and they became engaged in a rivalry with Christianity and Judaism, both of whom had a rich history of events that transpired in Jerusalem. Islam had none.

The question arises that if there never was a Jewish Temple upon the Temple Mount, then where did Jesus walk in New Testament times? What a crook! There is more historical and archaeological evidence supporting the historicity of the Bible's report that there were two Jewish Temples upon the Temple Mount in Jerusalem than is needed to accept any fact of antiquity. Yet, this does not seem to phase the Muslim faithful. If there was no Temple upon the Temple Mount then what did Josephus write about when he records the destruction of the Jewish Temple in a.d. 70. This kind of outright lying is revealing about the whole Islamic religion: It does not care about the truth, only propaganda. Thus, we should not be surprised, I am not, at the lengths to which too many Arabs will go in our own day as they spin Middle Eastern events to the global media. But, as lovers of the truth, Christians should not fall for these Arab distortions.

Conclusion

As believers in God and His Word, we should not be surprised that Satan and the world system is anti-Israel. We should also not be surprised that in spite of the justness of Israel's cause that the international media echoes Satan's voice, instead of God's. Israel is God's elect nation and He works out a major aspect of His plan for history through them. Therefore, the least that believers should do is not be taken in by the myths and propaganda from the world's media. To help towards this end I want to recommend some excellent books that will provide an interested person with factual information.

In spite of all the current bias against Israel we know what the end of the matter will be. Yes, Israel will exist for all eternity, while he enemies will be judged at Armageddon. It helps in the present time to know the God who has told us the end from the beginning. Maranatha!

Endnotes:

[1] Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, 4th edition (New York: Steimatzky and Shaplolsky, 1985), p. 14.

[2] Katz, Battleground, p. 13.

[3] Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: J. KAP Publishing, 1984), pp. 11-32,

[4] Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 19.

[5] Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 26.


Muslims desecrating Israel's Temple Mount - again

By Stan Goodenough
Jul 12, 2007

Muslim Arabs, with the blessing of the Israeli government, are digging a large tunnel between the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

These two large structures straddle the Temple Mount - Israel's holiest site.

According to World Net Daily reporter Aaron Klein, the Arabs are bringing in heavy earth-moving equipment that could cause serious damage to the sacred site.

Klein says no-one is supervising what the Muslims are doing - despite the fact that Waqf (Islamic Trust) officials in recent years have desecrated the mount and destroyed untold quantities of archeological remains and artefacts dating from the periods of Israel's first and second temples.

Both temples stood on the site, identified in the Bible as Mount Moriah where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac.

The first temple was built by Israel's King Solomon; the second by the Jewish exiles who returned from exile in Babylon. It was later beautified and expanded by Herod the Great.

Israel returned to the Mount in 1967, but failed to extend its authority over it, prefering - at the urging of leftist Defense Minister Moshe Dayan - to leave the Islamic structures intact and allow the Waqf to continue supervising the site.

The Waqf forbids Jews and Christians from praying and reading their Bibles on the Temple Mount. Israel's governments have for years helped reinforce that ban.

As cited in Klein's article, numerous Arab leaders and spokesmen reject outright the uncontestable evidence, and refute the fact that Israel's temples ever stood on the hill. --http://www.jnewswire.com/article/2041.

Olmert allows Muslims to dig on Temple Mount
Islamic custodians previously disposed of truckloads of Jewish artifacts

By Aaron Klein
c2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Posted: July 11, 2007

Temple Mount

JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has quietly granted the Waqf - the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount - permission to dig unsupervised on the sacred site, WND has learned.

The permission was granted in spite of longstanding fears from leading Israeli archeologists the Waqf might hide or dispose of Jewish Temple artifacts discovered during any Muslim digs.

The last time the Waqf conducted an unsupervised excavation on the Temple Mount, in 1997, the Muslim custodians ultimately were caught by Israeli authorities disposing truckloads of Mount dirt that contained Jewish Temple artifacts.

Most Palestinian leaders routinely deny well-documented Jewish ties to the Temple Mount - the holiest site in Judaism.

According to Palestinian sources, the Waqf last month requested permission from Israel to conduct what it said were needed excavations under the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount to install new electrical and telephone infrastructures in the mosque. Olmert's office at first turned down the Waqf request, but after petitioning by the Jordanian government, the prime minister acquiesced and has allowed the dig.

The Waqf this week quietly began digging a massive tunnel that snakes from the Al Aqsa Mosque to the nearby Dome of the Rock, bringing in heavy equipment for the work.

According to Israeli and Palestinian sources, the dig is not being supervised by any Jewish archeologist, including from the Israeli government's Antiquities Authority, which boasts a board of leading Israeli Temple Mount archeological authorities.

No supervision

Prominent Temple Mount archeologist Eilat Mazar, a professor of Hebrew University and a member of the Public Committee for Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on Temple Mount, slammed the Waqf dig.

Mazar said she was concerned the Muslims were excavating "without real, professional and careful archaeological supervision involving meticulous documentation."

Mazar, a third-generation Israeli Temple Mount archaeologist, is the discoverer and lead archaeologist of Israel's City of David, believed to be the palace of the biblical King David, the second leader of a united Kingdom of Israel, who ruled from around 1005 to 965 B.C.

The last time the Waqf conducted a large dig on the Temple Mount, during construction 10 years ago of a massive mosque at an area referred to as Solomon's Stables, the Wafq reportedly disposed truckloads of dirt containing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods.

After the media reported on the disposals, Israeli authorities froze the construction permit given to the Wafq, and the dirt was transferred to Israeli archeologists for analysis. The Israeli authorities found scores of Jewish Temple relics in the nearly disposed dirt, including coins with Hebrew writing referencing the Temple, part of a Hasmonean lamp, several other Second Temple lamps, Temple period pottery with Jewish markings, a marble pillar shaft and other Temple period artifacts. The Waqf was widely accused of attempting to hide evidence of the existence of the Jewish Temples.

Temples 'never existed'

Speaking to WND in a recent interview, Waqf official and chief Palestinian Justice Taysir Tamimi claimed the Jewish Temples "never existed."

"About these so-called two Temples, they never existed, certainly not at the Haram Al- Sharif (Temple Mount)," said Tamimi, who is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

"Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s," said Tamimi.

The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples, tunnels that snake under the Temple Mount and over 100 ritual immersion pools believed to have been used by Jewish priests to cleanse themselves before services. The cleansing process is detailed in the Torah.

Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad's horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years.

"The Western wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It's where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah."

The Palestinian media also regularly state the Jewish Temples never existed.

'We are fed up with this crap nonsense'

In a series of WND exclusive interviews, Palestinian terror leaders denied the existence of the Jewish Temples.

"We are fed up with this crap nonsense of the Temple Mount," said Nasser Abu Aziz, the deputy commander of Fata's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank.

"We do not know where this story came from. There is no historical or archeological proof that your legendary Temples existed. We are sick of this story. But Allah warned us that Jews will look for an excuse in order to corrupt life on earth, so we are not surprised from the fact that you keep raising this issue."

Muhammad Abdul-El, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees terror organization, said the Jewish Temples "existed only in your dreams.

"Go look for your stupid Temple elsewhere. And I am not saying this for political reasons. I say that the enemy invented this story in order to justify its occupation of Jerusalem."

Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' so-called military wing, accused all Jews of being pathological liars.

"Stop lying and believing your own lies. Even if there was such a thing (as a Jewish Temple) do you really believe that Solomon, who was a prophet, would have built a Temple in the place that Allah wanted for the Al Aqsa Mosque?"

Judaism's holiest site

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. Muslims say it is their third holiest site.

The First Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's "presence" dwelt. The Al Aqsa Mosque now sits on the site.

The temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.

The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark where Muslims came to believe Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. Islamic tradition states Mohammed took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" - believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia - to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with Jerusalem.


Hamas's plans for Temple Mount foiled

Yaakov Katz, THE JERUSALEM POST
Jul. 2, 2007

Hamas attempts to gain control of the Temple Mount and recruit new Israeli-Arab operatives in east Jerusalem have been foiled by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), a senior security official announced on Monday.

According to the Shin Bet, Hamas, over the past few years, has invested millions of shekels in Jerusalem charities and religious institutions, as well as in construction on the Temple Mount, in an effort to bolster its presence and standing in the capital.

The official said that Hamas recently paid to enlarge a library and several prayer halls in Solomon's Stables, as well as for the renovation of a public restroom facility on the disputed holy site.

"Their goal is to gain full control over the Temple Mount," a high-ranking Shin Bet official said Monday. Hamas, he said, has also tried to infiltrate its members into the Temple Mount as part of the maintenance and religious staff who care for the site and preach, give tours and teach Koran classes there.

Hamas, the official said, had taken advantage of financial troubles in the Jordanian Wakf, which is responsible for the holy site, to bolster its presence there. The wakf has been suffering from financial constraints since 2000, when the Temple Mount mosques were closed to paying visitors.

Officials said the Hamas takeover of the Temple Mount was a "strategic" move and was aimed at bolstering the group's standing in the Palestinian territories and throughout the Muslim world.

The Shin Bet also focused its operations in curbing the flow of money into Hamas. A senior Hamas official, Yakub Abu Assab, was arrested for allegedly running a courier service that transferred funds from the West Bank and abroad to the Hamas headquarters in Jerusalem. Israeli efforts to stop Hamas also included the arrests of Hamas parliamentarians, including Khaled Abu Afa, former Hamas minister for Jerusalem affairs.

During a year-long operation, Shin Bet arrested 11 Hamas officials based in Jerusalem, 10 of whom hold Israeli identity cards. All 11 detainees were due to be indicted for membership in a terror group and for financing illegal terror activity.

The Jerusalem Hamas operations received their funding from the Union of Good - an umbrella charity organization based in Saudi Arabia that has been outlawed by Israel - which used money changers, bank accounts in the West Bank, and couriers to send the money to local charity organizations, which then transferred cash to the Hamas headquarters in Jerusalem. In the last 18 months, Hamas's Jerusalem headquarters received more than NIS 1 million in this fashion.

The Hamas activities on the Temple Mount were coordinated with the Islamic Movement, headed by Sheikh Ra'ad Salah. The activities also included organizing events during Ramadan such as large-scale post-fast meals, the purpose of which was to recruit support for Hamas and give the organization a foothold on the Temple Mount.

In addition to Hamas's efforts to take over the Temple Mount, in recent years the movement increased its activity in east Jerusalem, where it had set up religious institutions and used what seemed to be innocent festivities to brainwash Muslims with Hamas ideology.

To implement its goals, Hamas had also set up a number of institutions of a semi-religious nature to front illegal activities. According to security officials, there are no longer active Hamas institutions in Jerusalem.


Dome of the Rock: Target of Muslim Extremists?
by Emanuel A. Winston

Collapsing the Dome and Al-Aksa may trigger a war.

Concern has been raised in Israel that Islamic terrorists such as Hamas or Al-Qaeda may target the Muslim shrine of the Dome of the Rock or Al-Aksa Mosque, both of which sit atop the site of the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Islamic terrorists would then blame Israel to arouse Muslim anger, in order to trigger a war in the Middle East. The subsequent loss of Muslim lives is of little concern to them. On the contrary, they even think this is the best way to get their fellow Muslims into their paradise, by making them shuhada (plural of shahid, martyr for Islam). We have already seen Shiite and Sunni Muslims target each others' mosques for demolition, and that both use their so-called "shrines" for the storage of weapons, explosives and safe houses for their terrorists. They do, however, expect Americans and Israelis to respect the self-proclaimed sanctity of their mosques and shrines.

Suspicions were raised in light of the frenzied reaction to Israel repairing a crumbling, earthquake-damaged earthen ramp that leads up to the site of the Temple Mount. Muslim leaders tried to assert that the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque were endangered by these repair measures - a rather ridiculous claim. It was also thought that Muslim terrorists were planning to collapse the shaky ramp on top of Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. They may have intended to use this excuse to permanently close the Mughrabi Gate (the only gate up to the Mount open to non-Muslims) to the Temple Mount so no infidels (non-Muslims) could enter.

In this light, it is clear why Muslim leaders always opposed any infrastructure improvements in the area. With an anarchist agenda, they want people to get hurt and are happy to help the process along if it benefits their religious war against the Jews, Christians and all other non-Muslim infidels whom they must kill. It is clear why Muslim leaders always opposed any infrastructure improvements in the area.

In fact, the Muslim Wakf (religious administrative authority) has been carrying out secret excavations under the Temple Mount, to invent and reinforce their own religious claims while disposing of all Jewish artifacts - some from the First and Second Temple periods.

Israeli engineers warned the Wakf that they were weakening the supporting walls of the Temple Mount, including those of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque. A dangerous bulge was spotted on a major retaining wall of the Temple Mount. Yet, the Wakf has continued to undermine the foundations until today.

A moderately small earthquake in February 11, 2004, coupled with the effects of a major snowfall, damaged the Mughrabi Gate ramp leading up to the Temple Mount. Even a small earthquake could completely collapse the ancient stone walls. Many earthquakes have hit this region, which lies on a major fault along the Jordan River, called the Dead Sea Rift, running the length of Israel and creating a series of active faults throughout the country. The area underlying the entire region is a series of major and minor faults under constant pressure to slip or crack, producing major and minor tremblers. (If you wish to explore this further, then pull up the words "earthquake," "2004," "damage to Mughrabi ramp to Temple Mount" on Google.)

Even a small trembler could collapse the wall of Solomon's Temple Mount now that the Muslim Wakf has dug out the core of the Mount. It is merely an event waiting to happen. The other possibility is that Muslim Arab terrorists might be preparing to place high explosives on the remaining supports that hold up the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque.

Time will tell.

Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East analyst and commentator with the Gamla and Freeman organizations.


Q&A on the Temple Mount with Dr. Eilat Mazar

THE JERUSALEM POST
Feb. 14, 2007

Renowned archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University and the Shalem Center answers readers' questions about the Mughrabi Gate dispute and the status of the Temple Mount in recent years. Of the hundreds of questions received, here are 20 which encompass the major issues at hand.

John, Hong Kong: The Muslims claim the Mughrabi dig is within their holy site. Israel says it's nowhere near. Is it at all possible to answer this question with 100% reliability?

Dr. Mazar: The Mughrabi ramp is near the Western Wall of the compound, and it doesn't risk it's stability in any way. Moreover, it is of no risk whatsoever to the Al-Aksa Mosque, which stands about 100 meters to the east. There is no basis to the Muslims' claims. We should pay attention to their claims, which they have repeated many times in the past whenever they sought to raise a provocation. The same claim has been made with regards to my excavation in the City of David - 200 meters south of the Al-Aksa Mosque - declaring that the purpose of the excavation is to dig a tunnel under the mosque. At this very spot, the height of the original Second Temple-period wall is about 25 meters high, while the Mughrabi Gate is only 3.5 meters above the Herodian construction. In any case, the ramp only leads towards that gate.

Zachary Lubwama, Kampala, Uganda: Do you think that the findings will resolve the long standing dispute as to who the owner of this place is? Do you see Muslims accepting it if the findings reveal that this was a site for the Holy Jewish temple before a mosque was put in its place? Do you see Israel wishing to rebuild a third temple in this place, and would this be possible?

Dr. Mazar: We have learned about the history of the Temple Mount compound from archaeological and historical sources. These facts do not influence the Waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement (especially its northern wing), as they completely ignore the history and ancientness of the site. They declare that the site was built as a mosque "since the time of Adam and Eve" - unfortunately, there are no grounds for a scholarly discussion with them. Returning to academic and scientific research, excavations around the compound near the Mughrabi ramp will show that the original compound built at this place was the most impressive and ingenious construction of the Second Temple period.

Rudy Reichstadt, Paris: What can you say about the declarations of archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov, who said that one could be satisfied with "a simpler and less expensive solution"?

Dr. Mazar: The Mughrabi ramp was in dire need of significant restoration. It was in a terrible state for many years and no simple work can be done there. This archeologist has declared in the past that we should thank the Waqf and the Islamic Movement for their destructive activities on the mount. In his words, they were "cleaning the place."

Brian Anderson, Jerusalem: In a desire for accuracy of information often lacking in news coverage, I would like to ask what efforts have been and are being made amidst the Mughrabi Gate project to 1) have necessary dialogue with Islamic officials regarding the impact of these efforts on the Temple Mount, its current condition and structures, and 2) plans/efforts in place on the part of the Antiquities Department (or other government agencies) to safeguard existing structures to help alleviate the concerns being expressed by many in the Islamic world?

Dr. Mazar: In recent years, the Waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement were very active at the site, conducting a large-scale destruction of antiquities and continuing to do so without any dialogue. As far as I know, they were told and actually know the terrible condition of the Mughrabi ramp and how it needs a restoration, which is currently taking place. They also know that the Israeli Antiquities Authority is conducting a large excavation in order to document the antiquities as the ramp is strengthened to prepare for a more stable structure above it. The Antiquities Authority is conducting a regular archeological excavation at the this site, and the methods of excavation are well known and up to date, just as in any other excavation at such an important site.

Joseph Abraham, London: Is it true the Muslims built their Dome over the wrong rock? I understand that the Holy of Holies was built on a different rock on the Temple Mount.

Dr. Mazar: It's not the wrong rock, because at present it is on the highest spot on Mount Moriah, which is probably the same spot where the temple stood. Muslims believe that Mohammad went to a place that is called "extreme," and they relate this extreme place to be the location of the Al-Aksa Mosque, which was never claimed to be the spot of the temple itself.

Geoff Neilson, Cape Town, South Africa: Is there any specific location where the altar for sacrifices must be? Do we know the precise point of that location today?

Dr. Mazar: The location of the altar near the temple itself can be located in the most probable way - where we all locate the temple itself - but to pinpoint exactly where it stood is disputed. It's unlikely that this dispute will be resolved as long as excavations are prohibited inside the Temple Mount compound.

Yosef Zahav, Miami: Why isn't the Temple Mount symmetrical? It seems there are no two walls that are parallel. Isn't that surprising for a monumental architectural structure?

Dr. Mazar: You are correct. It's not really a square and not even a rectangle, but we need to understand that the compound as it appears today is an enlargement of a previous compound from the First Temple period. King Herod enlarged it by overcoming deep valleys that surrounded the ancient compound, which is very impressive and almost ingenious, but did not make it symmetrical.

Ezequiel Doiny, Buenos Aires: In 1996, Binyamin Netanyahu allowed the Muslims to build a third mosque in Solomon's Stables. By doing this, did Israel give the Muslims the opportunity to destroy important archeological remains?

Dr. Mazar: This was a huge mistake which took place without any archeological supervision. We are certain that a vast amount of important data was lost, especially when the Muslims dug the huge 2,000-square-meter pit in front of the stables and dumped the "garbage" along with ancient antiquities. They loaded hundreds of trucks - and I am not exaggerating - so you can imagine the scale of the data that was lost from all periods (Muslim, Byzantine, Roman and Jewish).

David Flug, Hillcrest, New York: How likely is it that the truckloads of material carted away by the Waqf in a previous construction project contained archaeologically significant material?

Dr. Mazar: We need to remember that the Temple Mount compound is very ancient and all the periods starting from the First Temple period were part of it. Although we know some remains were destroyed, others were left inside - maybe for secondary use, but nonetheless, they are there and can be revealed one day when proper excavations are allowed. Destruction took place mainly in the eastern part of the compound, and we should see to it that no further destruction is allowed there. Regrettably, there is no proper supervision. The east part is destroyed forever. Regarding the construction and restoration of the previous path of the Mughrabis, the excavations - as they are currently being conducted on a large scale - should continue in order to stabilize the pathway and allow the public to approach the Temple Mount compound. This is the only gate through which tourists can visit the compound, and there is urgent need for it to be stable and convenient. Inside the Temple Mount compound, excavations have been forbidden for centuries. Muslims do not allow anyone to excavate. It was tentatively agreed to leave the site as-is as long as no one made any changes. However, this is not the case. The Waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement are conducting significant changes in order to convert the entire site into a built-up mosque.

Mary Ellen Marks, Highland Lakes: Is it true that the Ark of the Covenant is buried under the mount?

Dr. Mazar: There is a very high probability that the most important ancient remains are inside the compound in the massive underground halls. This includes the Ark of the Covenant.

Saul Mishaan, Brooklyn, New York: I know that digging on the Temple Mount is a non-starter, but is there any research involving the use of aerial infrared photography or sonar to assist in determining the layout of the Second Temple compound?

Dr. Mazar: I know that research using these methods had been conducted from outside of the compound in order to trace hollow spaces. There were very interesting results, such as the finding that the ancient walls of the compound are very thick, and that behind them are many massive underground halls.

Thomas Crispin, Phoenix, Arizona: What is the most exciting thing you've discovered in your career so far?

Dr. Mazar: My most exciting find was a personal seal impression one centimeter in diameter from the First Temple period that had the name of a minister who was part of the government of Zedekaya. I found it last year during my excavation in the City of David. His name is mentioned in the book of Jeremiah - he was the one who asked King Zedekaya to kill the prophet Jeremiah because he was telling the people of Jerusalem to surrender to the Babylonians. This is astonishing because it is a direct connection between an archeological find and a biblical document. It reinforces our understanding and appreciation of the bible as an historical source of great authenticity.

Abe Sender, Cambridge, MA: What do we know about the two chambers the Waqf claims are underneath the mount?

Dr. Mazar: These are chambers that were documented already in the 19th century. One of them served as a water cistern, and the other was used as a pathway during the Second Temple period and then most probably as a synagogue in the 11th century CE before finally being turned into a mosque in a later period.

Lee Safran, San Jose, California: What do you know about the construction/destruction at Solomon's Stables? Why wasn't Israel able to create an international outcry about this? It seems a much more significant destruction than the work at the Mughrabi Gate. Why didn't Israel petition the UN world heritage site committee or some other similar body? Or raise the issue with Jordan? Is this construction continuing as we speak, or has it finished?

Dr. Mazar: Israel made a big mistake by keeping mum about the illegal activities of destruction and conversion carried out inside the stables and around them. The Israeli government doesn't really understand that by turning a blind eye to the illegal actions undertaken by the Waqf and the Islamic Movement, it does not achieve the true quiet it seeks, since it only increases the appetite of the Muslim side, which notices that its acts go without punishment. This is still going on.

Dave Abernathy, Columbia: The JP published an article last week stating that a cistern was found recently that proves that the Second Temple existed, and that it's located more southwesterly than previously thought. Does this mean that a third Temple could be built without disrupting the current mosques on the Temple Mount?

Dr. Mazar: Prof. Joseph Patrich only suggested that he could locate the very spot where the altar stood near the Temple as he relates it to one of the underground cisterns at the site. It does twist the location of the temple a bit, and it is an interesting suggestion. I don't know how much it holds for the time being. Even if this is the case, there are no facts that will convince the Muslim side to allow any construction at the compound, except their own. As we are witnessing with the Mughrabi path row, the facts themselves mean nothing to them.

Dan Morman, Miami Beach: Since 1967, after custodial arrangements of the Temple Mount were implemented, who has performed more digging and construction work in the area - Israel or Muslims?

Dr. Mazar: On the Temple Mount itself, Israel has not conducted any work, since the Muslim side does not allow it. Around the mount, Israel has conducted large-scale excavations and cleared space for tourists and visitors to reach the Western Wall. Other areas in the northern and northwestern parts have been left as before [1967]. On the other hand, the Muslim side has never stopped digging and building inside the compound for its own purposes.

Donna Diorio, Dallas: I have been reading a lot about the Mughrabi ramp repairs, but not much about the announced new construction of a 5th minaret on the Temple Mount. When the plan was first announced in 2004, you are quoted as saying that archeological supervision must be resumed at the site before any changes. If this is a good thing for Israel to observe at the Mughrabi ramp, why isn't this call also being voiced regarding the Jordanian minaret plans?

Dr. Mazar: I was surprised to see that the Jordanians adopted the radical view that claims the construction of the Mughrabi ramp is destroying the Al-Aksa Mosque, despite the fact that they know all too well that there is no truth to this. Building a new structure like the minaret, the fifth one, is completely out of place in light of the status-quo situation of the site, which should have been maintained unless open options were submitted to all sides. Unfortunately, the Israeli government refrains from demanding that the site be under supervision so that its preservation is safeguarded. I want to remind you that the Jordanians did not once raise their voices regarding the destruction carried out by the Muslim side. The main thing to remember is that the mount is an extremely important historical site that needs to be preserved for the millions of people worldwide who are interested in it. It is sad to see how cheaply the site is treated.

Margaret, Sydney, Australia: Why is the site important to the Christians?

Dr. Mazar: The Temple Mount is of extreme value to the Christians as well, as it was the very spot where the Temple stood, at which Jesus himself arrived and became infuriated when he saw that it was being desecrated by so many people. He said that this was the holy place that the people must respect, and then he overturned the tables in fury. I see many Christians near the Temple Mount, standing on the stairs leading into one of its gates and praying. I urge the Christian world to raise its voice in order to help us preserve this magnificent site, which is part of Christian heritage, as well. As a member of the Public Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities for the past seven years, I feel that we do not have enough support from the millions of people all over the world who we assume care about the site. We need more support! People should write/call/email/fax the prime minister and the media, demanding to open the site.

Andrew, Boston: What can be seen at the site at present?

Dr. Mazar: The public is now allowed to enter site for a few hours only, but is not allowed to enter the mosques or any of the underground structures in which magnificent remains from the original Second Temple are located. These structures were converted in recent years to new mosques, after never being used as mosques before, and are now closed to the non-Muslim public.


The truth about the Temple Mount controversy - by David Gelernter - http://www.weeklystandard.com

Israeli government authorities are building a ramp to allow non-Muslims to reach the enormous platform atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The old access ramp was condemned as unsafe and torn down several years ago. The interim ramp that replaced it was designed for short-term service only. (Muslims control the Temple Mount and therefore have their own private access routes.) The new ramp is controversial. Some ramp must be built or non-Muslims will have no way to reach the Mount; but leading Israeli archaeologists say that the ramp under construction is badly placed and ought to be someplace else.

This dispute among Israelis is important but in itself would never have attracted much attention. However, by the nature of their reactions, Arab leaders have brought worldwide notoriety to the story--and made it a blood-curdling study in the power of lying in this credulous, ignorant global-media age.

Outraged Arab politicians describe the new ramp as an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque -- although the mosque is on the Temple platform and the ramp stands outside the platform on pylons, and won't have any effect on the mosque at all. But those are mere facts. Prominent Arab agitators disdain even to notice them. Some have called for violence against Israel because of this imaginary assault on the mosque. And we know what "violence against Israel" means to the Jew-hating anti-Zionists among Arab statesmen: restaurants, sidewalk cafes, bus stops, and Passover Seders drenched in blood and scattered with smashed body parts as dying children cry quietly.

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, announced in response to the ramp project that "the danger in Jerusalem has increased. It is high time for the intifada of the Islamic people." The prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Ismail Haniyeh, called the construction project "continued Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem." An Egyptian MP, Mohamed el-Katatny, announced in parliament, "That cursed Israel is trying to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque. . . . Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence."

This hysterical Arab reaction must be understood in context. Why are Muslim religious authorities in charge of the Temple Mount anyway -- Judaism's holiest site, in the heart of Israel's capital city? And who built the Temple Mount in the first place, and what makes this site holy? When we answer these questions -- keeping in mind that the ramp story is likely to be reported nearly everywhere (outside the United States and Israel) from the Arab viewpoint -- the real question becomes not whether this ramp should be finished (probably not), but how to heal an insane planet. The ramp can be taken down; but how can the Arab world be cured of its blood-lust against the Jews of Israel?

Let's start with the situation on the ground. Prominent Israeli archaeologists object to the new ramp because several of its footings stand in an important archaeological garden outside the Mount. They agree that a new ramp is necessary, but insist that it be routed around the garden. Some Orthodox Jews are unhappy with the project on religious grounds.

The Israel Archaeology Association, which approved the project, responds that you can't please everyone, especially in Jerusalem, least of all near the Temple Mount. If the ramp is moved, other groups will object. Which is a weak-sounding response -- or perhaps no response at all, merely an excuse.

But Arab objections have nothing to do with the archaeological garden; Arab leaders are worried (they say) about the safety of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Yet the ramp poses "no risk whatsoever to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which stands about 100 meters to the east," says the eminent archaeologist Eilat Mazar of the Shalem Center and the Hebrew University. Mazar is one of the archaeologists who object to the ramp's current location and want it moved.

Is it possible that Arab leaders are more interested in attacking Israel than protecting religious and cultural monuments? How anxious are Arab statesmen to protect the treasures of the Temple Mount? Let's step back a few years and see.

The Temple Mount is ruled by the Islamic authority of Jerusalem, the Waqf. The Waqf is supposed to respect the status quo and ask Israeli approval before making changes. In 1996, the Israeli government approved a Muslim request to build a large new underground mosque on the Mount. Construction began, and a request to build an "emergency exit" for the new mosque followed, and was also approved.

Enormous excavations were carried out. Thousands of tons of soil and fill were scooped out and trucked away. Those trucks were filled with some of the most precious stuff in the world. The Temple Mount is potentially the most important, exciting place on earth for archaeological digs.

A huge platform is balanced atop the Mount, shored up by enormous earth-and-stone works. King Herod the Great of Judea built this platform in the first century B.C. as a base for an enlarged, rebuilt Temple. (The Temple was the focus of Jewish ritual and pilgrimage.) But Herod's magnificent Temple was burnt to the ground by Roman forces under Titus, later emperor of Rome, in 70 A.D. The Jews had rebelled against Roman overlordship -- Herod himself had been a Roman client; they fought hard and lost. Rome was the only superpower of the day. On Titus' arch of triumph in Rome you can still see carvings of the plunder that the Romans carted home from Jerusalem -- including the famous seven-branched Temple menorah, later destroyed accidentally by fire.

The Romans grabbed as much as they could, but left behind innumerable traces of the Temple and of life in the Second Jewish Commonwealth, in the age when Jesus preached and the Mishnah was composed. There must be other archaeological treasures up there too, fragments of Jewish, Roman, Byzantine, and Muslim life in the centuries following the Roman rampage. Infrared photographs and other survey techniques suggest the presence of vast underground halls beneath the platform's surface. Some ancient rabbinic sources assert that the Ark of the Covenant, lost since the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C., was buried on the Temple Mount; it might conceivably be standing in one of those underground chambers.

But the Waqf has a nice, simple policy regarding archaeological digs on the Mount. Don't bother applying; none are allowed. The world's most important archaeological site is off-limits to archaeology.

Under the circumstances, those underground excavations for the new mosque and its "emergency exit" looked like a stroke of qualified good luck. (The exit turned out to be a 2,000-square-meter pit that entailed the removal of over 6,000 tons of earth.) All that indescribably precious soil was scooped out, trucked away.

And trashed. Hundreds of truckloads were unloaded in municipal garbage dumps. Some drops were made late at night. This was vandalism on a breathtaking scale, and the vandals knew it. (In fact removing the soil was a crime in itself; archaeologists need to inspect soil in situ to understand the context and to know which layers were on top, what came next, and so forth.) All in all this was a sickening crime against the human spirit, a rape of the Mount. But radical Arab leaders routinely deny that a Temple ever existed in this place. They would love to annihilate every trace of Jewish history as they would love to destroy the Jews themselves. For would-be murderers, destroying truth is the next best thing to destroying life.

The precious soil was left unprotected, and garbage accumulated on top. Archaeologists managed to sift through certain portions that remained accessible. Important finds turned up. But "we are certain," Mazar said recently, "that a vast amount of important data was lost."

The Israeli government let it happen; ignored the outcry of Israelis and of archaeologists all over the world and allowed construction and dumping to continue. "The world's patrimony is being carried off in dump trucks," wrote Hershel Shanks (editor of Biblical Archaeology Review) in the Washington Post in July 2000. "All who care about the archaeological remains on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem . . . should be incensed at Israel's failure to stop the Waqf . . . from illegally destroying precious remnants of history important to Muslims as well as to Jews and Christians." An open letter to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, signed by dozens of prominent Israelis of all political colors, demanded that Barak stop "a serious act of irreparable archaeological vandalism and destruction." But he didn't. Many believe that the Barak government refused to act lest the "peace process" be interrupted or Arab violence break out. According to this (all-too-likely) explanation, a pathetically self-deluded Israeli government, conscious of the long, venomous history of Arab and world reactions to Israel, was too anxious and weak to stop this ugly crime.

The Islamic Authority of Jerusalem is no one's idea of a competent protector of one the world's most precious sites. How did it come to be in charge of this spot in the first place?

When the United Nations voted in 1947 to create twin states in British Palestine, a Jewish and an Arab state side-by-side, the city of Jerusalem was to be internationalized and belong to neither. The Zionists accepted this plan but the Arabs rejected it -- and in May 1948, the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and the Arab Legions of Transjordan attacked the new Jewish state. They failed to destroy it but did capture half of Jerusalem--the important half, the Old City, where the Temple Mount stands. For the next 20 years the Kingdom of Jordan refused to allow Jews into the Old City, refused them access to the Western Wall--and systematically destroyed the city's synagogues, presumably as proxies for the Jews who got away.

Egypt provoked another war with Israel in 1967 (the Six Day War) by demanding that U.N. troops be withdrawn from the Sinai buffer zone and blockading the Straits of Tiran. During the fighting, Israeli soldiers recaptured the Temple Mount. They discovered that Jordanians had torn up Jewish tombstones from the Mount of Olives and used them to pave roads and build latrines. And yet soon afterward Israel unilaterally awarded control of the Mount to the Waqf. It was the same sort of pathetic, heartrending gesture that speaks of desperate longing for friendship and no more war that Barak made 30 years later, when he allowed the Waqf to pillage and violate the Mount.

That generous Israeli gesture of the late 1960s was met by universal gratitude throughout the Arab world, especially among the Palestinians of Jerusalem.

Just kidding.

Virtually all such Israeli gestures meet with the same response: redoubled hatred. (In one of the first Israeli digs in Jerusalem after the Six Day War, archaeologists found a previously unknown Muslim palace. "The finds from the early Muslim period are thrilling," said a high ranking official in the Jordanian Antiquities Department at the time, named Rafiq Dajani, "and frankly I am surprised that Israeli scholars have made them public." A few days later he was fired.)

How did it all come to be in the first place? Perhaps it is worth pointing out the obvious: Muslims revere this site in consequence of the Temple that once stood here.

Nowadays some cosmopolitan thinkers speak of the Temple as if it were a folk story or fairy tale or an "alleged" building. But it was as real as the World Trade Center. No sane historian doubts its existence. It is attested in many contemporary sources, Jewish and otherwise.

One report asserts that Titus did not intend to burn the Temple, and said that "the loss would be for Rome. Its continued existence will be a glory of the Empire." But the fighting raged out of control, and the Temple caught fire by accident. In any case, writes Simon Goldhill, professor of Greek at Cambridge University, the Temple "was the largest and most awe-inspiring religious monument in the world." Speaking of the extraordinarily refined and sophisticated engineering that went into Herod's project, Goldhill refers to the Platform's southern retaining wall--which "gives some sense," he writes, "of the [enormous] size of the stones and the brilliance of the wall's construction. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the ancient world."

Israelis created (long ago) the platform on the Temple Mount and the Temple itself, and the religious community that gave it all meaning--a gift to mankind that is valuable beyond measure. Thousands of years later, Israel turned over the keys to the Waqf in a peace offering, an act of friendship. Roughly 30 years after that, they allowed their Arab brethren to pillage and destroy invaluable records of ancient history rather than disturb the "peace process" or the Palestinian Arabs. And so today, Arab leaders demand (in violent outrage) that the world protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque -- their precious, sacred cultural treasure -- by stopping an Israeli construction project that won't go anywhere near it.

They are showing the world a rare combination of laughable hypocrisy and terrifying evil.


'Renew animal sacrifices on Mount' says radical rabbi - http://www.ynetnews.com

Member of Sanhedrin says sacrifices 'were not possible when the people of Israel were in the Diaspora, but now they are.' Adds: Jerusalem Temple should be rebuilt, Israeli government standing in our way

Animal sacrifices should be renewed on the Temple Mount, a member of the radical Sanhedrin organization told Ynetnews.

In ancient Israel and Judea, the Sanhedrin served as the highest court in the land, and was made up of 71 top judges. Now, a group of fringe rabbis say they have reformed the group, although the organization has received no recognition from Israel's official religious authorities.

"In the Torah there are around 200 commandments dealing with animal sacrifices," said Rabbi Dov Stein, of the Sanhedrin organization. "The Torah of Israel demands animal sacrifices. When the people of Israel were in the Diaspora, it couldn't be done. But now, there is the supreme institution, the Sanhedrin, made up of experts, and it can be done. The new Sanhedrin, like the old, will educate the people of Israel on how to keep and safeguard the Torah."

'Democracy was not invented today'

Stein vowed that "we will try to carry out animal sacrifices on the Temple Mount this Passover, as commanded by the Torah."

Asked if his organization sought to rebuild the third Temple, Stein's answer was unequivocal. "We want to establish the Temple again. Unfortunately, standing in our way is a hostile regime, the Israeli government, and rabbis who for political interest don't want this to happen."

Stein even suggested that Muslims would agree to the project, saying: "The Omar Mosque (the Dome of the Rock), built by Khalif Omar, was actually intended to safeguard the site for the Jews. Islam hasn't always been so hostile. Despite its hatred and massacres against us, Islam sees in Judaism a source and a guide. I think the moment will come that Muslims understand the need to build the Temple and go along with us."

Stein outlined his plan for Israel, calling for a king to be appointed democratically. "Democracy was not invented today, the king is elected from a list of candidates. A senior judge, as was done during the days of the judges, can also be appointed," he added.

However, such practices ended 2000 years ago, Rabbi Doniel Hartman was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

"Around that time, animal sacrifice, as a mode of religious worship, stopped for Jews, Christians and Muslims," said the rabbi from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, according to AP. "Moving back in that direction is not progress," he added.

According to mainstream Jewish thought, animal sacrifices must not be carried out outside of Temple, which itself cannot be rebuilt by human endeavor, but will be rebuilt upon the arrival of the messiah.


Israel allows minaret over Temple Mount - By Aaron Klein http://www.WorldNetDaily.com

Olmert consents to Muslim prayer tower while denying Jewish plans for synagogue

JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given permission for Jordan to build a large minaret adjacent to a mosque on the Temple Mount to call Muslims to prayer at the holy site, WND has learned.

The minaret will stand at a site on the Mount where Jewish groups here had petitioned to build a synagogue.

A minaret is a tower usually attached to a mosque from which Muslims are called to the five Islamic daily prayers.

There are four minarets on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The new minaret will be the largest one yet. It will be the first built on the Temple Mount in over 600 years and is slated to tower over the walls of Jerusalem's old city. It will reside next to the Al-Marwani Mosque, located at the site of Solomon's Stables.

Aryeh Eldad, a Knesset member from Israel's National Union party, last year drew up plans with Jewish groups to build a synagogue near the Marwani Mosque. The synagogue was to be built in accordance with rulings from several prominent rabbis, who said Jews can ascend the Mount at certain areas.

A top leader of the Waqf - the Islamic custodians of the Mount - told WND Olmert's granting of permission to build the minaret in the synagogue's place "confirms 100-percent the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) belongs to Muslims."

"This proves Jewish conspiracies for a synagogue will never succeed and solidifies our presence here. It will make Muslims worldwide more secure that the Jews will never take over the Haram al-Sharif," the Waqf official said.

Sources in the Jordanian monarchy and the Waqf told WND Olmert earlier this month gave Jordan's King Abdullah official permission to build the minaret. The sources said the minaret will rise 130 feet above the ancient walls of Jerusalem.

A senior Olmert adviser today confirmed to WND the Israeli prime minister told Abdullah he will allow the minaret's construction.

The adviser said he could not speak on the record because Israel has been waiting for an "opportune time" to officially announce permission for the new minaret.

In October, King Abdullah announced plans to build the fifth minaret, although at the time the Jordanians reportedly did not have Israel's permission to commence construction. Abdullah said the minaret would bear the symbol of the Jordanian monarchy.

The Temple Mount's first minaret was constructed on the southwest corner in 1278; the second was built in 1297 by order of a Mameluke king; the third by a governor of Jerusalem in 1329; and the last in 1367.

Prominent Israeli archeologist Gabi Barkai of Tel Aviv University blasted the new minaret plans.

"I am against any change in the status quo on the Temple Mount. If the status quo is being changed, then it should not just be the addition of Muslim structures at the site," Barkai said.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the international department at Israel's Temple Institute , told WND Olmert's decision to allow the minaret "is repugnant to anyone who knows what it is to be a Jew."

"The decision and Israel's general attitude toward the Temple Mount is the manifestation of spiritual bankruptcy in the country's leadership. Olmert is turning his back on our Jewish heritage while the rest of the world looks at us with amazement at how we can be so insensitive to our own spiritual legacy."

Al Aqsa Mosque built by angels?

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. For Muslims, it is Islam's third holiest site.

The First Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's "presence" dwelt. The Al Aqsa Mosque now sits on the site.

The temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.

The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark the place where Muslims came to believe Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" - believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia - to "the farthest mosque," and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with Jerusalem.

Most Waqf officials deny the Jewish temples ever existed in spite of what many call overwhelming archaeological evidence, including the discovery of Temple-era artifacts linked to worship, tunnels that snake under the Temple Mount and over 100 ritual immersion pools believed to have been used by Jewish priests to cleanse themselves before services. The cleansing process is detailed in the Torah.

According to the website of the Palestinian Authority's Office for Religious Affairs, the Temple Mount is Muslim property. The site claims the Western Wall, which it refers to as the Al-Boraq Wall, previously was a docking station for horses. It states Muhammed tied his horse, named Boraq, to the wall before ascending to heaven.

In an interview with WND, Kamal Hatib, vice-chairman of the Islamic Movement, which will take part in the podium installation ceremonies, claimed the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built by angels and that a Jewish Temple may have existed, but not in Jerusalem. The Movement, which works closely with the Waqf, is the Muslim group in Israel most identified with the Temple Mount.

"When the First Temple was built by Solomon - God bless him - Al Aqsa was already built. We don't believe that a prophet like Solomon would have built the Temple at a place where a mosque existed," said Hatib.

"And all the historical and archaeological facts deny any relation between the temples and the location of Al Aqsa," he continued. "We must know that Jerusalem was occupied and that people left many things, coins and other things everywhere. This does not mean in any way that there is a link between the people who left these things and the place where these things were left."

Al Aqsa official: Jewish temples existed

Last June, in a widely circulated WND interview, a former senior leader of the Waqf contradicted his colleagues, saying he has come to believe the first and second Jewish Temples existed and stood at the current location of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The leader, who was dismissed from his Waqf position after he quietly made his beliefs known, said Al Aqsa custodians passed down stories for centuries from generation to generation indicating the mosque was built at the site of the former Jewish temples.

He said the Muslim world's widespread denial of the existence of the Jewish temples is political in nature and is not rooted in facts.

"Prophet Solomon built his famous Temple at the same place that later the Al Aqsa Mosque was built. It cannot be a coincidence that these different holy sites were built at the same place. The Jewish Temple Mount existed," said the former senior Waqf leader, speaking to WND from an apartment in an obscure alley in Jerusalem's Old City.

The former leader, who is well known to Al Aqsa scholars and Waqf officials, spoke on condition his name be withheld, claiming an on-the-record interview would endanger his life.

He told WND "true" Islamic tradition relates the Jewish temples once stood at the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

"[The existence of the Jewish Temple at the site is obvious] according to studies, researches and archaeological signs that we were also exposed to. But especially according to the history that passed from one generation to another - we believe Al Aqsa was built on the same place were the Temple of the Jews - the first monotheistic religion - existed."

He cited samples of some stories he said were related orally by Islamic leaders:

"We learned that the Christians, especially those who believed that Jesus was crucified by the Jews, used to throw their garbage at the Temple Mount site. They used to throw the pieces of cotton and other material Christian women used in cleaning the blood of their monthly cycle. Doing so, they believed that they were humiliating, insulting and harming the Jews at their holiest site. This way they are hurting them like Jews hurt Christians when crucifying Jesus.

"It is known also that most of the first guards of Al Aqsa when it was built were Jews. The Muslims knew at that time that they could not find any more loyal and faithful than the Jews to guard the mosque and its compound. They knew that the Jews have a special relation with this place."

Temple Mount: No-prayer zone

Currently, even though the Jewish state controls Jerusalem, the Waqf serve as the custodians of the Temple Mount under a deal made with the Israeli government that restricts non-Muslim prayer at the site.

The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.

Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.

The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It still is open but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered "sensitive" by the Waqf.

During "open" days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any "holy objects" to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.


ISRAELI SHEIKH: TEMPLE MOUNT IS ENTIRELY ISLAMIC

Responding to a plan to build a synagogue on Judaism's most sacred site, Sheikh Raad Salah warns that the entire complex is Moslem. Islam was founded 550 years after the Jewish Temple was destroyed.

Sheikh Raad Salah - head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a Hamas supporter, and an outspoken enemy of Israel - warns that Israeli plans to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount could lead to violence and bloodshed. "The day will never come when a Moslem or an Arab will have the right to cede even one foot of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or of Jerusalem," the Sheikh's Al-Aqsa movement announced.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples, the first of which was built by King Solomon in the year 832 BCE, close to 1,500 years before Islam was founded. For most of the next 1,000 years, Holy Temples stood on the site, until the Romans conquered the entire land and destroyed the Second Temple. Though the area came under the control of the Romans, Byzantines, Moslems, Christians, Turks, British and others over the coming centuries, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were always the focus of Jewish religious and national yearnings and continued to be the Jews' "capital in exile." In the Six Day War of 1967, the modern state of Israel liberated the Temple Mount area, placing all of Jerusalem under Jewish control once again after a hiatus of 1,900 years.

Israel, however, never actualized its sovereignty over the holy Temple Mount site, but rather granted the Moslem Waqf nearly total control. Jews, in fact, have not been allowed to pray there ever since then-Chief IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren led a prayer service there on the first Tisha B'Av after the liberation.

As Arutz-7 reported nearly two months ago, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is preparing a plan for the construction of a synagogue on the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The plan must be approved by the Jerusalem municipality's planning committee - an unlikely eventuality - and Ariel is set to meet with rabbis and public figures on the issue later this week.

MK Ariel notes that such a building would "rectify a historic injustice," and that every Supreme Court ruling on the issue has recognized the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount.

"The synagogue will not interfere with believing Moslems who wish to pray at the Al-Aksa Mosque," Ariel said. "On the contrary, this is an opportunity for the Moslem world to demonstrate and prove that it is tolerant enough."

The "Moslem world" is not jumping at said opportunity. The announcement by Sheikh Salah's organization states, "We hereby warn aloud about the existence of a Jewish national consensus that is trying to build the Holy Temple at the expense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We warn that similar plans were submitted to Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak and their publication led to violence, the ramifications of which have not ended to this day."

"The timing of the publication [of this plan] is not coincidental," the Islamic Movement states, "and it jibes with the increased calls for expulsion [of Arabs], the implementation of the policy of religious persecution and national discrimination, and the giving of a green light to the construction of the Third Temple."

"We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque, including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it."

"We remind the Israeli establishment, which stands behind these plans, that the problem of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian problem, but a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic problem. The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque is harmed, Heaven forbid, all the Arab and Islamic nations will call to prevent this damage. Watch out! Beware of merely the thought of hurting or desecrating the mosque."


First Temple artifacts found in dirt removed from Temple Mount

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

The project of sifting layers of Temple Mount dirt has yielded thousands of new artifacts dating from the First Temple period to today. The dirt was removed in 1999 by the Islamic Religious Trust (Waqf) from the Solomon's Stables area to the Kidron Stream Valley. The sifting itself is taking place at Tzurim Valley National Park, at the foot of Mount Scopus, and being funded by the Ir David Foundation. Dr. Gabriel Barkai and Tzachi Zweig, the archaeologists directing the sifting project with the help of hundreds of volunteers, are publishing photographs and information about the new discoveries in the upcoming issue of Ariel, which comes out in a few days.

The bulk of the artifacts are small finds - the term used for artifacts that can be lifted and transported, rather than fixed features. The dirt was removed in the course of excavating the mammoth entrance to the underground mosque built seven years ago in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The Waqf and Islamic Movement in Israel separated dirt from stones, then used the ancient building blocks for rebuilding, in case the police barred construction materials from being brought in.

Most of the finds predate the Middle Ages. The finds include 10,000-year-old flint tools; numerous potsherds; some 1,000 ancient coins; lots of jewelry (pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings and beads in a variety of colors and materials); clothing accessories and decorative pieces; talismans; dice and game pieces made of bone and ivory; ivory and mother of pearl inlay for furniture; figurines and statuettes; stone and metal weights; arrowheads and rifle bullets; stone and glass shards; remains of stone mosaic and glass wall mosaics; decorated tiles and parts of structures; stamps, seals and a host of other items.

The sifting project is precedent-setting: This is the first time dirt from any antiquities site is being sifted in full. Among the many volunteers are soldiers, tourists, high-school students and yeshiva boys. Visitors over the past few months have included ultra-Orthodox MKs and rabbis, who usually steer clear of archaeological digs.

When the dirt was originally trucked out, the late director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori, termed it "an archaeological crime," and the attorney general at the time, Elyakim Rubinstein, said it was "a kick to the history of the Jewish people. Now it turns out that the dirt removed from the Temple Mount harbors thousands of small finds from diverse periods.

The oldest artifacts found are remnants of tools like a blade and scraper dating back 10,000 years. Some potsherds and shards of alabaster tools date from the Bronze Age - the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C.E. (the Canaanite and Jebusite eras). Only a handful of potsherds were found from the 10th century B.C.E. (the reigns of King David and King Solomon), but numerous artifacts date from the reigns of the later Judean kings (the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E.), such as stone weights for weighing silver.

The most striking find from this period is a First Temple period bulla, or seal impression, containing ancient Hebrew writing, which may have belonged to a well-known family of priests mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.

Many other findings date from the Persian period (Return to Zion), Hasmonean, Ptolemaic and Herodian periods, as well as from Second Temple times. Second Temple finds include remains of buildings: plaster shards decorated a rust-red, which Barkai says was fashionable at the time; a stone measuring 10 centimeters and on it a sophisticated carving reminiscent of Herodian decorations; and a broken stone from a decorated part of the Temple Mount - still bearing signs of fire, which Barkai says are from the Temple's destruction in 70 C.E.

The project has also yielded artifacts from the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Early Arab periods. According to Barkai, the Byzantine finds radically alter the assessment that the Temple Mount was empty at that time.

Barkai and Zweig reject doubts cast by other archaeologists on the source of the dirt. They state that eyewitnesses monitored the trucks that removed the rubble, and that they have internal evidence that further confirms the dirt came from the Temple Mount. (from http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=776922).


Israeli Sheikh: Temple Mount is Entirely Islamic

IsraelNationalNews.com. Monday, November 6, 2006 / 15 Cheshvan 5767

Responding to a plan to build a synagogue on Judaism's most sacred site, Sheikh Raad Salah warns that the entire complex is Moslem. Islam was founded 550 years after the Jewish Temple was destroyed.

Sheikh Raad Salah - head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a Hamas supporter, and an outspoken enemy of Israel - warns that Israeli plans to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount could lead to violence and bloodshed. "The day will never come when a Moslem or an Arab will have the right to cede even one foot of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or of Jerusalem," the Sheikh's Al-Aqsa movement announced.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples, the first of which was built by King Solomon in the year 832 BCE, close to 1,500 years before Islam was founded. For most of the next 1,000 years, Holy Temples stood on the site, until the Romans conquered the entire land and destroyed the Second Temple. Though the area came under the control of the Romans, Byzantines, Moslems, Christians, Turks, British and others over the coming centuries, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were always the focus of Jewish religious and national yearnings and continued to be the Jews' "capital in exile." In the Six Day War of 1967, the modern state of Israel liberated the Temple Mount area, placing all of Jerusalem under Jewish control once again after a hiatus of 1,900 years.

Israel, however, never actualized its sovereignty over the holy Temple Mount site, but rather granted the Moslem Waqf nearly total control. Jews, in fact, have not been allowed to pray there ever since then - Chief IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren led a prayer service there on the first Tisha B'Av after the liberation.

As Arutz-7 reported nearly two months ago, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is preparing a plan for the construction of a synagogue on the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The plan must be approved by the Jerusalem municipality's planning committee - an unlikely eventuality - and Ariel is set to meet with rabbis and public figures on the issue later this week.

MK Ariel notes that such a building would "rectify a historic injustice," and that every Supreme Court ruling on the issue has recognized the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount.

"The synagogue will not interfere with believing Moslems who wish to pray at the Al-Aksa Mosque," Ariel said. "On the contrary, this is an opportunity for the Moslem world to demonstrate and prove that it is tolerant enough."

The "Moslem world" is not jumping at said opportunity. The announcement by Sheikh Salah's organization states, "We hereby warn aloud about the existence of a Jewish national consensus that is trying to build the Holy Temple at the expense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We warn that similar plans were submitted to Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak and their publication led to violence, the ramifications of which have not ended to this day."

"The timing of the publication [of this plan] is not coincidental," the Islamic Movement states, "and it jibes with the increased calls for expulsion [of Arabs], the implementation of the policy of religious persecution and national discrimination, and the giving of a green light to the construction of the Third Temple."

"We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque, including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it."

"We remind the Israeli establishment, which stands behind these plans, that the problem of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian problem, but a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic problem. The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque is harmed, Heaven forbid, all the Arab and Islamic nations will call to prevent this damage. Watch out! Beware of merely the thought of hurting or desecrating the mosque."


PA TV educational program:

Jews have no historical connection to Western Wall - It's an Islamic site named for Muhammad's horse

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

During the month of Ramadan, Palestinian Authority television programs focus on religious themes. But even within these programs, PA TV inserts political, hate and violence messages directed at Israel. PA TV is run by the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

One significant message that has been strongly emphasized by repeated broadcasting of the same programs is the denial of Israel's right to exist. One program, which recently appeared on PA TV three times in the course of a single week, features Dr. Hassan Khader, founder of the Al Quds Encyclopedia, who argues that the Jews have no ancient historical connection to the Western Wall of the Temple. He teaches:

"The first connection of the Jews to this site began in the 16th Century... The Jewish connection to this site is a recent connection, not ancient. like the roots of the Islamic connection. Who would have believed that the Israelis would arrive 1400 years [after the beginning of Islam], conquer Jerusalem and would make this wall into their special place of worship, where they worship and pray?"

The true name of the Western Wall of the Temple, according to the PA academic, is really the Al Buraq Wall - named after Muhammad's horse which was tied to the wall - according to an Islamic tradition that attempts to honor Jerusalem.

Finally, Khader praises all the violence and death the Palestinians have initiated to prevent Jews' access to the Western Wall and Temple Mount, from the beginning of the 20th century until now, and indicates that it will continue if Jews insist on the right to the Western Wall.

The following are excepts from his interview:

Khader: "The issue of the Al-Buraq Wall [Western Wall - renamed by Muslims "Buraq Wall" after Muhammad's horse] is one of the wonders which we don't know why it happened in this order [of historical events]. Who would have believed, back then, when Islam began in the time of the prophet, who would have believed that the Israelis would arrive 1400 years later, conquer Jerusalem and would make this wall into their special place of worship, where they worship and pray? It's incredible! We did not invent this place, the Al-Buraq Wall. Know that this wall is the only one of the four walls of the Al-Aqsa Mosque - the Mosque has four sides - this wall is the only one that carries an Islamic name since the beginning of Islam. Allah, praise Him, gave Al-Aqsa its name, and the Al-Buraq Wall was named by the Prophet. The Al-Buraq Wall is the station, similar to a space station, where Al-Buraq [Muhammad's horse] landed. This is the place where Al-Buraq landed and the prophet tied Al-Buraq [to the wall].

[PMW note: The Quran (Sura 17) writes that Muhammad took a Night Journey from the Mosque in Mecca to "The Farthest Mosque" (Al-Aqsa in Arabic) initially understood to indicate heaven. After the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem, Muslims, trying to honor Jerusalem, gave a new interpretation to this words "Al-Aqsa" - meaning it was a Mosque in Jerusalem. -- From Studies in the History of the Arabs and Islam, Prof. Hava Lazarus-Yafeh]

"... This is the place from which the prophet entered and exited Al-Aqsa. I always say that from an Islamic perspective, this is the holy gate of Al-Aqsa. This is the only wall that carries an Islamic name since the dawn of Islam...

"This is the single wall from among the Al-Aqsa walls for which a revolution took place in the past century. Everyone knows the Al-Buraq revolution that took place on August 23, 1929. [Editor - Arabs rioted and killed many Jews] This revolution, that took place for this holy site for the Muslims, and we know, all of you know, oh brothers, that the Al-Buraq revolution was a 'wave' revolution, all Palestinian people took part in it..."

"The first connection of the Jews to this site began in the 16th Century [and cites a "Hebrew Encyclopedia" as a source]. The Hebrew Encyclopedia says that the Jewish connection is a coincidental connection that began in the Ottoman era. If so, the Jewish connection to this site is a recent connection, not ancient, its roots are not like the roots of the Islamic connection...

"The Jewish connection to this site is a fabricated connection, a coincidental connection... "

"[Some may argue:] The Al-Buraq Wall is simply a small wall, a few meters long, a number of bricks, what is it worth? What we are interested in is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and we can give it [the Wall] to the Jews, they have no [other] religious sites. This is a highly significant matter! This site currently represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is the most essential point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. No one can ignore it anymore. As we said, revolutions took place for the sake of [Al-Buraq], and for its sake revolutions are still taking place today. The first revolution in the past century was named after Al-Buraq and Al-Aqsa, and the last revolution, the last Intifada, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, we are still living it until today."

Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin - Oct. 19, 2006
http://pmw.org.il


Opening the Eastern Gate

http://www.stangoodenough.com

Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. (Ezekiel 44:1-2)

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. (Ezekiel 43:2, 4-5)

You could have trouble believing this report.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 dawned like a fairly ordinary day here in Jerusalem (if there is such a thing as an ordinary Jerusalem day). But for at least 40 of the thousands of Christians in the city of the great King, here to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles before Him, an unprecedented experience lay just ahead.

The 40 were part of a group of about 100 who had ascended to the Temple Mount to "put their feet" on what the Bible calls the holiest site in the world. They came to pray for its cleansing and its restoration to Israel, that the Third Temple could be built to welcome the Messiah.

Situated on the sides of the north of the ancient City of David, on the eastern flank of today's Old City, it is the mountain Abraham climbed in order to sacrifice his son Isaac. It was the location of Israel's First Temple, which was filled with the Shekinah glory of God (1 Kings 8:11). And on it stood Israel's Second Temple, the one Jesus called "My Father's house" (John 2:16).

The Bible identifies the mountain as Moriah (Genesis 22;2; 2 Chronicles 3:1). God calls it: "My holy hill" (Psalm 2:6). Undeterred by the raging of the nations and the declarations of Islam, He emphatically states His intention to install His King upon it (Psalm 2:6). The future Temple that will stand there will be the place of His throne; there He will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. (Ezekiel 43:7).

The Islamic Trust (Waqf) forbids Jews and Christians from praying on the Temple Mount. Israel's governments shamefully uphold that ban and cooperate with the Muslims in enforcing it. This writer has been ejected from that site for simply praying quietly in a secluded place up there.

On previous visits the police at the security checkpoint have been brusque, suspicious, unfriendly. They have searched visitors' bags for weapons, and for Bibles (perhaps they know it is called the Sword of the Spirit), preventing believers from taking the Scriptures up with them. The atmosphere on top of the Mount is usually tense and unwelcoming. Waqf officials are arrogant, watching visitors like hawks for any sign of "unlawful" prayer.

This time, every thing was different. Smiling policemen welcomed the group, ushering them through with barely a cursory glance at their bags. No-one was asked whether they had a Bible. We made our way up the ramp and in through the so-called Mughrabi Gate.

It was hard to believe that just the day before, Israeli news sources reported, a multitude greater in size than any seen since the Jews' first return to their Western Wall after the 1967 Six Day War, spilled out of the plaza in front of the Temple Mount and flowed up into the streets of the Old City, as tens of thousands of Jews had come up to the city to receive the traditional blessing from the Cohens - descendants of the biblical priests.

It was also hard to believe that we were in the middle of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, and that more than 100,000 Muslims had been gathering on the mountain in the days preceding this visit.

Inside enclosure all was sunny, tranquil, still. Small groups of God-fearing Jews followed us in, kippot on their heads, tsitsit and side-curls waving gently in the breeze. Israeli policemen in ones and twos were assigned to tail them, steadily, if at a distance, determined to ensure that these - their fellow Jews - refrained from praying anywhere on the mount. High overhead a police chopper beat at the early morning air.

But we were ignored as we spread out, walking to the four corners of the area, past the lead-grey Al-Aqsa Mosque and around the gold-covered Dome of the Rock.

Making my way to the eastern edge of the Mount, I walked towards the gate known to Jews as the Sha'ar Harachamim (Gate of Mercy), and which Christians call the Golden Gate or the Gate Beautiful.

It stood silently sealed, as it has since the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman bricked it up in 1541. Both Jews and Evangelical Christians believe the gate will be opened to let Messiah enter Jerusalem when He comes.

As usual, Israeli policemen were stationed on top of that gate. The vantage point afforded them a spectacular view of the Temple Mount platform on the one side, and the deep drop into the Kidron Valley, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives on the other.

I had wanted on a number of previous occasions to climb up there, but the policemen had always prevented me. This time I did not even think to try.

But wait! Suddenly the police were gone. The iron gate blocking the steps mounting the structure stood open, swinging slowly on its hinges. A few members of the Christian group were already making their way up. No officials barred their way. No shouts stopped them.

Forty of us quickly assembled in that normally inaccessible place. Suddenly, wondrously, the joy of the Lord flooded our hearts, and we sensed the presence of His Holy Spirit.

For 15 glorious, uninterrupted minutes we sang and prayed, all laughing, some weeping, worshiping God and proclaiming His prophetic Word, our hands and faces raised towards heaven, right on top of the Temple Mount!

Walking purposefully in a line from the eastern side of the roof to its western side, a number of women decreed the opening of the Gate for the soon-coming Lion of Judah. Opening a vial of perfumed oil, they poured it out upon the Gate, symbolically anointing it for His return.

The songs and prayers continued for a short space of time. Then the moment ended as Muslim guards appeared from the nearby olive groves, shouting and commanding us to come down.

We left the Gate and, a few minutes later, quietly descended from the Temple Mount. We were awed by what had happened, and rejoiced that we had been given the opportunity to, in this special and amazing way, prepare the way of the Lord.

As the nations continue to gather around Jerusalem, their hostility and their determination to take half the land and half of the city away from the Jews and give them to the Arabs, we pray into God's prophetic promises. We remind God of "the word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:"

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.

Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths."

For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:1-4)

And we declare and look forward to the day when:

The moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously. (Isaiah 24:23)


First Temple artifacts found in dirt removed from Temple Mount

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

The project of sifting layers of Temple Mount dirt has yielded thousands of new artifacts dating from the First Temple period to today. The dirt was removed in 1999 by the Islamic Religious Trust (Waqf) from the Solomon's Stables area to the Kidron Stream Valley. The sifting itself is taking place at Tzurim Valley National Park, at the foot of Mount Scopus, and being funded by the Ir David Foundation. Dr. Gabriel Barkai and Tzachi Zweig, the archaeologists directing the sifting project with the help of hundreds of volunteers, are publishing photographs and information about the new discoveries in the upcoming issue of Ariel, which comes out in a few days.

The bulk of the artifacts are small finds - the term used for artifacts that can be lifted and transported, rather than fixed features. The dirt was removed in the course of excavating the mammoth entrance to the underground mosque built seven years ago in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The Waqf and Islamic Movement in Israel separated dirt from stones, then used the ancient building blocks for rebuilding, in case the police barred construction materials from being brought in.

Most of the finds predate the Middle Ages. The finds include 10,000-year-old flint tools; numerous potsherds; some 1,000 ancient coins; lots of jewelry (pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings and beads in a variety of colors and materials); clothing accessories and decorative pieces; talismans; dice and game pieces made of bone and ivory; ivory and mother of pearl inlay for furniture; figurines and statuettes; stone and metal weights; arrowheads and rifle bullets; stone and glass shards; remains of stone mosaic and glass wall mosaics; decorated tiles and parts of structures; stamps, seals and a host of other items.

The sifting project is precedent-setting: This is the first time dirt from any antiquities site is being sifted in full. Among the many volunteers are soldiers, tourists, high-school students and yeshiva boys. Visitors over the past few months have included ultra-Orthodox MKs and rabbis, who usually steer clear of archaeological digs.

When the dirt was originally trucked out, the late director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori, termed it "an archaeological crime," and the attorney general at the time, Elyakim Rubinstein, said it was "a kick to the history of the Jewish people. Now it turns out that the dirt removed from the Temple Mount harbors thousands of small finds from diverse periods.

The oldest artifacts found are remnants of tools like a blade and scraper dating back 10,000 years. Some potsherds and shards of alabaster tools date from the Bronze Age - the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C.E. (the Canaanite and Jebusite eras). Only a handful of potsherds were found from the 10th century B.C.E. (the reigns of King David and King Solomon), but numerous artifacts date from the reigns of the later Judean kings (the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E.), such as stone weights for weighing silver.

The most striking find from this period is a First Temple period bulla, or seal impression, containing ancient Hebrew writing, which may have belonged to a well-known family of priests mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.

Many other findings date from the Persian period (Return to Zion), Hasmonean, Ptolemaic and Herodian periods, as well as from Second Temple times. Second Temple finds include remains of buildings: plaster shards decorated a rust-red, which Barkai says was fashionable at the time; a stone measuring 10 centimeters and on it a sophisticated carving reminiscent of Herodian decorations; and a broken stone from a decorated part of the Temple Mount - still bearing signs of fire, which Barkai says are from the Temple's destruction in 70 C.E.

The project has also yielded artifacts from the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Early Arab periods. According to Barkai, the Byzantine finds radically alter the assessment that the Temple Mount was empty at that time.

Barkai and Zweig reject doubts cast by other archaeologists on the source of the dirt. They state that eyewitnesses monitored the trucks that removed the rubble, and that they have internal evidence that further confirms the dirt came from the Temple Mount. (10/19/06)


Synagogue Planned For Temple Mount, Hashemites to Add Minaret

by Ezra HaLevi

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is drawing up plans to construct a synagogue on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. Jordan's King plans to build a fifth minaret on the site as well. 

The synagogue would be build upon the Temple Mount, but in an area that is indisputably not within the areas that require immersion and other preparations, according to Jewish law.

Ariel says that the synagogue would not change the Muslim status quo on the mount, which is home to the Al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

"This is not a new idea," Ariel stressed, "it has been brought up and considered countless times since the [1967] Six Day War [during which the Temple Mount was liberated from Jordanian occupation -ed.]."

The plan will be submitted to the Jerusalem municipality and the Committee for Design and Construction for approval. Ariel says that every aspect of the plan will be submitted to leading Torah scholars for approval.

The National Union MK, who visited the Temple Mount himself Monday, said that such a plan was an opportunity for the Muslim world to prove it is capable of rising above the violence and intolerance that have surfaced in the past year as a result of papal remarks and political cartoon portraying Islam's founder Muhammad. Referring to Ariel's visit to the holy site, MK Talab el-Sana (Ta'al) said the "provocation" would bring nothing but "war and bloodshed."

MK Ariel points out that every ruling by Israel's Supreme Court regarding the matter of the Temple Mount has recognized the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount. "This is rectification of a historic injustice, much more than the transport to Israel of [Theodore] Herzl's children's bones [as was done recently, in accordance with his wishes ed.].

"Since the destruction of the Holy Temple, the loss of our independence and the start of our exile and oppression during the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish presence at the site of our temple has always been an unmistakable symbol. The Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders expelled us and prevented Jews from entering Jerusalem, because they couldn't stand to allow the Jewish nation to serve its G-d at this holy site. This synagogue will not interfere with believing Moslems who wish to pray at the Al-Aksa Mosque. On the contrary, this is an opportunity for the Moslem world to demonstrate and prove that it is tolerant enough."

Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah II has donated a huge carpet to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and has announced a contest to design a fifth minaret for the mosque. The existing minarets have been affixed with green neon lights in recent years, dominating the Jerusalem skyline. The planned minaret would be constructed along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount and would be clearly visible towering above the Western Wall.

The project requires approval by the Israeli government before it can begin.

New carpet for the Dome of the Rock Mosque
www.petra.gov.jo/nepras/2006/Oct/17/28000.htm

AMMAN, October 17 (Petra - Jordan news agency) -- New carpet for the Dome of the Rock Mosque will be laid today in implementation of His Majesty King Abdullah It's recent initiative to renovate the mosque's interior.

The new carpeting covers approximately 2,000m sq and was chosen with extra care in terms of color and specifications to concur with the nature and sanctity of the mosque.

During a visit last week to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, King Abdullah announced the construction of a fifth minaret at Al Aqsa Mosque along with other restoration, preservation and maintenance work. The work is being undertaken as part of the Hashemites' responsibilities as custodians of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem since 1924.

The King also announced the creation of a special waqf fund to support the holy places and ensure the continuity of maintenance and protection of Islamic shrines, foremost of which is Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The restoration projects as well as plans pertaining to the building of a fifth minaret at Al Aqsa and the new furniture are estimated to cost around JD5 million.

Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Abdel Fattah Salah said the King's move stems from his keenness to follow up on all issues pertaining to religious sites in Jerusalem and their preservation. He commended the Hashemites for their special and continued care for the mosques over the past decades. "His Majesty's continued offering is part of his love for and commitment to his great grandfather the Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h) and the sacred place where the Prophet ascended to heavens," Salah said.

Hashemite custodianship of holy Islamic places in Jerusalem has been ongoing since 1924 when Sherif Hussein Ben Ali contributed 50,000 gold lira to the restoration of Al Aqsa and other mosques in Palestine. King Abdullah I initiated the call for the renovation the Mihrab Zakariyah and the restoration of the surrounding structures that were damaged during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

During the era of His Majesty the late King Hussein, the Jordanian government in 1952 undertook the first restoration of the Dome of the Rock and the second restoration from 1959-1964. In 1969, the government restored the Minbar Salaheddine (the pulpit of Salaheddine) of Al Aqsa after it was damaged in a fire.

In the late 1980s, King Hussein gave instructions that the Dome of the Rock's golden dome be recovered with 5,000 gold pieces and that its ceiling and infrastructure be reinforced, with special attention to the renovation of Minbar Salaheddine.

King Abdullah II placed the first ornament on a replica of the minbar on 27 Ramadan 2002 at the Balqa Applied Sciences University Islamic Arts College where staff and professors completed the replica. On July 25, 2006, King Abdullah unveiled at Balqa University the completed minbar, marking the beginning of the minbar's return to Al Aqsa Mosque as a testament to the Hashemites' commitment to the renovation and construction of Muslim holy sites.


In the beginning was Al-Aqsa
By Nadav Shragai Haaretz
27 November 2005

A few years ago, an article appeared on the Web site of the northern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement by the Egyptian archaeologist Abed al-Rahim Rihan Barakat, the director of antiquities in the Dahab area of Sinai. Barakat wrote, "The legend about the Jewish temple is the greatest historic crime of forgery."

Barakat went on to explain that David and Solomon had small houses of prayer and had no connection to a temple. He is not alone. A Saudi Arabian historian named Mohammed Hassen Sharab alleges that the Temple of Solomon was built on the site on which the Tower of David now stands. A fatwa on the Web site of the Muslim religious trust (Waqf) in Jerusalem contends that Solomon and Herod did not build the Temple, but only renovated an earlier structure, dating to the time of Adam.

Another claim, made by the Palestinian Authority mufti for Jerusalem, Ikrama Sabri, is that the Temple has been built three times, and that Herod built the third construction. Following this line of logic, the Third Temple has already been destroyed, and therefore the Jewish traditions regarding its future reconstruction are groundless. According to another Muslim version, which has found favor in the past few years, the Temple of the Jews was in Yemen, of all places.

The historian Dr. Yitzhak Reiter, who is now publishing a book entitled "From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back -- the Muslim Rallying Around Jerusalem," has been collating for years thousands of publications, religious legal rulings, statements and pronouncements of Muslim clergymen, historians, public figures and statesmen on the subject of Jerusalem. His book draws in great detail a portrait of the great Muslim denial, a denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and to the Temple. This argument has strengthened in intensity since the Six-Day War.

The book is being published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, a policy studies institution established at the initiative of Teddy Kollek in 1978 and has since published hundreds of studies related to the city and its future. The institute is funded mainly by contributions and is not dependent on municipal or state institutions. It releases an annual statistical yearbook of Jerusalem, and prior to the Camp David Summit in 2000, drafted the options of the repartitioning of Jerusalem and the surrounding area between Jews and Palestinians. Its scholars are now conducting studies in collaboration with Palestinian think tanks.

The Muslim site

Several chapters in Reiter's study describe the parallel rise in the sanctity (!) of Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds (the Muslim name of Jerusalem). For instance, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which according to modern research was built approximately 1,400 years ago, is now being described as a mosque that was built at the time of the world's creation, during the days of Adam, or of Abraham. For example, Abdus-Salam al-Abbadi, a former Jordanian minister of Muslim trusts, has invoked these traditions. So has Sheik Ikrama Sabri, who cited these traditions in a legal ruling he wrote a few years ago, in which he attributed the construction of the Holy Mosque in Mecca and of the Al-Aqsa compound to Adam, and the renewed construction of the Kaaba to Abraham and the renewed construction of Al-Aqsa to Solomon. The Saudi historian Mohammed Hassen Sharab has also written that Al-Aqsa was built by Adam, and another Saudi historian claims that Al-Aqsa Mosque existed even before Jesus and Moses. Another tradition, which is quoted by some present-day Muslim writers, attributes the construction of Al-Aqsa to Abraham. This tradition contends that Abraham built Al-Aqsa 40 years after he built the Kaaba together with his son Ishmael.

Reiter reveals hundreds and thousands of legal rulings, publications and sources that demonstrate the extent to which the denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and to the holy places has grown in the Muslim world. Various Islamic sources are now trying to refute the Jewish conception of Jerusalem's centrality in Judaism, and deny the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, and contend that the Western Wall is not an authentic remnant of the outer retaining wall of the Temple compound, but rather the western wall of the Al-Aqsa compound, the place that Muslims now identify with Al-Buraq, the Prophet Mohammed's wondrous beast of burden, which according to legend was tethered by the prophet to the wall.

The Islamic texts that relate to denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the holy places were found by Reiter at the annual Arab Book Fair held in Cairo, and in bookshops in Islamic communities in Europe, America and Asia. A large percentage of the texts are also accessible to readers of Arabic on the Internet. They gradually seep in and are becoming truth in the eyes of a large Muslim public around the world.

The new Islamic writing, which clashes with the Jewish writing on Jerusalem, poses three fundamental claims: the Jewish presence in Jerusalem was brief (extending only 60-70 years) and does not justify Jewish sovereignty over the holy city; the Temple never existed and the Temple of Solomon, who is solely an Islamic figure from antiquity, was at most a personal prayer room; and the Western Wall is a holy Muslim site whose Jewish connection was invented in the 19th and 20th centuries for political purposes.

Misquoting Kenyon

Many Muslim legal scholars now attach the word "Al Hekhal" (the temple) to the word "Al Mazum," the literal meaning of which is "the purported" or "the supposed," in order to sharpen their position, namely that it is a Jewish invention that has no factual basis. Abed al-Tuwab Mustafa, for instance, who is a lecturer in political science at the University of Cairo and a former host of religious program on Egyptian television, writes in his book that the Jews' belief in the Temple is a specious allegation, and that the supposed research of the Jews is not scientific, but should be regarded as no more than assumptions and hypotheses.

According to Mustafa's analysis, the Temple was a structure that was the size of a spacious apartment and nothing more, and that many other places of worship were referred to as "Hekhal" (temple). He misquotes the report of the British commission of inquiry in the matter of the Western Wall, which was set up in the wake of the 1929 riots in Palestine, and tells his readers that the committee found that the Jews' contention that the Western Wall is one of the walls of Solomon's Temple is incorrect. (In fact, the committee report states the opposite).

Mustafa partly bases his statement on the research of the archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, who determined that the city of Jebus was outside the walls of Haram al-Sharif, in the direction of the Kidron Valley. In other words, if there was a Temple there, it did not occupy the site on which the Mosque of Al-Aqsa now stands. Here, too, it should be noted that the famous archaeologist, who excavated the City of David during the rule of King Hussein, did not have any doubt about the location of the Holy Temple.

A similar distortion appears on the Web site of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. Mohammed Halayka seemingly bases his beliefs on Israeli archaeologists when he states that there is no trace of the Jewish Temple. Halayka writes that since 1967 the Jews have carried out 65 archaeological digs on the Temple Mount. He quotes the archaeologist Eilat Mazar, as having said: "We did not reach a temple, and we have no idea where it was." In fact, in her book Mazar presents findings that support the scriptural sources regarding the Temple, and notes that the reason why there are no original artifacts from the structure of the Temple itself is that it is not possible to carry out excavations beneath the Temple Mount compound, the place in which archaeologists believe the Holy Temple stood.

Senior officials of the Waqf in Jerusalem say it is inconceivable that an archaeological excavation might be permitted in the holy site, and note that none of the excavations around the Temple Mount can corroborate the existence of the Jewish Temple, which is merely a legend. They refer to a statement made by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrama Sabri, and to statements made by his predecessor, the late Mufti Sheikh Saad E-Din al-Almi. Both men stressed the preeminence and supremacy of Islam over Judaism in Jerusalem. Sheikh Sabri has said in the past: "It is not possible that Allah sent the Muslims a house of prayer and asked them to watch over it, when it belongs to another group."

Reiter relates that before publishing his study, he presented its main findings to a well-known Palestinian academic who is a signatory to the Ayalon-Nusseibeh initiative [known as the People's Voice]. "His response was that the discourse that I am presenting, whether it is disseminated by Arafat or by Arab academics, is not acceptable to the wider public. He claimed that nobody buys the stories of the denial of the holiness of Jerusalem to Jews, as spread by Arafat and others. He said that most of the people writing these texts are opportunistic academics wishing to appease their rulers, and that the public at large, and especially the educated public, does not believe them."

Reiter does not agree with his colleague. He estimates that the effect of the widespread barrage of denial cannot be minimized, and notes that politicians and journalists from a variety of Arab states use a significant share of these messages, turning them into part of their political endeavor, thereby intensifying their dissemination.

Until 1967 they spoke differently

For centuries until 1967, the story of the Jewish Holy Temple - details about its construction, traditions surrounding its existence, and even details of the destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar - was a deeply rooted and undenied motif found in Muslim Arabic literature.

Moreover, Reiter notes that classical Arab sources identify the place where Al-Aqsa stands with where the Temple of Solomon stood. An 11th-century geographer and historian from Jerusalem, Al-Mukadasi, and the 14th-century Iranian legal scholar Al-Mastufi both identify the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the Temple of Solomon. In the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi of the 13th century, the construction of the Mosque of Solomon is equated with the construction of the Mosque of Al-Aqsa. The rock inside the compound is usually the touchstone Arab identification of the Temple of Solomon and the heart of the Al-Aqsa compound. Abu Bachar al-Wasti, who was a preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the early 11th century, presents a variety of other traditions in his book of Jerusalem's praises, which present the Jewish past of the Holy Temple.

Even in the 20th century, the Palestinian historian Araf al-Araf wrote (before 1967) that the site of the Haram al-Sharif is that of Mount Moriah, which is mentioned in the Book of Genesis, on which was the threshing floor of Aravna (Ornan) the Jebusite, which David purchased in order to build the Temple on it, and that his son Solomon built the Temple in the year 1007 BCE. Al-Araf even added that the remains of the structures underneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque date to the period of Solomon. Nevertheless, these statements were written at a time when the Old City of Jerusalem was part of the Kingdom of Jordan, and they barely echo in the Arab history books written since 1967 or in contemporary discourse.


10/24/05: Israeli dig to spark Temple Mount violence? - By Aaron Klein - WorldNetDaily.com

JERUSALEM - A senior Al Aqsa leader whose group has been accused of associations with Hamas told WorldNetDaily yesterday recent Israeli digs near the Temple Mount and a plan to construct an underground visitors center near the Western Wall are really Jewish designs to destroy the mosque, potentially sparking deadly riots.

The group, which has previously been involved with Temple Mount violence, has been sending buses the past few weeks to Israeli Arab neighborhoods asking Muslims to "swarm" the Al Aqsa Mosque to protect it from "Jewish attacks," WND has learned.

"The truth is these digs and plans are political in character and goal. It is part of the Israeli occupation and of the Israeli big plan to hurt Al Aqsa," Sheik Kamal Hatib, vice-chairman of the Islamic Movement, told WND. "These diggings endanger the basis of the mosque. The Israelis want and hope that these works will contribute and hasten the destruction of the mosque. In that way they think they will not be accused that they have directly destroyed Al Aqsa."

Hatib was responding to a new archeological site near the Mount recently unveiled by Israel, and Israeli plans announced last month to open an underground tourist center that will snake around pathways under the Western Wall.

Discoveries at the new site include a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., and a wall archaeologists say dates to the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 B.C. The findings were widely reported by the media as strengthening Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

The visitors center, which opens next month, is built around the new findings and includes large glass windows that look into recently excavated sections of the Western Wall. Israel hopes the center, which also features a music and light show, will become a major tourist attraction.

But Hatib blasted the center and dig, warning, "The plans endanger the mosque. Al Aqsa is close to the hearts and is important to all the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims all over the world and even to those who are not religious and are not members of Islamic movements. Every attack or any try to hurt the mosque [will result in] 1.5 billion Arabs and Muslims rushing to defend Al Aqsa."

And Hatib is not just talking. The Islamic Movement the past few weeks has been sending buses to Jaffa and other Israeli Arab neighborhoods offering free trips to the Al Aqsa Mosque to "defend" the structure from "Jewish attacks," Jaffa residents told WND.

"Oh holy Muslims swarm to Al Aqsa to defend it from the evil Jews who are attacking our holy mosque," said a voice yesterday being blasted from a loudspeaker attached to a private bus in Jaffa, a witness said. "The Jews are trying to destroy our Al Aqsa."

"The buses have been coming to our neighborhood almost daily," a Jaffa resident said. "This is the [Islamic] Movement clearly trying to work up the Muslims against Israel."

The bus yesterday was parked outside Jaffa's Hassen Bek Mosque, which has previously been the scene of Arab-Israeli violence.

The Islamic Movement has been directly involved with violence connected to the Temple Mount. In 1996, the Movement was involved in riots in which 80 people were killed, erupting after Israel opened an archaeological tunnel alongside the Mount compound. The Movement was also reportedly involved in inciting Palestinians to throw stones at Jewish worshipers after then-prime ministerial candidate Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in 2000.

Hatib told WND the recent Israeli archeological findings are "nonsense. Finding pieces of one centimeter is nothing near our historical right that counts thousands of years before Israel and before Moses. I suggest to the Israeli and Jewish fanatics and to the Christian groups in America who support them to think about how to support peace and not war."

In an interview with WND this weekend, Hatib said Jews have no historic connection to the Temple Mount.

"We absolutely believe that Al Aqsa, all its different parts, all its walls, all its courts, and everything down the mosque or up it, all these fully belong to the Muslims. Only to them. No one other than the Muslims has any right over Al Aqsa, or even over any grain of its sand."

"About the Kotel (the Western Wall), we deny any relation between the Temple and the Al Aqsa Mosque. We believe that the Western Wall is part of the mosque and not the Wall of Lamentation, as the Jews say. ... The Western wall is an inseparable part of the mosque.

Warned Hatib: "Any attack or any try to hurt the mosque will create an extraordinary situation in the Arab and the Muslim states. I believe that this will change the map of the whole Middle East, and the Israeli side will be the one to lose."


10/24/05 Muslim leader: Messiah not coming to Israel - By Ryan Jones - JNW HEADLINE NEWS

A prominent Israeli-Arab Muslim leader at the weekend blasted Evangelical Christian support for Israel as a misguided effort to hasten the return of the Messiah.

Speaking to WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein, Islamic Movement Vice-Chairman Sheikh Kamal Hatib said the "crazy" Christian support "is based on their faith that the return of the Messiah...would be in Israel."

[Ed. Note - Muslims in general accept that Jesus is the "messiah," but do not regard him as mankind's savior. Nor do they accept that he was a Jew, but rather a "Palestinian" adherent of Islam.]

"Therefore," Hatib continued, "[the Christians] support Israel, because they believe that the continuation of Israel to exist hastens the arrival of the Messiah."

"Allah forbid!" the sheikh exclaimed.

He surmised that this belief has led these Christians to desire "a war of civilizations" between themselves and Islam, which George W. Bush, a born again Christian, is currently leading.

Ignoring that the Bush-led war on terror began as a direct result of unprecedented Islamic attacks on the United States, Hatib condemned what he saw as the true Christian rationale for the conflict.

"The Messiah can never be the reason for war," he stated.

Readers of the Bible know that the Book of Revelation tells of a time when Messiah himself will engage in unparalleled acts of warfare prior to establishing his rule from Jerusalem. (Revelation 19:21)

The Bible also indicates Messiah will only return following the rebuilding of Israel's temple to the Almighty (Malachi 3:1, Ezekiel 43:2-5), something Hatib insists the Jews have no right to do atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

The sheikh echoed discredited Muslim claims that the mosques currently occupying the Temple Mount have been in existence since the time of Adam, and that the children of Israel never had a temple atop Mount Moriah.

"We the Muslims believe that Al Aqsa was built since the time of Adam - Allah bless him," Hatib said. "There is a very clear historical event mentioned in the Koran concerning the mosque that was built by Adam and where all our prophets prayed."

The Koran in fact does not once mention Jerusalem, where, at the time of the Koran's writing, the Temple Mount was occupied by a Byzantine Christian trash dump rather than a mosque.

That did not stop Hatib from insisting the "Al Aqsa [literally 'the furthest mosque'] of the Koran is the same Al Aqsa of our days, not any other mosque."

As for the Jewish temples, "we believe that [they] existed, but we deny they were built near Al Aqsa" - in other words, on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

"When the First Temple was built by Solomon - Allah bless him - Al Aqsa was already built," said Hatib. "We don't believe that a prophet like Solomon would have built the Temple at a place where a mosque existed."

Islam, of course, had its beginnings some 1,500 years after the time of Solomon.

Klein noted that what the sheikh was saying "contradicts reality. There is no serious scholar or archeologist in the world who argues Al Aqsa was built before the Jewish Temples."

Hatib's Islamic Movement is the largest Muslim organization in Israel. It's top leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, has spent time in an Israeli prison for using the organization to fund raise for Hamas.


New 'Sanhedrin' plans rebuilding of Temple - World New Daily June 9, 2005.

Israeli rabbinical body calls for architectural blueprint

The Israeli rabbinical council involved with re-establishing the Sanhedrin, is calling upon all groups involved in Temple Mount research to prepare detailed architectural plans for the reconstruction of the Jewish Holy Temple.

The Sanhedrin was a 71-man assembly of rabbis that convened adjacent to the Holy Temple before its destruction in 70 AD and outside Jerusalem until about 400 AD.

The move followed the election earlier this week of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz as temporary president of a group aspiring to become Judaism's highest-ranking legal-religious tribunal.

However, although Steinsaltz's involvement with the endeavor adds important rabbinic legitimacy, other major halachic authorities, including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the leading haredi Ashkenazi spiritual leader, and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the premier Sephardi halachic opinion, have refused repeated requests to offer their support.

Nevertheless, the group will establish a forum of architects and engineers to begin plans for rebuilding the Temple - a move fraught with religious and political volatility.

The group, which calls itself the Sanhedrin, is calling on the Jewish people to contribute toward the acquisition of materials for the purpose of rebuilding the Temple - including the gathering and preparation of prefabricated, disassembled portions to be stored and ready for rapid assembly, "in the manner of King David."

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the burgeoning Sanhedrin, said in an official statement that because of "concerns that external pressure would be brought to bear upon individuals not to take part in the establishment of a Sanhedrin, the names of most participants have been withheld up to this point."

"The increasingly anti-Jewish decisions handed down by the Supreme Court prove the need for an alternative legal system based on Jewish sources," said Weiss. "More and more people, including Torah scholars, are beginning to understand this."

In addition to the election of Steinsaltz, the rabbis present also chose a seven-man committee, headed by him, to campaign for the acceptance of the idea of a Sanhedrin.

Those chosen include Rabbi Nachman Kahane, brother of murdered Jewish Defense League and Kach leader Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane is the rabbi of the Young Israel of Jerusalem's Old City and heads an organized study of Temple rituals and ceremonies, as well as cataloging all known kohanim (priests) in Israel.

Others on the committee are Rabbi Dov Levanoni, an 83-year-old Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi and expert on the Holy Temple; Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem; and Rabbi Yoel Shwartz, founder and rabbi of the "Nahal Haredi" Israeli Defense Forces unit specifically designed to enable the haredi public to join the IDF, and teacher at Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim who has authored about 200 books on a wide variety of subjects in Jewish law and theology.

Steinsaltz is best known for his translation and commentary on the Talmud, but he has also served as resident scholar at Princeton and Yale Universities. He heads a network of Israeli educational institutions called Mekor Chaim and outreach programs in the U.S., the former Soviet Union, Great Britain and Australia. He is also a past recipient of the Israel Prize.

The Sanhedrin was reestablished last October in Tiberias, the place of its last meeting 1,600 years ago. Since then, it has met in Jerusalem on a monthly basis.


Temple Mount destruction stirred archaeologist to action
Feb 8, 2005
By Michael McCormack

NEW ORLEANS (BP)--Gabriel Barkay's excitement over new discoveries at the Temple Mount -- the Jerusalem site that carries great significance to the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths -- is tempered by the destructive events that led to them.

Barkay, professor of archaeology at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, visited to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for a Jan. 27 lecture sponsored by the seminary's Center for Archaeological Research.

"In November 1999, the Islamic authorities carried out a huge excavation of [the part of the Temple Mount known as Solomon's Stable]," Barkay said. "They built a modern entrance to the building instead of the existing entrance, and they dug a huge pit with the help of bulldozers and 300 [dump trucks] that removed the dirt from the earthen fills of this spot."

Barkay showed pictures of tractors demolishing structures dating to the Twelfth Century Crusades. The demolition went on without any regulation or archaeological supervision, he said. Builders at the Temple Mount took many of the ancient stones from earlier Jewish buildings and cut them down to make modern stones.

"Who knows how many inscriptions we lost in this way?" Barkay said. "Who knows how many decorated stones were defaced in this manner? The earth was saturated with ancient materials, and it was dumped in the Kidron Valley to the east of the Temple Mount."

Many of the Jewish and Christian artifacts dating to the Crusades and to the first and second temples were covered up, destroyed or removed. In view of these developments, Barkay began to act.

"We formed a committee for monitoring what goes on at the Temple Mount," he said. "We take weekly aerial photos of it. Today there is much less activity. We're doing our best to protect every grain of dirt."

Just two months ago, Barkay put his archaeological know-how into action; he got a license to excavate the dumping grounds in the Kidron Valley.

"We began a project of collecting the dirt from the dumping areas. We moved the piles of dirt to a well-protected area," he recounted. "We covered them with plastic sheets. Each pile was marked with the exact place of origin and exact depth we could estimate from which it came."

His team used sifting machines to separate stones from more delicate items. Then they began searching through the material by hand.

"This effort already yielded some scores of coins," he said. "We have coins from the 12th century, the 19th century, up to the first century B.C. We have some second-century B.C. Antonian coins. We have some Herodian coins."

Among the other things, the team found a Christian charm bearing the image of John the Baptist with an infant Jesus and the Jordan River in the background. They found an alabaster dish from the Persian Period and an ivory comb from the Second Temple period. Though much had already been lost, the substance of what they are finding is encouraging amid the delicate and unfortunate situation.

What occurs at the Temple Mount is not merely an Israeli affair or a Jewish issue, noted Steven Ortiz, director of the Center for Archaeological Research. Christians have a connection to the situation as well. "Christianity is a religion based on a God who acts," Ortiz said. "Because of that [the Temple Mount] takes on a sacredness, not because of the space it occupies but because it provides tangible evidence for the historical events associated with the life of Jesus."

Barkay prefaced his account of current events at the Temple Mount with an overview of its historical and religious significance.

"The Temple Mount is the most important part of Jerusalem," Barkay said. "No doubt the Temple Mount is the most delicate, the most disputed, the most fragile point of the current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis."

After a pause, he continued: "Actually, the Temple Mount represents the whole conflict in a nutshell."

Similar to the clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, the tension surrounding the Temple Mount springs from a question of ownership. Which group's account of its history takes precedence?

Muslims believe the Temple Mount is the place where Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, ascended to heaven. On the other hand, for Jews and Christians, the Temple Mount is the place where the Jewish temple once stood and is the "center of spiritual and religious national aspirations of the Jews in Israel," Barkay said. In addition, the Temple Mount was where Jesus taught and overturned the moneychangers' tables.

Jewish tradition holds that rock at the summit of the Temple Mount was the first rock laid down as the foundation of the rest of creation, Barkay said. The tradition holds that creation of the world began there. It is also at the summit of the Temple Mount where Jews believe Abraham, by faith, bound Isaac when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son.

On that same bedrock, Solomon built the First Temple in the 10 century B.C. That temple stood 400 years before it was burned by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 25).

"After several decades, the decree of King Cyrus brought the [Jews] back from Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, and in 515 B.C., the Second Temple was inaugurated on the same spot," Barkay said.

About 400 years later, King Herod the Great initiated the next major building project on the Temple Mount. The present-day size and shape of the Temple Mount is a result of Herod's decades-long building plan.

"Herod took the huge dome-shaped hill and put it in a large box," Barkay said. "The gap between the walls of the box and the slopes of the mountain [were] filled in with an artificial fill, thus more than doubling the area of the Temple Mount."

The Islamic claim to the Temple Mount originated in 638 A.D. when Omar, leader of the armies of Islam, entered Jerusalem. Omar built a wooden mosque on the Temple Mount, and the present-day Dome of the Rock is considered to be the third most holy site for Muslims, behind Mecca and Medina.

While all three religions -- Christianity, Islam and Judaism -- have ties to the Temple Mount, Barkay said unfortunately the remains of Jewish, and thus Christian, structures on the Temple Mount are being destroyed and removed.

A year ago, Barkay spoke at NOBTS on his historic 1979 discovery of two tiny, silver amulets containing the earliest fragments of Scripture found to date. The miniature scrolls, uncovered just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, bore the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. Source: http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?ID=20094


News Article, December 9, 2004:

Members of Reestablished Sanhedrin Ascend Temple Mount


A Contentious Battle for the Temple Mount's Survival

10/7/04 CBN.com - Gabriel Barkay is a professor of Biblical archaeology at Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His academic areas of interest include the archaeology of Jerusalem, burials and burial customs, and art, epigraphy, and glyptics in the Iron Age. Professor Barkay's most famous discoveries are small silver plaques containing the priestly benediction from the Book of Numbers. These plaques are believed to contain the oldest biblically-related inscription. Recently he spoke with Pat Robertson in Israel about the concerns over the collapse of the Temple Mount.

PAT ROBERTSON: I am here in Jerusalem, and yesterday I was on the Temple Mount, and went over extensively what is being done there. You cannot believe what the Muslims have done in violation of a treaty. They have carved underneath the floor of the land adjoining the al-Aqsa mosque, a mosque that will hold 10,000 people -- huge steps leading down to it. And in the process, they have excavated enough fill material to imperil the wall structure. The wall is bulging out, and the people of Israel are warning that during Ramadan, if thousands and thousands of people come in there, that the entire structure could collapse. It is very serious. I learned something else I will tell you about after this interview, that was moving to me as I was there on that site. I had an interview with a man who is a leading archeologist here in Israel, to tell about a cultural Intifada. The word 'Intifada' means shaking. It is not just an Intifada that deals with military action in Gaza and other parts of the West Bank; there is a cultural Intifada that is even more devastating. Here is that interview taken up on the Mount of Olives yesterday.

I am here overlooking the Temple Mount with a leading archaeologist, Gabriel Barkay in Israel, who is with the Bar-Ilan University. We want to find out what is going on in the Temple Mount. It is nice to have you with us on The 700 Club. Could you tell me, we heard there is a possibility of a collapse of the al-Aqsa mosque from all of the pilgrims who will come here in Ramadan, because of excavations. Can you tell us the situation there?

GABRIEL BARKAY: Actually, the Temple Mount is a huge enclosure that is larger even than the City of David. That huge enclosure was created by King Herod the Great who, instead of a mountain, created a flat platform. He surrounded the mountain with a large shoebox-shaped arrangement of tall and heavy walls. These walls are retaining walls, behind which there is artificial fill, between the retaining wall and the natural slope of the mountain. So, instead of the mountain, we have now a flat platform. With the activities of the religious authorities of the Muslims upon the Temple Mount since the 1990s, with the construction of the al-Marwani mosque within the subterranean structure, including also paving of much of the area next to the al-Aqsa mosque, the very delicate equilibrium that existed there for many centuries was disturbed. Today the runoff of rain water does not penetrate the ground, but it penetrates the walls. The eastern wall of the Temple Mount got cracked. The south wall of the Temple Mount has a huge bulge developing on it, and the matter is, that the last earthquake, which took place in February of 2004, did not help too much. And with large crowds gathering upon the paved areas of the Temple Mount, we see a very, very dangerous situation.

ROBERTSON: The bulge of the wall, I understand the Jordanians have moved in to try to reinforce it. Are they doing that? Is anybody doing that, to reinforce the wall?

BARKAY: We can see from this point, that next to the southern wall of the Temple Mount there are scaffoldings against the wall. Along the -- or on the face of the eastern wall -- you can see scaffolding as well. This is the work of an Egyptian team. They work there. They carry out their repairs, which were achieved in a kind of a secret agreement between the Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians. In 1996, the mosque, which was built into that place, that is a mosque that houses today up to 10,000 people. It is a huge subterranean mosque. It was added as part of the illicit construction activity by the Wakfa authorities since the 1990's.

ROBERTSON: What agreement was it that allowed the Palestinians to do this kind of work?

BARKAY: Actually, there was no such agreement reached between the parties. In the Camp David talks in 2000, President Clinton and others brought up the idea that in the future, there will be a division of sovereignty on the Temple Mount. Whatever is above ground will be for the Palestinians. That will include the mosques. And whatever is underground, which includes the remnants of the temples of the Jews and anything else, that would be Israeli sovereignty. And so the Muslims got the message and began to dig down and they began to fill in every subterranean hollow and every space which was there, to occupy it, in order to avoid any possible presence of Israelis later on, if and when a future solution is reached. Actually what we see is that the Temple Mount is regarded as a political matter, rather than a place to be cherished by all nations.

ROBERTSON: This is Solomon's Temple and the place where Jesus walked. How does it get to be a Muslim holy site?

BARKAY: Upon this rock, on top of the Temple Mount, which is now under the golden Dome of the Rock, upon that rock Abraham, according to Genesis 22, tried to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. The father-son sacrifice in Jerusalem go together, not only in the case of Abraham, but also with Jesus. In any case, that took place on the Temple Mount. Later on, David built upon that same rock, built an altar in the threshing floor of the Araunah the Jebusite, to stop the plague. His son Solomon built the first temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian. Then later on, the second temple was built. In any case, the place of the temple is the foundation stone of the Judeo-Christian common tradition. When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, that was in 1638 of the Christian era, and the army of the prophet a short time after the prophet's death, was led by Omar. And Omar had in his army several Jews from Arabia who served in his forces. Among them there was a man named Cobb. This man told him about the significance of the Temple Mount, and Omar immediately built a wooden mosque on the Temple Mount, which was the first mosque built there. And this is regarded as the third in its importance for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina.

ROBERTSON: Is there any possibility that the Jews will take back sovereignty over the Temple Mount, which is their heritage, and prevent this desecration from going on?

BARKAY: Following the Six Days War, the government of Israel declared Jerusalem a united city and the capital of the state of Israel. So Israeli sovereignty is all -- is upon all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. On the other hand, it was clear that there would be much Arab and Muslim opposition to any activity of the Israelis upon the Temple Mount, so the day-to-day care of the Temple Mount was left in the hands of the Muslim religious authorities, the Wakfa. This was the situation until the 1990s. In the 1990s, that very fragile continuous situation got broken when a new mosque was built, and as for the future, you know that it is dangerous to be a prophet in Jerusalem. I am a Jerusalemite, but I am no prophet, so I cannot tell.

ROBERTSON: Thank you for being with us.

BARKAY: Thank you very much.

ROBERTSON: Ladies and gentlemen, as I am here in Jerusalem, I am simply appalled at the desecration of holy sites that are holy to Jews and Christians. What is happening here, as I said before, is a cultural Intifada, an attempt to erase all knowledge that the Jews were in the holy land, and to try to make believe that they had no right to be here at all. There is a desecration of the tomb of Joseph, and the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, etc. The whole situation is terribly fragile. It is impossible to get into Bethlehem without the right kind of tour with Muslim plates. Jericho is completely closed off. It is a mess from the way it used to be.


Tisha B'Av News

JEWS BARRED FROM TEMPLE MOUNT WHILE MOURNING DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES

The Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - was closed to Jews today in response to Muslim threats of violence if Jews were allowed to visit. The decision was made by Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franco, citing the threat of Arab violence toward Jews who would enter the holy site.

The closure is particularly painful for many Jews, as today is the Fast of Tisha B'Av - the 9th of the Jewish month of Av - marking the destruction of both the first and second Temples. Several other Jewish tragedies also took place on this date in history.

The decision to close the holy site to Jewish visitors came as a surprise to hundreds of people from across the country who had planned on ascending the Mount today.

The Supreme Court, hearing a petition by the Temple Mount Faithful yesterday, heard testimony from Franco himself to the effect that there appeared to be no necessity to close the Mount "unless an unusual security event occurs." Gershon Solomon, head of the Temple Mount Faithful organization, later summed up,

"Based on this, the Court ruled that this would be the policy. Unfortunately, however, I have to say that Franco lied, in that he knew he was not planning to open the Mount; we see that there was no 'unusual security event,' and yet he still did not allow us to enter. This has been the policy ever since I remember on Tisha B'Av, and on many other holidays as well - not to allow the Temple Mount Faithful to enter the holy site, and consequently other Jews as well." 

Solomon said that Franco's decision has "devastating political and security ramifications, including increased Islamic violence and destruction surrounding Temple Mount issues, as once again, threats of Islamic violence have achieved their desired result."

Members of the Temple Mount Faithful marched instead around the outside of the Temple Mount to signal their desire to ascend the Mount. The group had hoped for a change in police attitudes following Franco's assumption of the Commissionership, but the group says he seems to have adopted the approach of his predecessors in banning Jews from the Temple Mount whenever Muslims threaten violence against them.

Solomon said that the recent comments by Minister of Public Security Tzachi HaNegbi (Likud) did not seem to have an effect on the decision today, "as this has been the policy all along. But there is no question that he caused damage to the People of Israel in giving ammunition to our enemies and in 'letting the blood' of Jews who ascent to the Mount." Minister HaNegbi said three nights ago that he is certain that Jews are planning to carry out an attack on the Temple Mount. His disclaimer that he has no concrete evidence to support his claim was ignored by the Arab League and the Muslim Waqf, which turned to international bodies to "prevent Jewish extremists from endangering the Moslem holy sites on the Temple Mount."

Temple Mount supporters held a spontaneous protest demonstration in front of Minister HaNegbi's home in Mevaseret Tzion today. Among the protesters were Jews who had intended to visit the holy site this morning.

Health Minister Danny Naveh (Likud) said this morning that decisions made under the threat of Arab violence are "intolerable." He expressed the desire that decisions regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount should be transferred from the authority of the police to a ministerial level. "The Temple Mount is the only place in the world where Jews cannot pray," Naveh said, "even though it is the holiest site to Judaism. Although there are differences of opinion amongst today's rabbis whether Jews should ascend the Mount, there are those who wish to, and it is their right. We cannot live under the [Arab] threat that if we let Jews pray there, [violence] will occur. Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is a Jewish right that must be realized."

RABBI GOREN AND THE MOUNT

At last night's traditional silent march around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem (see below), Women in Green's Nadia Matar described the modern history of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount:

"On Tisha B'Av in 1967, 1,897 years after the destruction of the Second Temple, Rabbi Shlomo Goren [IDF Chief Rabbi and Maj.-General, who later became Chief Rabbi of Israel], may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing, entered the Temple Mount plaza with several dozen other Jews, to an area where Jewish Law permitted them to be. They brought with them a shofar [ram's horn] and a Torah Ark with a Torah scroll, and they conducted the afternoon prayer service. This prayer service on the Temple Mount aroused a public storm in Israel and abroad. The media launched unbridled agitation against Rabbi Goren's initiative to renew Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and his request to conduct a mass prayer service on the Sabbath following Tisha B'Av was categorically rejected. The government told Rabbi Goren in no uncertain terms: If Jewish worshipers ascend the Temple Mount, they would be evacuated by security forces.

"In response to this terrible decree, Rabbi Goren wrote a letter to the Ministerial Committee for the Safeguarding of the Holy Places. His words could have been written today, almost forty years after we liberated the place of our Temple, while, to our shame, the Temple Mount is still closed to Jewish prayer. The following are a few passages from his letter:

'Honored Ministers! Your decision by which you forbid me, as an individual, and the Jews as a whole, from praying on the Temple Mount shocked me to the depths of my soul. Your decision means that the only place in the world in which an express and specific ban has been placed on the Jew, as a Jew, to pray, is Mount Moriah, the mount of the L-rd to which all of Israel's prayers are directed, the location of the nation's Holy of Holies...

'From the destruction of the Second Temple until three hundred years ago, the prayers of Jews on the Temple Mount did not cease... The uniqueness of the Kotel (Western Wall) as a place of prayer is a historical innovation, and is not more than three hundred years old. It began after the decrees and limitations placed by the Muslim rulers on the Jews, and the abrogation of the 'synagogue' ... that had existed for centuries on the Temple Mount... In no manner or form is the Western Wall entitled to be a substitute for the Mount of the Lord. The prayers at the Wall symbolize the exile of the people and its expulsion from the Temple Mount, while our prayers on the Temple Mount represent the return of the people to its land and the place of its Temple.

'Who could conceive that Israel's security forces would be compelled to obstruct Jews from praying before the Lord, when the Temple Mount is under the government of Israel? And is this our situation now, after our dazzling victory? Is this what we waited for - that the government of Israel would discriminate between Jew and Muslim, and place guards lest, Heaven forbid, Jewish prayer would be uttered on the Temple Mount, about which the Prophets prophesied, 'For My House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples' [Isaiah 56:7]? Jewish history shall not forgive us for this.

'My request is to open wide the gates of the Temple Mount to all Jews and for everyone in the world. Save the Holy of Holies of the nation, do not hand over the Temple Mount to those who defile it. 

'Signed in grief, in hope, and in blessing, Shlomo Goren, General, Chief Rabbi of Israel.'"

10TH ANNUAL TISHA BAV MARCH ENCIRCLES JERUSALEMS OLD CITY WALLS

Last night marked the 10th anniversary of the revival the ancient custom of encircling the walls of Jerusalem's Old City on the eve of Tisha B'Av - the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av, the day the first and second Temples were destroyed.

The revival of the ancient custom was initiated by the Women In Green organization, headed by Nadia and Ruth Matar. They first requested a permit from the Jerusalem Police in 1994 to allow the march, but were turned down on the grounds that such a march through eastern Jerusalem would constitute a provocation. Women in Green then turned to Israel's High Court, which ruled that the march could take place, but only with 500 women wearing identifiable green hats. Whoever marched in addition to those 500 would have to march as an individual, the Court ruled.

The march has grown steadily over the past decade, and last night's encirclement of the walls attracted more than 10,000 participants. The silent march was preceded by the traditional reading of Eichah (the Book of Lamentations) in the large plaza that abuts Jerusalem's City Hall.

Knesset members "still loyal to the Land of Israel," in Nadia Matar's words, as well as rabbis took part in the march. They addressed the crowd opposite Lions Gate, where IDF Paratroopers entered the Old City in 1967 to liberate the Temple Mount.

"We stand here on the 9th of Av not only to mourn the destruction of our first and second Temples," said former Cabinet Minister Rabbi Benny Elon (National Union). "The Fast of the 9th of Av also marks the day when the twelve spies sent to scout out the Land of Israel returned, with ten of them saying that the Land was unconquerable, and two of them insisting the opposite: 'Arise, let us conquer it, for God is with us.'"

"We see from this biblical episode that what is right is not decided by the majority," said Elon. "On Tisha B'Av we are prohibited from greeting one another, in order to set each person apart with only himself and the Creator. This is so that each Jew can look beyond the loud slogans of the tired majority, break away from the flock and decide on his own what is right for the eternal Nation of Israel."

Other speakers included MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and Har Nof's Rabbi Shalom Gold of the Aloh Naaleh organization, which encourages North American rabbis to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel) together with their congregations.

Women in Green's co-founder Nadia Matar delivered a stirring speech that echoed through the City of David, below the Old City. She said,

"On June 7, 1967, our paratroopers broke through the Lions Gate, and liberated the entire Old City. At 10 AM, three paratroopers, following General Motta Gur's orders, climbed to the top of the Dome of the Rock and unfurled an Israeli flag over it. Four hours later, at 2 PM, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan arrived, surrounded by his entourage. Nadav Shragai writes in his book The Contested Mount: 

'Dayan was immersed in his thoughts when IDF Chief Prosecutor Meir Shamgar drew his attention to the fact that the Israeli flag had been raised over the Temple Mount since the morning. Dayan ordered that it immediately be lowered. Then Dayan spotted a paratrooper company that was preparing for permanent deployment in the northern part of the Temple Mount, and he ordered that they, too, be removed from the Mount.

'Central Region Commander Uzi Narkiss sought to persuade Dayan, reminding him that Jordan, as well, had kept a military unit on the Mount to maintain order. Dayan was not convinced. He told Narkiss that it seemed to him that the place had to be entrusted to the Muslims.'

"Several days later, Dayan decided finally that the place and its administration were to be entrusted to the Muslim Waqf. At the same time, he decided to insist that Jews be allowed to visit the Temple Mount, but not pray there. Later on, Dayan gave an explanation for his scandalous decision - a decision that proved to all just how much Dayan was an assimilated Jew and an ignoramus. He explained that, 'since for the Muslims the Temple Mount is a Muslim mosque for prayer, while for Jews it is merely a historical site recalling the past, the Arabs are not to be disturbed in acting there as they do now, and the right of the Muslims to control it must be recognized.'

"My friends, the State of Israel exists for 56 years. Of these, we were truly, in the words of the HaTikvah, Israel's national anthem, a 'free people in its land' only for four hours. Those four hours were those in which the Israeli flag waved above the Temple Mount. [It is] as the poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg knew, that whoever controls the Temple Mount controls all of the Land of Israel.

"The order to lower the Israeli flag from the Temple Mount in '67 constituted the beginning of the continued withdrawal and collapse by Israel's governments to the Arab enemy. There is a clear and direct connection between the removal of the Israeli flag from the Temple Mount in '67 and the retreat from Yamit, from there to the criminal Oslo accords, from there to the Wye agreements, and from there to Ariel Sharon's ethnic cleansing plan to deport Jews and hand over vast portions of our homeland to the enemy. Obviously, anyone who abandons the Temple Mount, the very heart of the Jewish people, will eventually hand over the rest of the homeland to that same Arab foe.

"But there is also good news. We, the people, are capable of changing the situation. Admittedly, we have many weak and tired political leaders, who are no different from the ten spies who slandered the Land of Israel. Those scouts were afraid. They did not believe or have the faith that we could conquer our Land. As is common knowledge, it was specifically for the sin of the spies that we were punished. G-d turned the day on which the Land was besmirched by these messengers, which fell on the ninth of Av, into a day of destruction and mourning. Today, we must correct this sin. Today, the People of Israel rejects the way our people reacted in the wilderness. Then, the response of the people was to believe the ten spies, to weep, to complain, and to tearfully implore Moses to return to Egypt. 

"Yesterday we had a magnificent human chain, with more than 200,000 participants, from Gush Katif to the Temple Mount. Today, we have tens of thousands participants in the Walk, who encircle the Temple Mount as a bride encircles her groom under the wedding canopy. This Walk has been held for ten years in succession now, and just grows from year to year. All of this demonstrates that the majority of the people received the genes of Caleb ben Yefuneh and Joshua ben Nun, who believed in the justness of our Cause, and who did not fear to say, 'We will certainly go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it' (Numbers 13:30).

"We must deliver an unequivocal message to all the politicians today who, once again, slander the Land and are willing to surrender parts of it: This shall not come to pass. The people shall not allow you, even if you cook up a majority in the Knesset and the government. The majority of the people of Israel, throughout the ages, clearly say: 'The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel, in accordance with the Torah of Israel, and no one has the right to cede it.' Don't delude yourselves: Yesterday we stood in the human chain like nice and very disciplined children, and today we are holding a quiet and respectable march - but you should know that for us the Land of Israel is like our child, and if, Heaven forbid, the patently illegal order should come to take our child from us, the masses that we saw yesterday in the human chain, and today in this Walk, will be forced to react as a lioness defending her cubs against criminal and murderous hunters.

"With G-d's help, we will not have to face such harsh situations. With G-d's help, in the coming months we will succeed in sending home, to early retirement, all the political leaders who today are betraying Zionism and Judaism, and thereby bury their plan of destruction. In their place we shall find true, proud Jewish leaders, leaders who shall fearlessly proclaim throughout the whole world: 'The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel, in accordance with the Torah of Israel.'"

Psalm 137 about Jerusalem was read aloud, a shofar was blown, and the marchers then continued to the Kotel, the western wall of the Temple Mount. Well over 100,000 people visited the Wall last night and today, reciting the liturgical Kinnot lamenting the destruction, exile, and other catastrophes Israel has undergone. (News Editors: Hillel Fendel and Ezra HaLevi) July 27, 2004.


Research Paper: The Location of the First and Second Jewish Temples

"Determination of the location of the Temple based on the angle of sight of Agrippa II"

by Tuvia Sagiv sagivtuvia@barak.net.il

http://templemount.org/sagiv2/


Eastern Temple wall in danger of immediate collapse

Etgar Lefkovits, Jerusalem Post International, May. 19, 2004

The eastern wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount is in danger of immediate collapse, which could cause a 'domino effect' and bring down other sections of ancient compound, the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Shuka Dorfman said Tuesday.

The rare public warning, made at a meeting of the Knesset's Interior Committee, came one month after a team of senior Egyptian and Jordanian engineers began to carry out tests to determine the stability of the eastern wall.

Dorfman's first public comments on the issue Tuesday followed a classified report issued by the Israel Antiquities Authority earlier this year, which stated that the 2,000- year-old wall was in danger of immediate collapse as a result of a February earthquake that rattled the region. The report says that the February 11 earthquake damaged the eastern wall of the Temple Mount to such an extent that sections of the wall are liable to cave in on the underground architectural support of the mount, known as Solomon's Stables.

New cracks and movements in the already fragile wall were discerned by archaeologists following the earthquake, the report states.

The six-person team who conducted a survey last month, which included four Egyptian engineers and geologists and two architects from Jordan, was summoned to Jerusalem at the behest of the Jordanian government,

The Jordanians, who have been charged with the ongoing repair of a bulge on the southern wall over the last year, have become increasingly involved in Temple Mount issues after nearly a decade when they were sidelined at the site by the Palestinian Authority.

A representative from the prime minister's office told the Knesset committee that staff work was underway on the matter.

Dorfman's public warnings over the danger to the eastern wall mirrored concern among Israeli archaeologists over the possible collapse of the southern wall in the fall of 2002 following months of bickering between Israel and the Wakf over who would repair the bulge, a dispute which was resolved with the Jordanian involvement.

Israel maintains overall security of the site, while the Wakf, or Islamic Trust, is charged with day-to-day maintenance at the compound. The Wakf director, Adnan Husseini, has previously asserted that there is "no problem" at the eastern wall.

Israeli archaeologists from the Antiquities Authority have not been carrying out routine supervision at the site for more than three years, despite the reopening of the ancient compound to non-Muslims last year, due to concern over renewed Palestinian violence at the site.

"Our ongoing demand for the renewal of full archaeological supervision of the site is needed now more than ever after it has been proven yet again that the direct result of the lack of such inspection on the Temple Mount is further antiquities damage as well as physical danger," said Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, a leading mount expert and a senior member of the non-partisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount.

At the Knesset meeting Tuesday, committee head Yuri Shtern (National Union) called on the prime minister to have an authorized Israeli team carry out the needed repair work at the mount's eastern wall, as opposed to the foreign team at work on the southern wall.



Archaeologist: Major inspection of Temple Mount stability essential
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

A comprehensive inspection of the stability of the Temple Mount compound and the surrounding walls is urgently required, archaeologist Eilat Mazar said Sunday after visiting the site where an embankment near the Western Wall collapsed Saturday night.

"A major collapse at the site, which would cause a major disaster, is only a matter of time," she warned.

Mazar, who runs a Hebrew University project to publish the findings of archaeological digs on the Mount, is also a member of the Committee for Preventing the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount and a senior fellow at the Shalem Center.

She said state agencies are perpetually engaged in "putting out fires" when it comes to the stability of the Mount and its walls, but have avoided comprehensive inspection, supervision and preservation of the site.

On Saturday night, during a heavy snowfall, a 10-meter-wide section of the embankment's supporting wall collapsed. The embankment, which leads to the Mughrabim Gate - one of the main entrances to the Temple Mount - runs between the prayer area in front of the Western Wall and the archaeological excavations at the foot of the wall, to the south of the prayer area. Pieces of the collapsed embankment slid into the women's section of the prayer area, but nobody was hurt as they were all on the far side of the area, near the demarcation with the men's section. Until the embankment is repaired, the men's section will be divided in two and part of it turned over to the women.

The latest collapse is not the first such event in recent years. A few months ago, the western wall of the Temple Mount's Museum of Islam, which also lies near the Wall, collapsed. For the past two years, Antiquities Authority experts and a delegation from Jordan have been working to fix a growing bulge in the southern wall of the Temple Mount compound, a job that has still not been completed.

Recently, the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Holy Places announced that it also intends to fix an older bulge in the compound's eastern wall. This bulge has been there for decades, but recently fears have grown that it is no longer stable.

According to the archaeologists of the Committee for Preventing the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, the underground work done by the Muslim waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement in the area of Solomon's Stables and the ancient Al-Aqsa over the last few years has altered the land and increased the danger of a collapse. The waqf rejects this, saying it employed authorized engineers to supervise all the work.

On Sunday, the waqf charged that the archaeological excavations Israel is conducting at the foot of the Western Wall caused the collapse of the embankment Saturday night. But the Antiquities Authority said the most likely explanation is that the collapse was brought on by a combination of last Wednesday's earthquake and Saturday's heavy snowfall. Mazar also thinks the earthquake was the main cause of the collapse.


Feb-01-04 9 Shevat 5764

Thousands Visit Temple Mount in Five Months

(IsraelNN.com) Over 10,000 Jews have ascended the Temple Mount in the past five months, since the site was reopened to non-Muslim visitors.

The site had been off-limits to non-Muslims for nearly three years due to security concerns and because it is under Arab control. The daily administration of the Temple Mount is in the hands of two Waqfs Ė one appointed by Jordan and one appointed by Yasser Arafat. They are at odds with each other and both are at odds with the Jews. Over the past several years, there has been a campaign by Islam to utterly destroy -- erase and eradicate -- any vestige of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.

"It is an effort to re-write history," said Assistant Director of The Temple Center Rabbi Hayim Richman in an interview published on the Israel Hasbara Committee website (www.infoisrael.net). "The official position of Islam is that there never was a Temple on the Temple Mount." The Arabs, under the auspices of the Waqf, have destroyed much of the archeological evidence that there was a Temple; the Arabs have even used bulldozers.

The Temple Mount is the Jews' holiest site; the world Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran even once. It is mentioned over 700 times in the Jewish canon.


A Christian's Lament

By Elwood McQuaid

By currently invoked, politically correct reckoning, when the Palestinians finally achieve statehood, Jerusalem will be lopped in half and become the capital of two nations "living side by side in peace." That's the dream.

But dreams rarely reflect reality. And nocturnal pleasantries inevitably vaporize when exposed to the harsh light of morning. Such will be the case when foreign interlopers, dreamers, and wishful thinkers impose their concepts for the "new Middle East" on the citizens of the State of Israel.

I say "on the State of Israel" because Israelis will be doing all of the giving, and Palestinians all of the taking while complaining that their portion still is not enough.

Already the Palestinian Authority and its commissars have staked out police-state-like positions on what they will create and enforce in Jerusalem if they have their way.

For proof, listen to the words of Yasser Arafat's appointed mufti of Jerusalem. In a recent sermon delivered at the Temple Mount's Al-Aksa mosque and broadcast by PA radio, the mufti asserted that 70 years ago, the Committee of the League of Nations issued a statement giving Arabs the rights to the "Burak Wall" (Western Wall). Translation: No reference to the Western, or Wailing, Wall is legitimate because the wall is the exclusive province of the Muslim Wakf.

In a 1997 interview with Aaron Lerner, director of the Independent Media Review & Analysis (IMRA), the late Palestinian minister of wakf and religious affairs, Hassan Tahboob explained the practical implications of that claim.

Jewish worshipers, he said, would be allowed to pray toward the Wall, but be kept at least two meters away from it. They would not be permitted to touch the sacred stones and the practice of inserting prayers into the wall's crevices would be no more.

Presumably, some sort of barrier would restrict access. Under those circumstances Muslim guards would probably be posted between worshipers (both Jewish and Christian) and the "AI-Burak Wall to enforce its Islamic sanctity.

What Western masters of appeasement in the name of peace do not choose to consider is the fact that conceding the Old City, Temple Mount, and possibly the Western Wall to absolute Muslim authority literally excises the heart and soul from the anatomy of Judaism and the Jewish people.

In June 1967, Moshe Dayan voiced the desire pent up in the hearts of Diaspora Jewry for two millennia when, referring to the Old City, Temple Mount, and Western Wall, he declared that the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem, "never to part from her again."

By no stretch of the imagination Is it incorrect or imperialistic for Jewish people to claim as their heritage the place King David lawfully purchased from Aurunah the Jebusite.

On Mount Moriah the Jewish people built and maintained their magnificent Temples and made sacred pilgrimages from the far reaches of the known world to worship there. And all this transpired many centuries before Islam sprung from the birthing chamber.

To dignify the illegitimate Muslim claims of exclusivity to the places where the Jewish Temples stood and Jesus worshiped and ministered is no less than an act of international thievery of indescribable proportions.

Anyone deluded into thinking the Palestinian Authority would be a respectful and considerate custodian of areas sacred to Jewish people and Christians should think again.

Article 6 of the Palestinian Constitution states, "Islam shall be the official religion of the state."

Article 7: 'The principles of the Islamic Shari'a are a primary source for legislation."

Article 8: "Jerusalem shall be the capital of Palestine and its seat of government."

Article 25: "Palestinian citizenship is secure and permanent for any Arab who lived in Palestine before May 1948. It Is transmitted from father to child."

Article 32: 'The right of the Palestinian refugee to return to his home and the original home of his ancestors is a natural right which cannot expire. Its exercise may not be delegated nor surrendered."

Edward B. Miller, in a January 15, 2003, guest editorial titled "A Constitutional Milestone?" which ran in the National Review Online, aptly commented:

"Furthermore, a constitution that enshrines a right pf return to Israel for all Palestinians, claims exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem's Old City, or codifies the PLO's role... as sole representative of the Palestinian people will hardly create an atmosphere in which talks with Israel over final status issues can be restarted... For the PA to attempt to legitimize such unreasonable expectations in a constitution will only subject Israel to further suicide bombings and the region to further turmoil."

An old spiritual expresses the desire to be "Walking in Jerusalem, just like John," one glorious day. If these seemingly intransigent Palestinian demands continue to generate a colossal, Western diplomatic cave-in, it Is unlikely that either the apostle John or the singers of spirituals will be welcomed or even allowed to set foot on the holy ground confiscated by the sons of Ishmael.

Nor will they be allowed within two meters of the Western Wall. Guess they'll have to wait for a tour of the "New Jerusalem-- the one waiting for us just over the horizon.

The writer is a prominent Christian author and syndicated radio broadcaster in the US.
THE INTERNATIONAL JERUSALEM POST JANUARY 23. 2004


The Muslim tradition puts the Temples on Mount Moriah.

The Temples of Jerusalem in Islam

The political status of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the subject of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. According to press reports, at one moment in the Camp David negotiations last July, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat asked his Israeli counterpart: "How do you know that your Holy Temple was located there?" A Jerusalem Report cover story (September 11, 2000) placed this in the context of a growing Palestinian denial of the existence of the First and Second Temples. "It's self-evident that the First Temple is a fiction," one Palestinian archaeologist at Bir Zeit University is quoted as saying. "The Second also remains in the realm of fantasy."

Archaeologists will have their debates, and their place is in the academy. (There, the biblical account of the First Temple is contested, while the existence of the Second Temple, and its general location on the Temple Mount, are regarded as well-attested facts.) But at the negotiating table, the subjective sanctity of any site is a concrete reality which must be respected in its own terms. This is all the more so in the case of the existence and location of the First and Second Temples: both are attested by precisely the same Islamic sources which render the Haram al-Sharif (including the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock) holy to Islam.

(The Qur'anic passages below are quoted from what is widely considered to be the most orthodox Sunni translation and commentary, prepared by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, vetted and corrected by four committees commissioned by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and published at the King Fahd Holy Qur'an Printing Complex in Medina, Saudi Arabia, by royal decree.)

Did the Temples Exist?

The Qur'an refers to the existence of both temples in verse 17:7. In this passage, the Qur'an deals with God's punishment of the Children of Israel for their transgressions:

(We permitted your enemies)
To disfigure your faces,
And to enter your Temple
As they had entered it before,
And to visit with destruction
All that fell into their power.

The word translated as "Temple" by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (and by the influential translator Marmaduke Pickthall before him) is masjid. This word, which is usually translated as mosque, has the meaning of a sanctuary wherever it appears in a pre-Islamic context. The usual Muslim exegesis of this verse (including that of Abdullah Yusuf Ali) holds that it refers to the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

Muslim tradition is especially adamant about the existence of the First Temple, built by Solomon, who appears in the Qur'an as a prophet and a paragon of wisdom. Verse 34:13 is an account of how Solomon summoned jinn (spirits) to build the Temple:

They worked for him
As he desired, (making) Arches,
Images, Basons
As large as wells, And (cooking) Cauldrons fixed
(In their places)

Early Muslims regarded the building and destruction of the Temple of Solomon as a major historical and religious event, and accounts of the Temple are offered by many of the early Muslim historians and geographers (including Ibn Qutayba, Ibn al-Faqih, Mas'udi, Muhallabi, and Biruni). Fantastic tales of Solomon's construction of the Temple also appear in the Qisas al-anbiya', the medieval compendia of Muslim legends about the pre-Islamic prophets. As the historian Rashid Khalidi wrote in 1998 (albeit in a footnote), while there is no "scientific evidence" that Solomon's Temple existed, "all believers in any of the Abrahamic faiths perforce must accept that it did."(1) This is so for Muslims, no less than for Christians and Jews.

The Location of the Temples

So much for the existence of the Temples. But what of their location? The Islamic sanctity of the Haram al-Sharif is based upon verse 17:1:

Glory to (Allah)
Who did take His Servant
For a Journey by night
From the Sacred Mosque
To the Farthest Mosque

This is the textual proof of the isra', the earthly segment of the Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad: overnight, Muhammad was miraculously transported, round-trip, from "the Sacred Mosque" (al-Masjid al-Haram)óthat is, the Ka'ba (or its vicinity) in Meccaóto "the Farthest Mosque" (al-Masjid al-Aqsa). Later Muslim tradition came to identify "the Farthest Mosque" with Jerusalem. But during Muhammad's lifetime, no mosque stood in Jerusalem; the Muslims conquered the city only several years after his death. Abdullah Yusuf Ali's commentary on this verse summarizes the traditional explanation: "The Farthest Mosque," he writes, "must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah."

When Muslims did build a mosque on this hill, Muslim tradition holds that it was built deliberately on the verified site of earlier sanctuaries. According to Muslim tradition, when the Caliph Umar visited Jerusalem after its conquest, he searched for David's sanctuary or prayer niche (mihrab Dawud), which is mentioned in the Qur'an (38:21). (David was believed to have chosen the site on which Solomon built.) When Umar was satisfied he had located it, he ordered a place of prayer (musalla) to be established there. This evolved into a mosque-precursor of the later Aqsa Mosque. Thus began the Islamization of the complex that later came to be known as the Haram al-Sharif. It became the tradition of Islam that Muslims restored the site to its earlier function as a place of supplication venerated by all the prophets, including Abraham, David and Solomon.

Sari Nuseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, has emphasized this original meaning of the site for Muslims: the mosque is the last and final in a series of sanctuaries erected there. "The mosque was itself a revivication of the old Jewish temple," writes Nuseibeh, "an instantiation of the unity with the Abrahamic message, an embodiment of the new temple yearned for and forecasted. And why should this seem strange when Muhammad himself, according to the Qur'an, was the very prophet expected and described in the 'true' Jewish literature?"(2)

Whether it is called the Temple Mount or al-Haram al-Sharif, this corner of Jerusalem is the physical overlap between Judaism and Islam. Verse 17 of the Qur'an, quoted above, is entitled Bani Isra'il, the Children of Israel. The present-day State of Israel has acknowledged the sanctity of the site for present-day Muslims, in the interest of peace. For Muslims to question or even deny the existence of the Temples, in disregard of the Qur'an and Muslim tradition, is to cast doubt upon the very sources which underpin their own claim.

© Martin Kramer

(1) Rashid Khalidi, "Transforming the Face of the Holy City: Political Messages in the Built Topography of Jerusalem," paper presented to the conference on "Landscape Perspectives on Palestine," Bir Zeit University, November 12-15, 1998, http://www.jqf-jerusalem.org/journal/1999/jqf3/khalidi.html

(2) Sari Nuseibeh, "Islam's Jerusalem," http://www.passia.org/jerusalem/publications/religiousaspectstext.htm#Islam's%20Jerusalem


Israel to Dig New Tunnel under Aqsa Mosque

From the Official website of the PA

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, January 3 (IslamOnline.net)-- Israel is planning to dig a new tunnel under Al-Aqsa mosque - Islam's third holiest site - with eight million dollars donated by a Jewish American millionaire, a Palestinian organization revealed Friday, January 2.

The tunnel is designed to tighten the grip of the Israeli occupation forces on the sacred compound, protect Jews who visit it and Judaize the Old City, said Al-Aqsa Foundation for Reconstruction.

"I warn against taking such a transgression on the Islamic holy place, and call on Muslims - governments and people - to heed this dangerous situation," Ikrima Sabri, Mufti of occupied Jerusalem, told IslamOnline.net.

"Al-Aqsa mosque and its surroundings, including Buraq Wall, is a Muslim legitimate right", he averred.

Snaking under the whole mosque up to the courtyard of Buraq Wall, called by Jews Wailing Wall, the tunnel is an extension to an earlier one built in 1996.

The tunnel will run all the way under the compound reaching to Al-Selwan area which is inhabited by Palestinians, an Israeli architect was quoted by Israeli newspapers as saying.

Although no licenses were granted or details drawn for the plan to begin, finances are already on hand.

A well-heeled Jewish American donated eight million dollars for the project to come into reality, a source in Western Jerusalem Development Company said.

The wall and much of the area around it are Waqf property (a religiously and legally protected endowment), owned by Muslims since centuries ago.

The Buraq Wall forms the base of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, encompassing the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque.

Israeli occupation forces had been digging under the holy Islamic compound in search for Solomon Temple which Jews claim had been demolished by the Babylonians in 586 BC and should be built again.

Huge Process

The plot includes a large digging process under the main courtyard where Muslim worshippers pray. The floor of the mosque - then standing under a large hole - is to be pinned to columns.

The Israeli architect said the project is to be implemented on three stages that would end with the tunnel under the Buraq Wall.

Although no agreements were reached with the Islamic Waqfs authority, this would not hinder efforts to begin the digging, he said.

Residents of occupied Jerusalem maintain that the aim of the new tunnel is only to protect Jews.

"It would save the Jewish worshippers if disturbances erupted in Haram Al-Sharif," said one of the local inhabitant.

Some 65 Palestinians and 15 Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes which flared up after the inauguration of the first tunnel in 1996.

Early in August, three right-wing Israeli MPs tried to use their parliamentary privilege to enter the compound but police prevented them.

Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out on September 28, 2000, in the wake of a provocative visit to the mosque by the then opposition leader Ariel Sharon.

'Historic' Dream

The Western Jerusalem Development Company said the project is a realization of an all-time historic dream for Jews.

It is also an attempt to increase the number of Jewish tourists which plunged down after turbulence triggered by the inauguration of the first tunnel in 1996. The Israeli Ministry of Religions attaches a major religious and national

significance to the project.

As it is now banned from entering Al-Haram Al-Sharif for excavations, the tunnel will allow this to be carried out of the Buraq Wall, said rabbi Shamwael Rubeinbich of Wailing Wall Legacy Fund.

Established in 1988, the Fund is now taking over the maintenance of the wall and is behind the project, said Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

The fund's members do not conceal their intentions for Israel to have sovereignty over Al-Haram Al-Sharif and destroying the Islamic district in the Old City.

In May, Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition, submitted every year by the extremist Temple Mount Faithful group, seeking permission to symbolically place a foundation stone for a new Solomon Temple. (Posted January 3, 2004).


Christian leader expelled from Temple Mount for praying

By Jerusalem Newswire Editorial Staff

Jerusalem - October 14, 2003

Jerusalem (http://www.jnewwire.com) - Israeli police escorted one of the top leaders of the Jerusalem-headquartered international Christian Zionist movement off the Temple Mount Tuesday, on the grounds that he had been silently praying in the area.

While Christians and Jews are forbidden from praying on the hill the Bible designates as a site holy to the God of Israel, Muslims are free to worship and preach incitement against Israel from the four mosques straddling the Mount.

Accosted while silently praying

Jan Willem van der Hoeven, founder of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and currently director of the International Christian Zionist Center, said he had been walking alone and "speaking to the Lord in his heart," when a policeman demanded to know whether he was praying.

"I could have lied and said no," Van der Hoeven told Jerusalem Newswire, "but of course I did not want to and so said yes."

According to several eyewitnesses, three policemen had then escorted Van der Hoeven to the police station at the nearby Western Wall Plaza.

Police log prayer

Van der Hoeven said when he arrived at the police station the officer in charge asked what he had been praying. He replied that he had been praying for the Messiah to come and bring peace to Israel and to the world.

"The police noted my prayer down in their official report," Van der Hoeven said.

He had been allowed to leave a short while later.

Putting their feet down

The incident took place after Van Der Hoeven led a group of about 40 visiting Christian Zionists onto the Temple Mount, a highlight of their weeklong celebration of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles.

Before ascending the hill, which the Bible describes as the place of Messiah's future throne, Van der Hoeven had advised the pilgrims to separate into small groups and walk quietly around inside the walled compound, praying silently.

Reminding them of past instances of intolerance shown by the Muslim authorities on the Mount towards Jews and Christians, he urged the group to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves," quoting the words of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament.

"Every place where your feet tread, pray that it will be given back to Israel," he added.

On the Mount

Before climbing the ramp to the compound, the pilgrims were instructed to leave all Bibles, Israeli flags and any other apparently provocative items at the security checkpoint.

The group entered at the so-called Mughrabi Gate, before spreading out and walking in twos and threes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Golden Gate.

Apart from Van der Hoeven's expulsion, the group reported no other incidents and departed the area after about an hour.

Unbridled Islamic incitement

While Christian and Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is not tolerated by the Islamic Authorities, Muslim clerics are free to foment hatred of the Jewish people and the State of Israel in weekly sermons in the mosques on the hill.

The Palestinian Authority-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, whose offices are situated inside the compound, has issued rulings upholding the longstanding practice banning the worship of any god other than Allah, the ancient Arabian moon god.

"It is forbidden for Muslims to permit non-Muslims to supervise, conduct services or pray in any part of the mosques or underneath them," he has said.

Sabri regularly stokes up rage against Israel and the United States while conducting Muslim Friday prayers for the thousands of Arabs freely permitted by Israel to attend the services.

Speaking in the Al Aqsa Mosque, Sabri has been recorded saying: "Oh Allah, destroy America! For she is ruled by Zionist Jews!! Allah shall take revenge on behalf of his prophet against the colonialist settlers who are sons of monkeys and pigs!! Forgive us, Mohammad, for the acts of these sons of monkeys and pigs, who sought to harm your sanctity!!"

Earlier this year, the official PA Radio broadcast live sermons from the Al Aqsa Mosque in which Sabri denounced the "criminal United States" and "rancorous Britain."

Sabri has appealed to Muslims everywhere "to stand as one rank, stop the aggression, and cleanse their territories of US military occupation∑

"O Allah, make the plots of the aggressors backfire on them. O Allah, annihilate them to the last man. O Allah, protect Al-Aqsa Mosque from every evil. O Allah, protect Iraq and its people."

While Sabri's instatement as Mufti was in violation of the Oslo Accords, Israel has chosen not to make an issue of it.


Special Dispatch - Egypt
October 3, 2003
No. 583

Egyptian Ministry of Culture Publication: The Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock were Built to Divert the Pilgrimage from Mecca; Jerusalem was Not the Center of Worship for the Followers of the Prophet Muhammad

On August 5, 2003 Ahmad Muhammad 'Arafa, a columnist for the Egyptian weekly Al-Qahira, which is published by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, wrote an article rejecting the established Islamic doctrine that the Prophet Muhammad's celebrated "Night Journey" (Koran 17:1) took him from Mecca to Jerusalem. 'Arafa, presenting a new analysis of the Koranic text, asserts that the Night Journey in Surat Al-Isra' (that is, "the Sura of the Night Journey") in the Koran does not refer to a miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, but to the Prophet's emigration (Hijra) from Mecca to Medina.(1)

Two weeks later 'Arafa published another article(2) in the same weekly questioning the sanctity of Jerusalem in Islam. The following are excerpts from this article:

The Change in 'Qibla' Means Jerusalem Lost its Former Priority in Islam

"...Palestine was conquered [by the Muslims] in the year 17 A.H. [638 A. D.] in the time of 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, and in his day, the people [of Palestine] were beginning to adopt Islam. Hence, how could there have existed in Palestine, at the time of the Prophet [i.e. before Palestine was conquered by Islam], a mosque, be it called 'the most distant' [Arabic: al-aqsa] or not...

"Therefore, the mosque known today as the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not the one referred to by the Koranic words: 'From the Al-Haram Mosque [in Mecca] to the most distant mosque (al-aqsa).' It is true that the Prophet did direct himself in prayer, according to Allah's instructions, toward Iliya [i. e., Aelia] - the name of Jerusalem in that period - for 17 months, and then, instructed by Allah, he redirected himself to the Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca. Aelia was the center of worship for the Jews, as it continues to be. This means that, for a while, the Prophet shared with them their direction of prayer (qibla), and then he turned away from it toward another qibla...

"The change of qibla from Jerusalem to the Al-Haram Mosque [in Mecca] meant that Jerusalem was no longer the center of worship for the followers of Muhammad and that it no longer deserved to be respected by Muslims beyond what any historical city in their domain deserved. If this is not understood in this way [namely, that the change of qibla signifies that Jerusalem lost its previous religious status], then the change of qibla has no meaning..."

The Al-Aqsa Mosque was Built and Promoted in the Context of Political Rivalry

"When 'Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan became caliph and [his rival] Ibn Al-Zubayr held control of Hijaz, he [Caliph 'Abd Al-Malik] feared that the people would be inclined towards him [Ibn Al-Zubayr] when they made pilgrimage [to Mecca], because the only way they could enter Mecca and Medina was with Ibn Al-Zubayr's permission and under his control. And if he [Ibn Al-Zubayr] received them hospitably... then he would win the allegiance of many of them.... Therefore, 'Abd Al-Malik prevented people from making pilgrimage until [Ibn Al-Zubayr was defeated and] the war ended. He [Abd Al-Malik] began to build a large mosque in Jerusalem, which had been the first qibla. It is from this point in time that some transmitters of traditions started to promote the religious significance of this mosque and turn it into the 'third to the two holy mosques [of Mecca and Medina]'(3)....

"The new mosque [in Jerusalem] was first called 'the Mosque of Aelia,' and prophetic traditions were invented mentioning this name [so as to invest it with Islamic significance]. Then the name 'Al-Aqsa' was stolen for it [from the mosque in Medina], because it [i.e. the mosque of Aelia] was the most distant from Mecca and Medina. It was claimed that the Koranic expression 'the most distant mosque' referred to it [i.e. the mosque of Aelia] because the mosque of the Prophet [in Medina] was neither 'distant' nor 'most distant' for the people of Medina...(4)

"In sum, the mosque of Jerusalem, known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque, began to be built in the year 66 A.H. at the time of 'Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan, and construction was completed in the year 73 A. H. The religious connection of Muslims to Jerusalem ended with the change of the qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca. When 'Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan prevented the people of Syria and Iraq from performing pilgrimage for a number of years, so they should not be inclined towards Ibn Al-Zubayr, and began to build a large mosque in Aelia, religious traditions appeared glorifying this mosque and the Dome of the Rock. And it was called at first the Mosque of Aelia, and then the name of the mosque Al-Aqsa was stolen for it from the mosque of Medina. And what facilitated this [transfer of the name 'Al-Aqsa'] is that the people of Medina did not call [their mosque] 'distant' or 'most distant,' because it is a geographical term [which was not relevant to them].... We inherited these [traditions promoting the sanctity of Jerusalem] as if they were part of [the Islamic] religion."

Endnotes:

(1) For the previous article by 'Arafa, see http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP56403

(2) Al-Qahira (Egypt), August 19, 2003.

(3) The author is repeating a particular theory, expounded by I. Goldziher in 1890 (See Muhammedanische Studien, II, pp. 35-37; English translation: Muslim Studies II, pp. 44-45), that in building the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque 'Abd al-Malik was motivated by his desire to divert the Pilgrimage from Mecca to Jerusalem, as part of his campaign against Ibn al-Zubayr. This theory, which had been widely accepted, found its way into textbooks on Islamic history. It should, however, be noted that this theory was reexamined and refuted by S. D. Goitein (see "The Sanctity of Jerusalem and Palestine in Early Islam," in his Studies in Islamic History and Institutions, Leiden, 1966, pp. 135-137) and is no longer accepted in modern scholarship. Arafa begins this article with a quotation from Al-Uns al-jalil bi-ta'rikh al-quds wa'l-khalil, by Mujir al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman al-'Ulaymi al-Hanbali al-Maqdisi (810/1456-928/1522), stating that the Ummayad Caliph 'Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan decided to build the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to divert the pilgrimage away from Mecca - at that time controlled by his rival Ibn al-Zubayr - to Jerusalem, which was under his control and close to Damascus, his own capital. 'Arafa notes that he borrowed this quotation from an article by Ahmad 'Uthman on the dispute over Jerusalem's holy sites 'Awda ila 'l-khilaf 'ala muqaddasat al-aqsa, al-ha'it wa'l-masjid, published in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, November 19, 2000.

(4) The author explains that once the name Al-Aqsa was appropriated for the mosque in Jerusalem, this new name was incorporated into the various traditions that were disseminated in order to promote the Islamic significance of Jerusalem.

*********************

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

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Structural collapse on Temple Mount
Muslims blame Israel for failure of interior wall in Al-Aqsa Mosque

Posted: September 24, 2003, 9:17 p.m. Eastern, ©2003 WorldNetDaily.com

An interior wall has collapsed at a hotly contested Jerusalem holy site, setting off fears of religious violence between Muslims and Jews.

The Islamic Waqf, which administers the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrines atop the Temple Mount, accused Israeli authorities of instigating the failure of the wall by preventing engineers from maintaining it.

The collapsed wall is situated near the Islamic Museum.

Adnan al-Husseini of the Waqf said the failure was the result of "the Israeli intervention in our work and preventing us from maintaining it after we stated it was in urgent need for a rapid action to prevent its collapse," according to multiple news reports from Israel.

"It looks terrible," said Eliat Mazar, an Israeli archaeologist and Temple Mount expert and a leader of the committee for preventing the destruction of antiquities at the site. "This collapse might cause a terrific series of collapses."

She charged the Waqf with directing "unsupervised" work in and around the Temple Mount resulting in the loss of archaeological treasures.

Last December, WorldNetDaily reported a huge bulge had developed in an outer southern wall on the 37-acre Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Israel waited for Jordanian engineers to repair it.

The Temple Mount is the foundation of the Jewish Temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans. Because it is the only remnant of the foundation, it is considered the holiest site for observant Jews - perhaps the only true holy site. Muslims claim it is the third holiest in their faith because two mosques were constructed on the site hundreds of years later.

Despite the fact the Temple Mount is the only real estate in the world revered by Jews, Israel has turned over day-to-day administration of the area to the Waqf, an Islamic trust with close ties to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

A year-long dispute between Israel and the Waqf over who will fix the bulge was solved in October with a decision to involve the Jordanian engineers, who inspected and took a sampling of the protruding wall.

A report the engineers subsequently issued recommended replacing some of the eroding stones in the 2,000-year-old wall to prevent it from future collapse.

Israeli archeologists believe the bulge and the new wall collapse are due to unauthorized Waqf construction at an underground area known as Solomon's Stables, located on the other side of the wall. Reports say Muslim authorities are constructing yet another mosque at the Jewish holy site.

Faulty drainage was cited by the Antiquities Authority as the probable cause for the bulge in its report, issued last year.

Prior to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, Jordan was in charge of maintenance at the Temple Mount. In the years since, the PA, seeking to gain a foothold in Jerusalem, ousted both the Jordanian-appointed Waqf director and the Jerusalem mufti - both of whom had for years quietly cooperated with Israel - and replaced them with its own people.

Fearing renewed Palestinian violence, police barred non-Muslims from entering the Temple Mount for nearly two years after Ariel Sharon's controversial visit in September 2000, leaving the area without any archeological supervision. In recent weeks, non-Muslim tourists have been permitted back with police or military escorts.

Newsweek has called the southern wall "The Armageddon wall," because the old rocks help support an enormous stone platform that holds the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, among Islam's most sacred shrines.

Should it collapse, some archeologists fear a doomsday effect - dead worshippers, perhaps in the thousands, riots throughout the Middle East and charges that Israel is responsible. From http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34776


THOUSANDS VISIT TEMPLE MOUNT SINCE ITS PEACEFUL REOPENING

In the two weeks since Jerusalem's Temple Mount has been reopened to non-Muslim visitors, thousands of Jews and Christians have peacefully passed through the ancient compound for the first time in nearly three years, in a hopeful sign of coexistence that was virtually unimaginable just months ago. Despite concerns over renewed Palestinian violence at the site, the weekday morning visits by a mix of Israelis and tourists have passed almost without incident since Israel reopened the compound to non-Muslim visits.

"We are thrilled to be able to come back here and visit, especially after the long closure," said American tourist Jeff Johns, who was leading a group of 33 members of his Indiana church on a visit to the Mount on Thursday.

After periods of sporadic, and at times, intense violence in and around the 35-acre plaza, the scene on the morning of September 4, as scores of Jews and Christians walked alongside Muslims on the stone-paved compound, was one of tranquility.

"It's essential to show how important this area is for us, and the best way of doing so is coming here in person," said Yosef Main, 26, of Kochav Hashahar in Samaria, as he toured the site and took photographs with a friend. The Cleveland-born Main said this was his second visit in as many weeks.

As a cooling breeze swept through the olive trees and cypresses, dozens of visitors walked the grounds including a low-profile visit by Likud MK Inbal Gavrieli. While small groups of Israeli policemen traversed the compound, guards from the Wakf (Moslem religious trust), which administers the site, stood at the entrances to the Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock ensuring that only Muslims enter.

The Wakf used to let tourists enter the mosque and shrine for a US $9 fee, but, for now, these areas remain closed to non-Muslims. During the height of tourism to Israel in the late 1990s, the Wakf would earn millions of dollars every year from the admission fees to Islam's third-holiest site.

But as Judaism's holiest site, observant Jews who visit the Temple Mount, which is now open to visitors free of charge Sunday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. would not enter these areas anyway, since it is not known precisely where the Holy of Holies stood.

On Thursday, an observant Jew wearing a name tag reading "The Temple Guard," was stationed at the entrance to the Temple Mount. He was informing religious Jews about what areas are off limits according to Halacha. "We tell people that they should immerse themselves in a mikve [ritual bath] before entry, not to walk inside with leather shoes, and to stay away from the area of the Holy of Holies," said Hillel Ben-Shlomo, the volunteer on duty.

After passing through a police metal detector on the ramp leading up to the Mugrabi Gate, the entry point for non-Muslims, visitors get a quick briefing by police about the rules: not to pray at the site (a right reserved for Muslims); not to enter the mosques; and not to stare at or enter into an altercation with any Islamic officials. After that preparatory explanation, visitors are allowed inside the green Mugrabi Gate, which stood barred since September 2000.

"This is the first time I have been up here in these past three years," said New York-born Nancy Bergin, as she walked into the compound.

Michael Covalin, 26, from Mexico, said he was not even aware the site had been closed off to non-Muslims and expressed disappointment that the Aksa Mosque he visited on his last trip was now shut. Covert contacts with the Wakf over the reopening of the site to non-Muslims apparently have borne fruit with only several isolated incidents of violence reported during the three-hour weekday morning visits.

Their public protestations notwithstanding, Wakf officials have reportedly received the backing of moderate Arab regimes such as Jordan, and the support of a key Saudi prince to reopen the site in the face of virulent opposition to the move by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

At 11 a.m. policemen approached visitors on the mount and notified them in English that visiting hours were drawing to a close. Non-Muslims were told to exit via the Chain Gate. (Excerpted from an article by Etgar Lefkovits, The Jerusalem Post, September 4, 2003)

YESHA RABBIS: A "MITZVAH" TO VISIT TEMPLE MOUNT

The Yesha Rabbis Council issued a Halakhic ruling today not only permitting Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount, but even mandating it, contingent upon proper precautions. Excerpts from the announcement of the ruling:

"...One of the rabbis commented that by refraining from ascending, we are thereby declaring to the world as if we, G-d forbid, have no part in the Mountain of G-d - and we thus strengthen the Arabs' feeling that the Temple Mount is theirs.

"The public is not aware that many rabbis are of the opinion that we currently have the information necessary to enable one to ascend without transgressing, and that therefore those who permit it are not being 'lenient' and are not disputing those who came before them - but are rather clearly relying on that which is now known.

"We therefore call on every rabbi who [agrees with this] to actually visit the Temple Mount, and to guide his congregants in doing so according to Halakhah [Jewish law]. It is a disgrace for us that the Arabs - 'who say let us seize for ourselves the pastures of G-d' [Psalms 88] - ascend to the site by the tens of thousands, while barely any Jews do so...

"All those who continue to feel that it is forbidden did not check the matter sufficiently, and forbade it only because of uncertainty [as to the permitted locations] - but this doubt has been cleared up, and it can be clearly delineated where on the Mount we are permitted to walk.

"It is our tradition that 'we do not add decrees.' In order to forbid something, the Sanhedrin, or all the generation's Torah leaders, would have to convene and make this decision - but that has not occurred, and therefore the Law remains as it was, namely, permitting ascent to the Temple Mount, as Maimonides himself did and as the Meiri testified that it is a 'common-place custom' to do so. Even a prophet cannot uproot a commandment except as a temporary measure. 

"Those who wish to be extra careful [should know that] their stringency is leading to a leniency, in that many people who would be happy to follow the Halakhah actually transgress it out of ignorance - simply because the proper laws are not publicized."

The Yesha Rabbis' announcement, which quotes Maimonides' ruling [Biat HaMikdash 3,4], states that one who ascends to the Mount while adhering to three conditions - immersion in a mikveh; keeping the laws of Awe of the Temple (no leather shoes, etc.); and knowledge of the precise permitted areas - is fulfilling a "great mitzvah [Torah commandment]."

The rabbis also praise Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi for his efforts in opening the site to Jews.


MOSLEM CLAIM TO JERUSALEM RESTS ON WOBBLY VERSE

A commentator in the official Egyptian government weekly, of all places, writes this week (see below) that the entire Moslem claim on Jerusalem and El-Aksa is based on a mistaken reading of one chapter of the Quran. Ahmed Mahmad Oufa wrote that the verse that mentions a night journey by Muhammed to a mosque has nothing to do with Jerusalem, as is generally claimed, but with a mosque near the holy Moslem city of Medina.

Prof. Moshe Sharon, Middle Eastern expert in the Hebrew University, expressed great surprise at the fact that such an article would be published in Arabic and in an Arabic-speaking country. Speaking with Arutz-7 today, he said, "All in all, this is not a new claim. We must remember that Jerusalem is not mentioned at all in the Quran [though it is mentioned hundreds of time in the Bible - ed. note]. The verse in question is in Sura [chapter] 17, which states that Muhammad was brought at night from one mosque to a "more distant" - aktsa, in Arabic - mosque. The first Moslem commentators did not explain this as referring to Jerusalem at all, of course, but rather as a miraculous night journey or night vision or some such. In the beginning of the 8th century, however, they began associating this with Jerusalem, because they had a need to start giving sanctity to Jerusalem, and so they started connecting this verse with Jerusalem... Originally, however, the Moslems recognized the area of the Dome of the Rock as holy because of the Jewish Temple of King Solomon."

This last point may be borne out, Nissan Ratzlav-Katz notes, by the fact that the modern Arabic name for Jerusalem, Al-Quds, is adapted from the original Arabic name for the Temple Mount: Bayt al-Maqdis - or Beit HaMikdash [Hebrew for Holy Temple].

It should further be noted that the Al Aksa mosque was built on the Temple Mount 621 years after Mohammed's death.

THOUSANDS CIRCLE JERUSALEM GATES

Thousands of Jews once again took part last night in the monthly Jerusalem Gates March - "Sivuv She'arim" - inside and just outside of the Old City. Participant Yocheved Golani reports that the air was filled with "the ascending hopes of the proud Jews who celebrated the holiness and history of the precious location." Other sounds heard intermittently were drums, shofar-blasts, Psalms, music, singing, and public invitations to come and visit the Temple Mount in accordance with Jewish Law.

Among the sights, reports Golani, were "card-playing shopkeepers [and Arab] store vendors shutting their metal gates [trying] to appear nonchalant as the crowds passed them by," as well as "white, blue and black flags depicting the rebuilt Temple" and strategically-placed flags indicating the names of the various gates for the marchers' edification.


Rewriting History: Official Egyptian Government Website Denies Existence of Second Temple on Temple Mount

Introduction: Jerusalem in history
http://www.sis.gov.eg/jerusalem/html/jlinks.htm

All along human history, Jerusalem has always been an Arab Palestinian city. There is no clearer evidence than the events and incidents of history that prove this Arab right with documents and scientific facts. Thus, all relevant UN resolutions, especially Resolutions no. 181/1947 and no. 194/1949, which called for preserving Jerusalem and its international status under the UN Mandate Council have recently came to memory. The UN Mandate Council succeeded in setting up then Statute of the international government of the Jerusalem.

Yet, Israel has always turned blind eye to the international community. It usurped West Jerusalem in 1948. Then it occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. Moreover, it declared in 1980 Jerusalem as its eternal unified capital.

In its famous Resolution 242/1967, the UN Security Council (UNSC) announced the illegitimacy of Israeli usurping of lands by means of war. The UNSC also confirmed in its Resolution 252 issued on May 12, 1968 that seizing lands by means of military invasion is an unacceptable matter. It called upon Israel to cancel all measures it took to change the status of the City.

Moreover, the UNSC reaffirmed in its Resolutions 267/1969, 298/1971, 478/1980, 592/1986, 672, 673, 681/1990 and 904/1994 that the measures taken by Israel to change the legal status of Jerusalem are illegitimate. It called upon Israel to refrain from taking any such measures.

However, Israel is still challenging the will of the international community by proceeding in Judaizing Jerusalem and creating a new status quo in the Holy City.

Historical facts prove that Jerusalem has witnessed Arab urban and human stability since the year 3000 BC. In 2500 BC, Arab Jebusites, descendants of the Jebusite Ben Canaan, made the City their capital and called it Orsalem, from which the Europeans derived Jerusalem, which means the City of Light.

In 1479 BC, the City came under the Pharaohs, in the era of Thutmose III. Pharaos used to govern Palestine through one of its citizens. In 1006 BC, the City came under the rule of kings David and Solomon consecutively. During the rule of King Solomon, a wall around the City, in addition to the Temple, were built. After the death of King Solomon, the City was divided into two kingdoms, Judea in Jerusalem and Israel in Samarrah. The Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar expelled the Jews from the two kingdoms. In 580 BC, he destroyed the City, burned the Temple and expatriated the Jews to Babylon in Iraq.

Since then, namely 600 years BC, the political history of the Jews had ended in Palestine. In 539 BC, the Persians invaded Palestine and annexed it to their kingdom. Subsequently, Judea tribe came back from Babylon to Jerusalem.

In 232 BC., Alexander the Great invaded Palestine and annexed it to the Greek Empire. Afterwards, Mark Antonio reinvaded it in 189 BC. Then came the Nabataean Arabs to invade it in 90 BC as was annexed to their capital till the Roman invasion in the 1st. Century AD.

Under the Roman reign, the Jews informed the Roman ruler about Jesus Christ in 27 AD and accused him of atheism. Consequently, the Roman ruler crushed them all and destroyed the City and established a new one where the Jews were inhibited to enter.

Then came the Arabs who opened Palestine In 636 AD. during the rule of Caliph Omar Ibn El Khattab. They entered Jerusalem and preserved all its holy places intact.

Since then and for 1361 years, Jerusalem remained a pure Arab city in population and language. It was under a continuous Islamic rule whether Arab, Mamelukes or Ottoman, except from 1096 to 1291 when it was occupied by the Crusaders.

In 1930, a sub-committee of the League of Nations issued a historic resolution stipulating the international recognition of the Arab right in Jerusalem. That resolution stressed that:

1- The Muslims are the sole owners of the West Wall of Al Aqsa Mosque.

2- The Muslims are the owners of the pavement beside the Wall.

3- Worship-related instruments used by the Jews near the Wall do not give the Jews any right in the Wall or the pavement.

That was an important international document proving that Jerusalem belongs solely to the Arabs. It refutes the Israeli allegations that unified Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.

In violation of all international conventions and agreements, Israel has carried out many excavations under Al Aqsa Mosque in an attempt to find historical scripts to prove its alleged right in Jerusalem. On the contrary, those excavations have proven the following:

1- Excavations under the western wall (the base of the so-called Wailing Wall) proved nothing related to the Israelis. All What they found were only two sentences on some rocks about Isaiah engraved in type of writing that makes attributing them to Kings David or Solomon impossible.

2- Excavations proved that the Jewish temple had been totally ruined thousands of years ago. This was clearly cited in the relevant Jewish references. Dr. Cathleen Cabinpus, Director of Excavations in the Jerusalem-based School for Monuments, affirmed that there was no trace of the Temple of Solomon.

3- Al Aqsa Mosque was built on a site far from that of the Temple of Solomon. Al Aqsa is directed towards Al Ka'aba, in Mecca, while the Temple was a rectangular building directed from west to east. (See "The Covenant with Omar," http://www.sis.gov.eg/jerusalem/html/omar.htm)

4- There is no historical evidence that Al Bouraq Wall, the so-called Wailing Wall, was part of the Temple of Solomon. Besides, the real name of this wall is Al Bouraq Wall as mentioned by Prophet Mohammed, PBUH in his Hadith (speech) about his journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his Ascension to seventh heavens.

According to this solid ground, the League of Nations admitted the Muslim ownership of the Wall. On its part, Israel has, since its occupation of Jerusalem, taken monolateral measures to Judaize the City, a matter that is considered a flagrant violation of all relevant international norms. These measures included the following:

1- Dissolving the City's municipality,

2- Closing down civil and Arab courts and imposing Israeli laws on the City,

3- Imposing Israeli education curricula in schools and institutes,

4- Closing down Arab banks in addition to levying Israeli taxes on the Palestinians and making of the Shekel the official currency,

5- The Palestinians are not allowed entry to Jerusalem without a prior permit. Thus the City became isolated from the West Bank,

6- Forcing the Palestinians to leave the City by applying oppressive laws that allow demolition of Arab houses, confiscation of Arab lands,

7- Usurping the properties of the Palestinian refugees,

8- Imposing the Israeli nationality on Palestinians,

9- Prohibiting goods, vegetables and fruits imports from the West Bank to

Jerusalem a matter that has negative impact on the Palestinian economy,

10- Depending on Jewish extremists in establishing the settlements,

11- Completing Judaizing of the City by issuing the Knesset Law in 1980, stipulating the unification of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.

That Law was rejected by all international bodies concerned, especially the UNSC, which issued its Resolution no. 178/1980 rejecting that Israeli Law.

In another aggression, the Israeli government decided in 17, June 1998 to expand Jerusalem to include lands from the occupied Arab lands to the east and south of Jerusalem. In response, the UNSC described that Decision as dangerous and harmful. The UNSC issued a statement in July 13, 1998, in which it called upon the Israeli government to cancel that decision. The UNSC stressed the importance of avoiding such acts taken before the final status negotiations come to results.

However, Israel has always trodden down all resolutions of the international legitimacy. It is usurping Arab lands, demolishing Arab houses, and nullifying Arab identity in the City and expanding Jewish settlements with a view to judaizing Jerusalem. (Egypt State Information Service, http://www.us.sis.gov.eg/


Organized Religious Tours On Temple Mount
11:45 Aug 24, '03 / 26 Av 5763

For the first time since shortly after the Six-Day War - according to Temple Mount Faithful members - large organized groups of religious Jews visited the Temple Mount this morning. Three groups totaling over 100 people, all of whom immersed in a mikveh (ritual bath) prior to the visit, entered the Temple Mount compound, and circled the compound from within accompanied by a professional guide.

One of the participants, a member of the Temple Mount Faithful, enthusiastically told Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson today, "This is most definitely a turning point in terms of our efforts on behalf of this holy site. We had a feeling of freedom. The police specifically did not tell us that we were not allowed to pray, and I would even say that they turned a blind eye when they saw some of us saying Psalms in groups of 2 and 3. Some of our group even bowed down on the ground..."

"Until now," he continued, "when religious Jews were allowed up, it was only in small groups of two or three or four, closely guarded by a policeman on one side and a Waqf official on the other. We were not even allowed to talk too much, and certainly not to recite Psalms. This time, we were free to walk around for over an hour, and our guide, Yoel Elitzur, even took us to places on the eastern half of the compound. We of course avoided all places that according to some rabbinic opinions are forbidden halakhically."

The Temple Mount loyalist gave a "pat on the back" to Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi, "who was instrumental not only for the visit itself, but was also apparently responsible for the police's benign approach."

Another participant noted that not everything was roses, however. Fifty people waiting to enter were not allowed to do so, "because the Waqf people act as if the site belongs to them, and they close the gates at 11:00. It was heart-breaking to see people who came from all over the country, including a bridegroom whose wedding is tonight, being sent away without being let in... In addition, one person who insisted on wearing only socks [Jewish Law forbids leather shoes on the Mount, and he hadn't brought slippers] was thrown out and is not allowed to visit the site for 15 days... It's a disgrace."

The first-quoted visitor said, "We see this as a great turning point, and praise the police for 'ignoring' our prayers today - but we want Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount to be truly free... From now on, until further notice, groups of this type will be allowed up every morning until 11 AM - and so the ball is now in our court."

Yoel Elitzur, the first group's guide, later told Arutz-7, "Until now, when we were allowed up [long ago], it was a humiliating process, with identity cards and phone checks, etc. - but this time it was much different. Early this morning, I went with my 11-year-old son to the Wall, after having gone to the mikveh and making sure to complete the morning prayers by 8 AM, when the Temple Mount gate opened. It was very exciting. We waited around for a short while until a group gathered, in accordance with a police request. The basic feeling was that even though there were limitations, we were basically free... The ruins that the Arabs made there with their recent construction work were not visible to us; they are basically underground. What they destroyed is already in the garbage dumps of Jerusalem."

Elitzur made a special call to Arutz-7's listeners:

"I would like to say that I see as one of the greatest moment in world history the announcement during the Six-Day War that 'the Temple Mount is in our hands.' There was great excitement, followed by a great disappointment with what could be called a national treachery there, and we were thrown out of the Temple Mount in a humiliating way - and it could be that we deserved it, because the number of visitors was so meager that simply was not honor to G-d... I take part every month in the march around the Temple Mount gates. I feel that this is an event that has much 'siyata dishmaya' [Divine Providence], in that it has grown from a few dozen to a few thousand participants in a matter of months. I ask myself, 'Are we allowed to let this 'siyata dishmaya' go to waste?' I am sure that the great strength of these thousands can be used - and I call upon them, as well as those who did not take part, to fulfill the Halakhah [Jewish law], immerse in the mikveh as required, and come to the Temple Mount, and take advantage of this new situation. Let us change this degrading situation in which this most holy spot on earth has been Judenrein, and let's have Jews once again be regulars on the 'Mount of the House of our G-d.'" (http://www.IsraelNationalNews.com/news.php3?id=48570).

More News: The report below is very important. As is stated in the report, this is the first time in over 35 years that more than 3-4 Jews were allowed on the Temple Mount all at once. In this case some of the groups numbered 30 and 40!

This Wednesday, at 6:00 PM Israel Time (U.S.: 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT - other times listed at end of report) the Temple Mount Faithful, Women in Green, and thousands of others will be marching around (perhaps on?) the Temple Mount for the new moon festival. Please join us in prayer as we seek the L-rd's intervention for the Temple to be rebuilt. Pray for strength for Israel to re-take complete control of the Temple Mount and remove the pagan shrines that desecrate the holy place.

.....................................................................

ORGANIZED RELIGIOUS TOURS ON TEMPLE MOUNT

For the first time since shortly after the Six-Day War - according to Temple Mount Faithful members - large organized groups of religious Jews visited the Temple Mount this morning. Three groups totaling over 100 people, all of whom immersed in a mikveh (ritual bath) prior to the visit, entered the Temple Mount compound, and circled the compound from within accompanied by a professional guide.

One of the participants, a member of the Temple Mount Faithful, enthusiastically told Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson today, "This is most definitely a turning point in terms of our efforts on behalf of this holy site. We had a feeling of freedom. The police specifically did not tell us that we were not allowed to pray, and I would even say that they turned a blind eye when they saw some of us saying Psalms in groups of 2 and 3. Some of our group even bowed down on the ground..."

"Until now," he continued, "when religious Jews were allowed up, it was only in small groups of two or three or four, closely guarded by a policeman on one side and a Waqf official on the other. We were not even allowed to talk too much, and certainly not to recite Psalms. This time, we were free to walk around for over an hour, and our guide, Yoel Elitzur, even took us to places on the eastern half of the compound. We of course avoided all places that according to some rabbinic opinions are forbidden halakhically."

The Temple Mount loyalist gave a "pat on the back" to Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi, "who was instrumental not only for the visit itself, but was also apparently responsible for the police's benign approach."

Another participant noted that not everything was roses, however. Fifty people waiting to enter were not allowed to do so, "because the Waqf people act as if the site belongs to them, and they close the gates at 11:00. It was heart-breaking to see people who came from all over the country, including a bridegroom whose wedding is tonight, being sent away without being let in... In addition, one person who insisted on wearing only socks [Jewish Law forbids leather shoes on the Mount, and he hadn't brought slippers] was thrown out and is not allowed to visit the site for 15 days... It's a disgrace."

The first-quoted visitor said, "We see this as a great turning point, and praise the police for 'ignoring' our prayers today - but we want Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount to be truly free... From now on, until further notice, groups of this type will be allowed up every morning until 11 AM - and so the ball is now in our court."

Yoel Elitzur, the first group's guide, later told Arutz-7, "Until now, when we were allowed up [long ago], it was a humiliating process, with identity cards and phone checks, etc. - but this time it was much different. Early this morning, I went with my 11-year-old son to the Wall, after having gone to the mikveh and making sure to complete the morning prayers by 8 AM, when the Temple Mount gate opened. It was very exciting. We waited around for a short while until a group gathered, in accordance with a police request. The basic feeling was that even though there were limitations, we were basically free... The ruins that the Arabs made there with their recent construction work were not visible to us; they are basically underground. What they destroyed is already in the garbage dumps of Jerusalem."

Elitzur made a special call to Arutz-7's listeners: "I would like to say that I see as one of the greatest moment in world history the announcement during the Six-Day War that 'the Temple Mount is in our hands.' There was great excitement, followed by a great disappointment with what could be called a national treachery there, and we were thrown out of the Temple Mount in a humiliating way - and it could be that we deserved it, because the number of visitors was so meager that simply was not honor to G-d... I take part every month in the march around the Temple Mount gates. I feel that this is an event that has much 'siyata dishmaya' [Divine Providence], in that it has grown from a few dozen to a few thousand participants in a matter of months. I ask myself, 'Are we allowed to let this 'siyata dishmaya' go to waste?' I am sure that the great strength of these thousands can be used - and I call upon them, as well as those who did not take part, to fulfill t he Ha lakhah [Jewish law], immerse in the mikveh as required, and come to the Temple Mount, and take advantage of this new situation. Let us change this degrading situation in which this most holy spot on earth has been Judenrein, and let's have Jews once again be regulars on the 'Mount of the House of our G-d.'"

TEMPLE MOUNT CLOSED EARLY; WHAT DOES JEWISH LAW SAY?

Another group of some 40 religious Jews ascended to the Temple Mount today, but a group of Moslems caused a disturbance, and in the end, the holy site was closed to Jewish visitors earlier than planned. 

The Temple Mount has been opened and closed several times of late: it was closed almost totally after the outbreak of the Oslo War in September 2000, and re-opened to religious Jews for the first time last month - but only, as in the past, to small groups of 2-4 people.

During the week of Tisha B'Av - when Jews mourn over the destruction of the Temples that stood on the Mount - the site was abruptly closed again, for what the police mysteriously called "operational reasons." Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi said at the time that Jews would soon be allowed to visit once again, and in fact yesterday morning, large groups of 40 at a time were allowed to ascend. Participants said that only minimal restrictions were placed upon them. After this morning's disturbances, however, the police closed the site - first to religious Jews and then to everyone. They said that they would open the mount this afternoon, but did not do so. Tomorrow's schedule is currently not clear, but many supporters plan to be there at 8 AM in any event.

Does Halakhah [Jewish law] permit Jews to enter the Temple Mount? The Bible specifically forbids those who are ritually impure - as we are today - from entering the inner areas of the Holy Temple. However, many hareidi and religious-Zionist rabbis say that after immersion in a mikveh [ritual bath] and taking other precautions, one may enter the other areas of the Temple Mount. Rabbi Yehuda Edri, of the Movement to Establish the Temple, a principal and educational supervisor for ten years in the hareidi Shas Party's El HaMa'yan educational system, spoke about this with Yosef Zalmanson today. "Several of our great sages of the Rishonim period," he said, "such as Maimonides and Ishtori HaParchi, actually set foot on the Temple Mount. In addition, Rabbi Akiva Eiger [d. 1837] tried to find out if the Turks would allow Jews to bring the Passover offering... Over the centuries, the Jews simply got used to not frequenting the Temple Mount because the Moslems allowed neither Christians nor Jews to do so."

Rabbi Edri said that even now, "not one religious authority forbids entry into the Temple Mount per se. It is only that because the sin of entering the Holy of Holies is so grave, they are afraid that Jews who either don't know or don't care will also ascend to the Temple Mount and will enter the wrong places. But this does not affect Jews who do know and who are careful." He agreed that these rulings, ironically, prevent only knowledgeable Jews from entering, while having no influence on those whose entry they wish to stop.

Rabbi Edri said that many members of the hareidi community, including leading rabbis, agree that entry to the Mount under rabbinical supervision is acceptable - but they do not wish to say so publicly. Among those who are outspoken on this topic are Rabbi Yisrael Appel of Bnei Brak, who has discussed this issue with many hareidi rabbis and confirmed this; the well-known Sochatchover educator and Temple Mount supporter Rabbi Yosef Elbaum; Rabbi Yosef Rothstein, Rosh Yeshivat Keter HaTorah in Jerusalem; the Nadvorne Rebbe, Rabbi Elimelech Leifer; Rabbi Yosef Laufer, head of the Kotel HaKatan Kollel; Rabbi Tzvi Rogen, head of Yeshivat Beit HaBechirah in Jerusalem; Rabbi Zalman Koren, who wrote a work on the matter of the permitted place on the Temple Mount; and others.

Zalmanson asked, "What of those who fear that by entering the holy and controversial compound, we are provoking the nations of the world?" Rabbi Edri said, "On the contrary, we know that in order to conquer it, we are allowed to enter the area even while impure. This is our way of asserting our rights to this holy spot! In fact, the Shabak (General Security Service) has long been in favor of allowing Jewish entry, for exactly this reason - so as not to leave a 'vacuum' in which we abandon our sovereignty. Those who feel that it's a provocation, it's because for so many years we lived in the Exile and had to be worried about what they goyim would do, so we closed ourselves off into the shtiebel... But now, thank G-d, we have a State, and an army, and we can assert our rights. We must remember that foreigners' hold on the Land of Israel is based on their hold on the Temple Mount - the stronger they are there, the stronger they are in the whole country. The Moslems, for many centuries, never claimed that this spot was holy to the m - o nly of late have they done so, in response to [our conquest in the Six-Day War] - and this shows that it's just political machinations on their part." 

Rabbi Edri said that former Chief Rabbis Bakshi-Doron and Lau asked Rabbi Yisrael Ariel of the Temple Institute to prepare a pamphlet on the topic: "Rabbi Ariel proved conclusively that the rock under the Dome of the Rock is in fact the Holy of Holies, in accordance with all the accepted opinions. Based on this, he determined the exact places we are permitted to walk. All that is needed is to immerse, not to wear leather shoes - and to know the precise route."


The Government of Israel Reopens the Temple Mount to Israelis, Jews and Christians After the Holy Site of the Temple Had Been Closed to Non-Moslems for 3 Years

This is, thanks to G-d, a great success for the Temple Mount Faithful Movement campaign to open the Temple Mount, to remove the enemies and their desecration of the holy site of the G-d and people of Israel and to rebuild the Third Temple in our lifetime as an opening for the coming of Mashiach ben David.

Thanks to the intensive and constant campaign of The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement over the last 3 years since the Temple Mount was closed to non-Moslems, the government of Israel today reopened the Temple Mount to Israelis, Jews, Christians and non-Moslems. It was so important to hear from the Israeli Minister of Internal Security that the Temple Mount will never again be closed to Israelis, Jews, Christians and non-Moslems.

Three years ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (at that time leader of the opposition) went up on the Temple Mount to demonstrate Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount and in this way to declare to everyone in the world and to the enemies of Israel that the Temple Mount is the holiest site of Israel and the Jewish People and the location of the First, Second and Third Temples. The Arabs - so-called "Palestinians" - under the leadership of the arch-murderer and terrorist, Yasser Arafat, and his bands in the PLO, immediately started bloody terror attacks against innocent Israelis in the midst of the land of Israel. They stated that this was as a reaction to Ariel Sharon going up onto the Temple Mount. They understood what some forgot that the end-time destiny of Israel will be decided on the Temple Mount and that once they are removed from the most holy site of the G-d and people of Israel and the Third Temple built, they will be completely removed from all the land of Israel and an end will come to their bloody wars against Israel and the kingdom of the G-d of Israel will be established in Jerusalem, all over Israel and in all the world. Also their goals to destroy Israel and to occupy all the world and make it an Islamic world will come to an end.

Since the Six Day War, the Temple Mount Faithful Movement has called on all the governments in Israel to bring about this godly end-time redemptional cause which will redeem Jerusalem and all the land of Israel, remove the enemies from the land and bring redemption, not only to Israel, but to all the world. We called on the governments in Israel not to fear the many Arab Islamic enemies of Israel nor even all the world but to obey and fulfil the end-time word to Israel to trust in the G-d of Israel and his promises to defeat and judge all the many enemies of Israel and their allies all over the world and to make His end-time commandment to Israel a reality in this generation which G-d decided would be the end-time generation of redemption. He promised us that only this will bring a real peace in Israel and all over the world and establish His kingdom in Jerusalem, Israel and all over the world:

"The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall decide for many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." (Isaiah 2:1-5)

Today many members of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement and more than 150 Israelis today went up to the most holy site of Israel and all the world, the eternal location of the First and Second Temples as well as that of the Third Temple which is soon to be built. It was an exciting day for all of us and a great hope and opening for the fulfilment of The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement's cause and goal, by the Israeli Government, to remove the foreign Arab Islamic occupation from the holy mountain of the G-d and people of Israel and to rebuild the house of G-d, the end-time Temple, soon in our lifetime as the main mission and goal of this generation in Israel.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will continue her godly historical campaign to soon fulfil these goals which are the main word and commandment of the G-d of Israel to our generation. Today's opening of the Temple Mount to everyone in the world, despite the Arab Islamic attempt to keep it closed to all non-Moslems, is the first step to make Temple Mount Faithful Movement's goals a reality in our lifetime. Israel was dedicated by G-d to build His end-time house, the Third Temple, to bring the G-d of Israel, His values, laws, morals and principles to the centre of the life of the people and land of Israel and to make His house a house of prayer, worship and love for Israel and all the nations exactly as G-d commanded us through His prophet, Isaiah -

"Also the sons of the stranger, who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it, and all who hold fast to my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. The Lord God who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those who are already gathered." (Isaiah 56:6-8)

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will continue even more intensively to make today's opening of the Temple Mount a first stage in the fulfilment of her godly end-time causes. Nobody can stop the G-d of Israel from leading this process and soon bringing it to completion in our lifetime. Everyone in the world should be a part of this, the biggest cause ever; to stand with the Temple Mount Faithful Movement in her campaign and struggle; to assist her morally, spiritually and practically to bring it to pass in our lifetime. G-d gave us this privilege. Let us not miss it.

In G-d we trust.
Pictures for the previous articles will soon appear on our web site.
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
P.O. Box 18325
91182 Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Tel: +972(2)625-1112 Tel/Fax: +972(2)625-1113
Web Site: http://www.templemountfaithful.org


TEMPLE MOUNT WILL BE RE-OPENED NEXT WEEK: Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi announced this week that the Temple Mount would be opened next week to Jews and Christians. Although some Moslems have called the announcement premature, and some left-wing Israelis have criticized HaNegbi's "provocative" declaration, it appears that Egyptian-mediated negotiations with the Waqf have in fact been successful and that the site will be opened. A Moslem official said today that the reason for the Waqf's sudden consent is economic, as the influx of tourists would mean significant financial profits for the Waqf. (Jerusalem Post) (August 13, 2003)

1930 Moslem Council: Jewish Temple Mount ties 'beyond dispute'
By Etgar Lefkovits - The Jerusalem Post 26 January 2001

JERUSALEM (January 26) - Although Islamic Wakf officials are currently denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, a 1930 booklet about the site published by the supreme Moslem body in Jerusalem during the British Mandate states categorically that the site's identification with the First Temple is "beyond dispute."

Published by the Supreme Moslem Council, the nine-page English-language tourist guide, entitled A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif, a copy of which was obtained by The Jerusalem Post, states: "The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings." A footnote refers the reader to 2 Samuel 26:25.

The Supreme Moslem Council "was the supreme Moslem body appointed by the British Government during the Mandate period to administer the Moslem affairs in Palestine which included Wakf affairs," said Dr. Eli Reches, an Arab affairs expert at Tel Aviv University.

The booklet focuses on the Moslem connection to the site, with the authors stating clearly: "... for the purposes of this Guide, which confines itself to the Moslem period, the starting point is the year 637 A.D."

But Judaism's unequivocal connection to the Temple Mount comes up again on the last page of the booklet, which discusses the "substructures" of the Dome of the Rock.

Describing the area of Solomon's Stables, which Islamic Wakf officials converted into a new mosque in 1996, the guide states: "...little is known for certain about the early history of the chamber itself. It dates probably as far back as the construction of Solomon's Temple... According to Josephus, it was in existence and was used as a place of refuge by the Jews at the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70 A.D."

The guide mentions in passing Christianity's connection to Solomon's Stables. "We also know that this space was used by the Knights Templar as stables and the holes to which they tethered their horses can still be seen in the masonry of the piers... The contrast between lower and upper courses of the larger piers would tend to show that they belong to two distinct periods, and that the upper parts and the vaults of Arab construction [are] superimposed upon ancient foundations."

The guide also refers to Christianity's link to a small chamber in the vast subterranean structure, "which was believed in medieval times to have been associated with Jesus Christ's infancy, a belief that was prevalent long before the advent of the Crusaders, and was subsequently accepted by them."

Published by the Moslem Orphanage Press as a visitor's guide to the site and priced at 200 mils, the booklet contains seven full-page photographs of the Dome of the Rock which the guide says were reproduced courtesy of the American Colony.

This week, Palestinian Authority Mufti Ikrima Sabri, interviewed by the German Die Welt said, "There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history."


Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av begins tonight, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. This is the day on which both the First and Second Holy Temples were destroyed (and many other calamities also befell the Jewish people on this day). Fasting and the recital of the Biblical scroll of Lamentations mark the day, and Jews observe rites of mourning. In order for us to be totally focused on the loss of the Temple, we all become mourners for one day, and tonight we will conduct ourselves accordingly, in the manner of those who have (Heaven forbid) suffered the loss of a close relative. For example: we refrain from wearing leather shoes and grooming, we do not greet one another, and we sit upon the ground.

When the seven-day mourning period for a relative draws to a close, the mourner must rise up from the ground and begin to resume his life and get his act together again, though that is sometimes a formidable and nearly-impossible task for one whose world has been drastically and irrevocably changed. In fact, it is traditional for another relative or friend to actually extend a hand and pull the mourner up physically from the ground. Otherwise, left on his own he may never get up off the ground--that is how it difficult it is for him to face his harsh new reality.

Our sages teach us that complacency and foot-dragging in building the Holy Temple leads to punishment for all of Israel. This was the reason for the death of all those thousands who fell in war and in plague in the time of King David. They only fell because they did actively seek the building of the Temple (Midrash Tehillim 17). This teaches us that the entire nation was faulted and punished for delaying the building. The words of the Midrash conclude: "How much more so does this apply! For if that generation, which never even saw the Temple--it was neither built nor destroyed in their time--was punished for not expressing desire for it, how much more so are we guilty. For it was destroyed in our generation, and we neither mourn for it nor seek mercy regarding it."

It behooves us to regard ourselves as the generation in which the Temple was destroyed, for two reasons. The first is because the sages teach that "every generation in which the Holy Temple is not rebuilt, is reckoned as the generation in which it is destroyed." But the second reason is simply because in our own time it is being destroyed all over again. The Temple Mount has been closed to non-Moslem visitors for nearly three years, with the exception of a small number of groups who were permitted to visit recently, until Moslem pressure and threats once again forced its closure. In the meantime, while Jerusalem's mayor speaks in a totally unacceptable manner about Jews who wish to ascend the mount in purity Ė demonstrating his gross insensitivity and disconnection to Judaism's holiest site Ė the Temple Mount is gradually becoming the center of Islamic fundamentalism in the Land of Israel.

The Temple Mount is both the spiritual center and apex of Israel. In Hebrew it is Har HaBayit, the "Mountain of the House" --for it is not just another place, another problem, another issue--it is the house, it is home. Thus it is everything, and without it we have no home. But it is also a microcosm of Israel's entirety, and thus it is only the tip of the iceberg and the treatment is receives is demonstrative of everything else going on around us: leaders who try to lull us into believing in the false hudna, even though violence and incitement still rage all around us and experts inform us that the enemy is just using this time to prepare more attacks against us; leaders who are willing to pump millions into a "security fence" designed to keep the Jews fenced into a ghetto in their own land, instead of dealing with the real problem.

The rites of mourning are an important and constructive vehicle for aiding in the psychological rehabilitation of one who has suffered an irreparable loss. However, the rites of mourning, if unaccompanied by a proper resolve, can be nothing more than self-deception, a ruse--the mourning game.

Are we really mourning for the Holy Temple, or are we satisfying ourselves with the trappings of mourning, satisfied to be acting out the part? Are we doing all we can? It is much more convenient to mourn than it is to attempt to rebuild. The true measure of the sincerity of our mourning should be measured in our attitude regarding the Holy Temple and the Temple Mount during the rest of the year, when it is not so stylish to be concerned with this subject. What are we doing about it all year long, to ensure that we will not have to mourn again this Tisha B'Av?

It was one thing to mourn for the Temple when we were strangers in a foreign land, and the Holy Temple was nothing more than the memory of a far-off dream. Should we be acting the same way in our own land, pretending that we are strangers in our own land, and lending a hand in our own destruction? It would seem that we cannot afford to keep on doing what we have been doing for the past thousand years.

Everyone familiar with therapy knows that rather than accept responsibility, it's much easier to simply blame the parent. But G-d commands us to be sovereigns in our own land; G-d commands us to build the Temple. It is much easier and far less threatening to mourn than it is to build. If the king desires that we join in the meal and sit with him at the table, why should we insist upon demeaning ourselves by sitting under the table?

Before and after Tisha B'av we traditionally greet each other by saying, "Next year, may this day turn into a holiday." But if we really Ė really Ė want to see the nation, the land of Israel, and the Holy Temple rebuilt, perhaps we could consider extending each other a hand to pull each other off the floor. Perhaps we should consider rising up, when no one holds us down. Does it have to wait until next year?

Rabbi Chaim Richman,
The Temple Institute
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

"Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord" (Zechariah 6:15)

In the beautiful pictorial book on the third Temple 'The odyssey of the third Temple', we find these words:

When the third Temple is built, the Gentiles will sincerely wish for it to be done, to facilitate the resting of the Shechina in Jerusalem.

This is the conclusion of the Midrash on the Song of Songs, commenting on the verse: "I have caused you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem. ..."

"What was the purpose of these oaths? One refers to Solomon's Temple, and one refers to Ezra's, and one to the future Temple ... Gentiles vow to help in the construction, so that the Jews will understand for themselves and say: 'If the Nations perform the will of God out of fear [and help to build the Third Temple], then we - who perform the commandments on account of love - how much more so [must we exert ourselves to build the Temple]?" (Midrash Shir HaShirim Rabbah 8:4, Grinhut Ed., Jer.) Also, in the classic work Emunot V'Dayot (Beliefs and Doctrines) of Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, the author describes the phenomena which will accompany the building of the future Third Temple in these words: "And the third, that the Nations will build the walls of the Temple, as it is written: 'And the sons of strangers shall build up your walls'." (Isaiah 60:10) (Emunot V'Dayot Essay 8 - On Salvation)

The Biblical commentator Abraham Ibn Ezra explains this same verse in similar fashion: "'And they shall buildup your walls' - even the children of Israel will not build the walls of Jerusalem, just as they did not build the Temple - the Gentiles will." 'And this is the offering which you shall take of them' (Exodus 25:3) Commenting on this verse, the Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 35:5) tell us "this informs us that in the future, the Holy One Blessed be He will accept presents from all the kingdoms, except for Edom - which is Rome, for Rome destroyed the Temple to its very foundation." In short, these writings and commentaries clearly indicate that the building of the Third Temple will include the participation of non-Jews.

May on this day in August, Tisha B'Av - when many Jews pray, fast and lament the destructions of the two previous Temples - God soon grant the building of His house again on this His holy mount so that then the Messiah and Shechina presence can come again to this place on earth as Malachi says:

And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the Lord of hosts (Malachi 3:1)

and Ezekiel foresees when he prophesies:

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east ... and the earth shone with His glory. ... And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. ... and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple." ... And He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. (Ezekiel 43:2, 4, 5, 7)

May that day soon come!

Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center


ETZION: TEMPLE MOUNT SITUATION IS WORST IT'S EVER BEEN

"The policy is simply to give in to the Waqf and the PA across the board, and I call on the public to arise against this." So says Yehuda Etzion, long-time activist on behalf of the Temple Mount, referring to yesterday's police decision to close the holy site to Jews once again.

Jews had not been allowed to ascend to the Mount since the outbreak of the Oslo War in September 2000, until about a month ago. Yesterday, the police again announced the closing of the site, for unexplained "operational reasons." Etzion told Arutz-7 this morning that the "operational reasons" are that Arafat simply threatened once again to order violent riots if Jews are allowed to ascend to the site.

Etzion, head of the Chai VeKayam (Eternally Alive) movement working to secure Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, said, "The sad reality is that we're still outside [the Mount], while the Moslem enemy who has arisen against us is still inside. The worst thing is that there is coordination between the Waqf [Islamic trust that runs the Mount] and the Israeli government. Even during this past month, when Jews were allowed up, it can be assumed that it was only because it was made worthwhile for the Waqf. I don't have precise documentation, but I can say that the tourists who are [now allowed up] bring them good money, and I know that they have received tacit permission to start renovating a whole wing on the Mount... We are acting like a dishrag, allowing Arafat to determine when we can enter and when we can't. There are simply no words to describe this. It began with Moshe Dayan, who returned the Mount to the control of the Arabs hours after we conquered it, even though they were sure that they had lost it... Here and there you can find some common sense in the police or the Shabak, but the moment Arafat just looks at them cross-eyed, they get weak-kneed and whine, 'What can we do? We tried.' But the fact is that they just don't want!"

Etzion explained that the police "made an agreement for the past month with low-level officials of the Waqf, and when Arafat heard about it, he called in the Waqf people and said, 'How dare you agree to this without me?' and threatened all sorts of things. So the Waqf came back to the police and said, 'Sorry, we can't do this anymore...' What happened last week? A small group came up, and the Waqf made a small provocation - claiming that one of the Jews was actually praying, Heaven forbid! This of course caused a big fracas, lots of Arabs surrounded them, and the police of course looked for the first open gate, and escorted them out. Right away, the PA press reported that they had thrown the Jews off the Temple Mount, while the police claim that they are stopping the visits for 'operational reasons.' You see how we've deteriorated? It's better to believe the Arabs, and not the police. It's not 'operational reasons' at all, but rather policy reasons - and the policy is to cave in throughout to the Waqf and the PA."

Etzion explained that the Waqf collects an entrance fee only for the entry to the mosques, but not to the Temple Mount itself. "This was the result of a court petition by Yisrael Ben-Dov just several days after we liberated the Mount in 1967," Etzion said.

Ministers and Knesset Members of the National Union and National Religious Party condemned the decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews. Labor MK Eitan Cabel said that the decision was a correct one.

A record number of participants took part in the monthly Walk Around the Temple Mount Gates last night. Police estimate that over 5,000 people marched through the Old City of Jerusalem, reciting Psalms at each of the several gates leading to the holy site. Etzion said that this is our way of pressuring "both the Heavens and the authorities." He said that in truth it's our own fault: "We are a few days before Tisha B'Av, the day of mourning for our Holy Temple, and we are in the worst situation we've ever been in. Until now it was closed, true, but now it's closed because of a direct threat by Arafat, something that has never happened. We must not accept this. We must not 'weep in vain' [rather, we must do something]. The Waqf is leading, and our government is being dragged along. We must rise up against both of them, whether by walking around the Gates or in any other way." (Israel National News TV, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/tv.php)


An Open Letter About the Critical Situation on the Temple Mount and its Godly End-Time Solution and the Godly Prophetic End-Time Events Which Are Soon to Take Place in Israel and All Over the World. The Temple Mount, Jerusalem and Israel Are and Will be at the Focus of It All

One of the dear friends of The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement sent us a letter in which he asked us questions which may also be asked by other people. The answer to these questions follows and needs to be read by and brought to the attention of everyone.

The questions were -

1. How can the Temple be built on the Temple Mount when we are not even allowed to go up and pray on the Mount and a pagan temple exists on the holy site?

2. Could you please comment on what is going to happen in the near future.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is undertaking a campaign and struggle to liberate the Temple Mount from foreign Arab hands and then to purify it from the pagan Islamic worship and rebuild the Temple. According to the Word of G-d, this must be done by Israel at this time in which we are now living. The Temple Mount was actually liberated by Israel in 1967. This was no accident but the clear decision of G-d to redeem the land and people of Israel and to immediately rebuild the Temple. It was a mistake on the part of the Israeli leadership, especially Moshe Dayan the then Defence Minister, who recalled the Arabs and gave them the management of the Temple Mount and allowed them to continue their pagan foreign worship. At the same time Israel immediately renewed her sovereignty on the Temple Mount and this is still the current situation. The Temple Mount Faithful Movement is acting to correct this sinful mistake. We know that we are living at G-d 's timing and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the regathering of the Jewish people by G-d to the land of the covenant prepared everything for the climax of the redemptional event through which Israel is now passing. G-d expects Israel to rebuild the Temple now and then He will send Mashiach ben David. Our activities and struggle brought this idea very close to fulfilment and we know that time is short and that it will soon come to pass.

It is correct that we are not allowed to go up on the Temple Mount to pray but this is a temporary situation and again, it is our campaign to stop this and nothing will deter the G-d of Israel from redeeming Israel and to rebuild His house in the prophetic end-times in which we are now living. The redemption of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple is a key event not only in the life of Israel but in the lives of all mankind. The redemption of all mankind depends on the redemption of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple is the key to all of it. (Isaiah2:1-5; Micah4:1-5; Zechariah8,12,14; Ezekiel37-46 and other prophets.) The actual events like the war in Iraq, the 11th September, the terror all over the world and the campaign of the UN and other powers in the world to take Jerusalem and parts of the Biblical land of Israel are actually the opening stages of the end-time war and all of it is focussed on Israel and Jerusalem as G-d shared with us in prophecy. (Zechariah12.14; Ezekiel38,39)

All of these events are both prophecy and the fulfilment of prophecy and all of it is focussed on Israel, exactly as was prophesied, since 1948 when the State of Israel was founded and even earlier when the Zionist movement was founded. It is so sad that all the world is too blind to see what G-d is doing with Israel at this time and how prophecy is becoming a reality - word by word - in Israel. Most of the world is now against Israel and we see how anti-Semitism is again raising its head against the Jewish people and Israel. Despite the fact that they have so many problems of their own to deal with and solve. The G-d of Israel warned Israel of this and that it would happen in the end-times and then the Day of Judgement will come of all the nations which persecuted Israel since the time of Abraham until now and the terrible persecution in the exile. G-d told us in His prophetic Word that all of them would be gathered to Jerusalem to the valley of Jehoshaphat to be judged by Him for all of this. Then Mashiach ben David will be sent by G-d and he will complete the redemption of Israel. He will be the king of Israel anointed by the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exactly as He promised to his mashiach, King David. From Jerusalem he will rule all the world and will establish the kingdom of G-d over all mankind and a new godly time will start for all the nations based on the Word of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, His values and His laws. Exactly as the prophet Isaiah wrote - all the nations will flow to Jerusalem to worship the G-d of Jacob, to learn His laws and ways and the Torah will go out from Zion and the Word of G-d from Jerusalem. All of them will say and do - "Let us go and delight in the G-d of Jacob." (Isaiah2:1-5; 11;Zechariah8:20-23)

You asked me to comment on the newsletter that you enclosed with your letter. Everything that I wrote above is my comment. Actually it is the comment of G-d and how He told us in His prophetic Word what is to happen in the near future and what has happened up until now as an exciting and critical events in the prophetic end-times in which we are now living. More than this, He showed us in reality in which we are now living that His Word is not only a word and vision but a plan and programme to be fulfilled and he shows to all the world and the nations how His Word is eternal and that He makes a reality. I advise everyone to lift their eyes to Israel and to Jerusalem and especially to the Temple Mount to see what is doing and will do in the near future with Israel, His chosen people for and eternal purpose and mission, and then with all the world.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is the end-time Movement of G-d which was created, I believe, by G-d Himself after the redemptional war of 1967 which by G-d's miracles liberated the Temple Mount and biblical Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and Sinai and gave them back to Israel to open the climax stage of the major redemptional event which G-d is doing with Israel. The Faithful Movement has been privileged to serve G-d in the fulfilment of His end-time plans and, at the focus of it, the rebuilding of the temple which is the key to all the other redemptional events and to serve Him in His prophetic end-time plans to establish His kingdom not only in Jerusalem and Israel, but all over the world. We are acting day and night for all of this as the volunteers of the G-d of Israel and we shall never stop until we see all of this come to pass. We know that all of this will come to pass in the near future in our lifetime. I advise everyone in the world who have doubts about this and about the appearance of G-d in the life of modern Israel to come and see what he is doing in these days in the holy land of Israel or at least to open their eyes and pay attention to Jerusalem and Israel. The Faithful Movement and Israel have many wonderful friends all over the world whose eyes, hearts and attention are directed to Israel and Jerusalem with great love and appreciation to the G-d and people of Israel and with a great desire to see the rebuilding of the temple in their lifetime, the coming of Mashiach ben David and the establishment of the kingdom of G-d from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the G-d and people of Israel, all over the world. The G-d and people of Israel and the Faithful Movement love them with the deepest appreciation. They are pioneers of the entire world which will follow them one day. These righteous brothers and sisters, wonderful pioneers, of the G-d and people of Israel will be redeemed together with the people of Israel as the prophets of Israel promised.

I hope that this has answered your questions. May the G-d of Israel bless you.

With deep appreciation and love.
Your friend in Jerusalem,
Gershon Salomon
Chairman, The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, April 3, 2003.


The Israeli President, Moshe Katzav, Asks the Vatican to Reveal the List of Temple Treasures and Judaica That They Hold

On More Than One Occasion The Temple Mount Faithful Movement Demanded That the Pope Return The Temple Treasures to Israel to be Used in the Soon-To-Be-Rebuilt Temple

During his recent visit to Italy, the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav, asked the Prime Minister of the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sudano, to prepare a list of all the Temple treasures, vessels and Judaica that are being held by the Vatican. The President asked for the Vatican's co-operation on this issue which is sensitive to Israel.

The major importance of this request is the fact that the Vatican holds the Temple Menorah of pure gold which, together with other holy vessels from the temple, was stolen by the Romans and taken to Rome in 70 CE. After the destruction of the Temple and the Israeli kingdom, the Roman emperor, Titus, who destroyed the temple, built a triumphal arch in Rome which portrayed the menorah and other vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem. The arch shows Israeli captives carrying the Menorah and the vessels in Rome. The fact that the Menorah and the holy vessels were taken to Rome and later, when the Roman Empire became Christian, the Menorah and vessels were placed in the basement of the Vatican, has passed down from generation to generation of the Jewish people. During the exile the holy Menorah and vessels remained at the focus of the memory of the Jewish people. Their dream was that one day soon they would recover them from the Vatican and return them to Jerusalem which would indicate the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the redemption of the people and land of Israel.

The fact that the Vatican holds these holy Temple vessels has been very well know since 70 CE and many Jews travelled to the Vatican when they could do so to look for them and to see them. Some of the travellers testified that they had personally seen the golden Menorah and the vessels in the basements of the Vatican. Some priests have even confirmed the fact that the Menorah and holy vessels are in the Vatican.

On more than one occasion over the past years, The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement have demanded of the Vatican and the Pope that they immediately return the golden Menorah and the other Temple vessels as well as any other Judaica that they hold. The Vatican and the Pope have never responded to these demands. The Temple Mount Faithful Movement advised them to do it immediately and to no longer hold them in captivity and that, if they would not do so, the G-d of Israel would "help" them to do so.

The Temple Mount Faithful Movement and all the Jewish People and Israel were very happy that President Katzav had requested this now and had given official status to the request. He did so in the name of all the Jewish People as well as the State of Israel. This was the first time it has been done by an Israeli president since the destruction of the Temple and was a very important event. It signified in a very exciting way that Israel is now living in the prophetic end-times of redemption, that the Temple of the G-d of Israel is soon to be rebuilt in Jerusalem and that the golden Menorah from the Second Temple and the other vessels should be returned to Jerusalem to be used in the Third, end-time Temple. Many people in the world did not pay attention to this exciting, end-time event which should move the heart of everyone in the world and they missed this major event.

It should be noted that a previous Israeli Minister of Religion, Shimon Shitreet, had requested the Vatican to return the holy golden Menorah from the Temple as well as the other vessels. He presented that Vatican with the results of historical research which showed that the Menorah and vessels were taken to Rome together with the Israeli captives and then to the Vatican after the destruction of the Second Temple. The research was also based on the ornamentation on the Titus' triumphal arch in Rome which confirms it in a very clear manner. This request was ignored and even raised opposition and disapproval in the Vatican.

Despite the fact that the Prime Minister of the Vatican did not disapprove of the request of President Katsav, he did not show any readiness to accept it and no progress was made with regard to the matter.

Sources in the Vatican denied that the Pope is holding the holy Menorah from the Temple in Jerusalem. They stated that the current Pope is sensitive to the life of the Jews and that he would act to return an item which has such a religious and symbolic value as has the Menorah. The sources said nothing about the request of the Israeli president to prepare a list of all the other holy vessels from the Temple. The reaction of these sources raised great disappointment and anger in Israel and among the Jewish people. Historians and researchers and everyone in Israel again stressed what has been very well known since 70 CE - that the temple Menorah and the other Temple vessels are, indeed, held by the Vatican in its hidden basements and, as in the past, they do not want to return them to the Jewish People, to Jerusalem, to be used in the Third Temple which is soon to be rebuilt. Israel has very clear evidence which makes this an undeniable fact. It is very well known that the Vatican also holds ancient Torah Scrolls, Jewish manuscripts and other holy vessels in its basements.

The Office of the President of Israel confirmed the president's request and stated that it is "a meaningful break-through and the first major request of this kind from an Israeli president".

The fact that the Vatican and the Pope are not ready to return the Temple Menorah and the vessels to Israel and Jerusalem will not deter The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement in their struggle and campaign to bring about the return of these major vessels from the Temple to Israel and Jerusalem. Israel is now living in G-d's time of redemption and the Temple Mount Faithful Movement is the vessel of the G-d of Israel to immediately rebuild His holy Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The demand of the Faithful Movement is the demand of G-d Himself and we are His messengers to present it with no delay. It will not help the Vatican and the Pope to try in this way to stop the march of the prophetic history of Israel and even all the world. They have no chance to fight against the G-d of Israel and His clear intention to redeem Israel and all the world and to rebuild His house in Jerusalem.

Israel is now in the midst of a major, prophetic, end-time struggle and campaign to rebuild the kingdom of G-d in the land of Israel and all over the world and to again locate the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in His rebuilt house in Jerusalem on Mt. Moriah. It is the desire of G-d Himself to see the original Menorah and the holy vessels from the temple liberated from captivity in the Vatican and used in the worship in the end-time temple which is soon to be rebuilt.

We advise the Pope and the Vatican to give up trying to stop the march of G-d and history to Jerusalem. We demand of them that they immediately return the Menorah, the holy vessels and other holy items to Israel and Jerusalem before the anger and judgement of G-d forces them to do so.

However, as we see, we are living in very special, exciting and prophetic end-times. We are witnesses of the fulfilment of end-time prophecies by the prophets of Israel thousands of years ago. The time of the destruction, exile and captivity of Israel is over, thanks to G-d, and we are living in the midst of a very exciting time of redemption that for so many years was a dream, a desire and a prayer of the people of Israel and is now becoming a reality. We are witnesses of major end-time events and many more will occur in the near future. The significance of all this for all mankind is even greater than people can imagine. We are at the beginning of a major godly time and everything will come from Jerusalem, from the Temple Mount, the holy hill of G-d and our lives are completely dedicated to this end. Everyone is called on to lift their eyes to Israel and Jerusalem and mainly to the Temple Mount and to see what the G-d of Israel is doing now in the holy land with His people, Israel, and what He will do in the near future.

Blessed are and will be the wonderful friends of Israel and the Faithful Movement who have decided to be a part of this major event of all times and who stand so devotedly with us. They have heard the call of G-d and answered it with no doubts. Together we shall soon see the great godly fulfilment.

Pictures will appear together with the article on our web site. Please go there.

Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, P.O.Box 18325, Jerusalem 91182, ISRAEL; Telephone 972.2.625.1112, Telephone/Fax 972.2.625.1113

To subscribe or unsubscribe to our email list or to obtain more information about us, please visit our web-site at http://www.templemountfaithful.org To contact us, please use the following address: gershon@templemountfaithful.org


Jordanian architects will fix Al Aqsa bulge

By TJT Staff, The Jerusalem Times (independent Palestinian weekly) 19 December 2002
http://www.jerusalem-times.net/article/news/details/detail.asp?id=2539

Four Jordanian architects will start soon fixing a 35 foot long bulge in the southern part of Al Aqsa Mosque compound, declared Raef Najim, vice president of the state run Jordanian Construction Committee and the architect in charge of reconstruction work on Al Aqsa Mosque last Monday. Wakf, the Islamic trust in control of the site, called the Jordanians to intervene after Israel refused to allow its teams to approach the bulge area, under the pretense that the bulge would cause Al Aqsa structure to topple, if the right material and tools not used in fixing it.

Wakf refused the Israeli attempts to mingle in the Mosque's affairs stressing that it has been monitoring the situation since twenty years and that it could handle the issue, if Israel allows its experts to work freely. Israel backed up only after Jordan, the custodian of the holy site, officially intervened and sent a team from Royal Scientific Society to study the situation and come up with solutions.

The Jordanian report found that there is no immediate danger of collapse, contradicting Israeli reports on the issue. "We are currently choosing the proper material to fill the voids and cracks in the wall," Najim told the Israeli daily newspaper, Jerusalem Post.

Najim added that most of the work will be done in 10 days, leaving work on any large stones that need repair which likely will take couple of months. Sheikh Abdul Azzim Salhab, General Manager of the Islamic wakf, said " We have fixed 60% of the southern wall under the observance and supervision of UNISCOW without the interference of the Israeli side." Israel was trying to stir a problem from the issue of the wall renovation to gain control the Mosque, Said Salhab.


"BATTLE OF THE BULGE"

* * *

This past week has seen tragic attacks at the Hebron holy site, and against innocent men, women and children on a Jerusalem bus.

A new potential eruption is brewing in Jerusalem, and we want HonestReporting members to be prepared before anything happens.

For the third time in the past six years, Muslim authorities appear to be setting up a Temple Mount controversy as a pretense for violence against Israel. This time, however, it could come at the expense of the lives of thousands of Ramadan worshippers.

As has been reported internationally during the past several months, Israeli archeologists have identified a 35-foot wide bulge near the southern end of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount. First noticed about two years ago, a political firestorm has erupted concerning whether the bulge actually is there, and who has the right and authority to make repairs.

Genuine concern exists among archeologists concerning the structural integrity of the Temple Mount, and its ability to withstand the weight of the tens of thousands of worshippers currently congregating there for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"There's no doubt that it will collapse before long," Dr. Eilat Mazar, a Hebrew university archaeologist, said recently in The Guardian. "The question is by how much, and whether it will bring down other structures nearby, including the Al Aqsa mosque."

Of additional concern is the political position of the Waqf -- the Muslim authority given responsibility to maintain the Temple Mount area -- and their threats that if a collapse occurs, Israel will be directly to blame.

Adnan Husseini, director of the Waqf, was interviewed in Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times. He said: "This is something that we are able to fix, but Israelis want to use this to create more tension in the atmosphere... Their real agenda is to take over the place."

"The Israeli government will be responsible if there are lives lost," he said. Sounds all too familiar.

Similar refrains resonated at the onset of violence in September 2000 when Arabs rationalized their violence (since proved to be pre-meditated) on the visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount.

Four years earlier, Arab rioting broke out against the backdrop of the completion of an Israeli archeological tunnel running along the outside base of the western retaining wall. This tunnel never breached the Temple Mount itself, and sits hundreds of yards away from the Al Aqsa mosque -- actually pointing in the opposite direction.

Nevertheless, Arab riots erupted based on claims that the tunnel was an Israeli attempt to undermine the Muslim mosques.

* * *

The current damage to the southern retaining wall and subsequent bulge is attributed to a construction project started by the Waqf in 1999 to open a large mosque in a vault known as Solomon's Stables. In the process, some key structural supports were removed. Additionally, the laying of paving stones for the mosque may have created a drainage problem that has contributed to the bulge.

There is another concern. An Israeli archeology committee claims that the Islamic authority is trying to eradicate archeological evidence that a Jewish Temple ever stood on the site, and that tons of priceless archeological relics have been hauled off and/or thrown away.

"This is one of the most serious archeological crimes ever committed in this country," Gabriel Barkai told Newsweek.

* * *

In the event of a collapse during this year's Ramadan or afterward, HonestReporting members should be keenly aware of the background facts, in order to analyze the accuracy of reporting.

For the better part of 1,000 years, the Jewish Temple stood on the Mount, a huge, rectangular mountain-top courtyard closed in by four supporting walls. The most sanctified section of the Temple (the Holy of Holies) rested nearly perpendicular to the middle section of the western retaining wall of the mountain. The current Western Wall plaza sits adjacent to this section facing the outside of the retaining wall.

A little more than 1,930 years ago, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. The courtyard lay virtually barren until the Muslim conquest almost 600 years later and the subsequent construction of the Al Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock.

Fast forward to the summer of 1967 and the Six Day War. Israel retook the Old City of Jerusalem -- Temple Mount included -- from the Jordanians who had exiled the Jews and assumed exclusive control 19 years earlier in Israel's War of Independence. In 1967, the Israelis, eager to restore the status quo and to show respect for Muslim holy sites, ceded political authority over the Temple Mount to the Waqf, thus beginning a tenuous relationship culminating with these current events.

A temporary compromise in "the battle of the bulge" was reached last month, allowing a team of Jordanian engineers to inspect the wall and take samples back to Amman.

As Gabriel Barkai told the Los Angeles Times: "I'm not a prophet. I can't say exactly when, but there is no question that it will collapse. All you need is a big group to congregate up there for the equilibrium to start shifting. It's a matter of time."

Daniel Pipes says: "This disaster would lead at least to wide-scale fighting in Jerusalem and a heated international crisis. If things really went wrong, it could precipitate a wave of violence in Europe and a full-blown Arab-Israeli war. [Or] it could unleash an end-of-days messianism in three monotheistic religions, with unforeseeable consequences."

Newsweek has termed this "The Armageddon Wall." Stay tuned.

Jerry Golden "REPORT," P.O. Box 10268, Jerusalem 91102 Israel, November 22, 2002.


TEMPLE MOUNT MAY COLLAPSE DURING RAMADAN

The Temple Mount might collapse on hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshippers during Ramadan prayers, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was told in a secret meeting on Sunday.

Unsupervised construction on the Temple Mount by the Muslim Waqf (religious authorities), has caused an increasingly dangerous buckling of the southern wall now extends a meter beyond the surface.

"If Israel decides to repair the wall without a prior agreement with the Waqf, this could lead to riots and bloodshed. But if the Temple Mount collapses on a crowd of Muslim worshippers, this would be ten times worse. We'll be held responsible, whatever we do," said one Israeli source.

Read more about this at this web site: The Destruction of the Temple Mount Antiquities


The Temple Mount Faithful Movement Will March in a Pilgrimage to the Temple Mount and to the Pool of Siloam in the City of David at Sukkoth

They will Carry with them a large model of the Temple and Vessels for the Third Temple and Blow on the Silver Trumpets

At 10:00 AM on the 3rd day of Sukkoth, 17th Tishrei 5763, Monday 23rd September 2002, the Temple Mount Faithful Movement will march to the Temple Mount on a holy day of prayer and swearing faithfulness to the G‹d of Israel and to the holy cause which He gave us to rebuild His house and to serve His holy prophetic end-time plans for Israel and all the world.

We will carry with us a large model of the temple which will be an opening for the rebuilding of the house of G‹d on Mt. Moriah. We swill also carry with us the holy vessels which have been reconstructed for use in the Third Temple and the priestly garments which the priests will wear on this exciting event. All of these will also be presented to the people of Israel and all the world on this day to show how close we are to the great day of the rebuilding of the temple. We will also carry with us the 2 silver trumpets which have been recently reconstructed by the Movement to be used in the Third Temple exactly in accordance with the Word of G‹d in the Torah. The priests will blow on the trumpets and a large shofar (ramÕs horn) when we come to the front of the Western gate of the Temple Mount.

Together with the Sukkoth prayers and the Hallel Psalms, the sound of the trumpets and the shofar will carry through the holy hill of G‹d to heaven. This will be a call to G‹d to accept and to fulfil our desires, dream and campaign for the building of His holy house soon in our lifetime and to show Him that we are ready for this major godly end-time project which will change the life of Israel and all the world.

We will also carry the 4 species, the Lulav and the etrog, as G‹d commanded in the Torah and as our forefathers did in the First and Second Temple eras. This will be an exciting pilgrimage to the correct godly place as G‹d commanded us to do thousands of years at this holy festival.

After this exciting event, we will march to the city of David, in front of the southern gates of the Temple Mount in the same place where King David anointed the Ark of the Covenant for the First Temple, more than 3000 years ago. In this holy place, with our eyes lifted to the site of the temple, we shall pray the prayers of King David and his desires for the building of the First Temple in his lifetime. Together with us will be the large model of the temple, the vessels for the Third Temple , the priests and there we shall blow with trumpets and the shofar together with prayers that the walls of hostility will fall and the desecration of the Temple Mount will immediately cease and that the holy hill will be purified. We know that this is soon to come but we also know that the G‹d of Israel expects us to fight and act against His enemies and to remove them from His holy hill and land.

From here we will march to the pool of Siloam to perform the Biblical ceremony of Nisuch Hamaim and to renew the exciting Biblical event when the Israelites marched with the priests and their kings to the pool of Siloam and drew water from there and carried it to be poured out on the altar with prayers for a year blessed with rain and G‹dÕs blessings. Biblical tradition states that it was the most joyous event in the life of Israel

Because of the security situation in Israel the authorities have asked us to delay our original plans to lay the cornerstone for the Third Temple on this day. The 2 cornerstones which were anointed for the Third Temple last Sukkoth are laying not far from the Temple Mount overlooking the location of the Holy of Holies. The Temple Mount Faithful Movement is preparing to lay them soon. We know that time is short and that this day is soon to come. All G‹dÕs end-time plans, especially the rebuilding of the temple, will soon come to pass. The G‹d of Israel anointed and dedicated the Faithful Movement for this major event and we shall continue to intensively prepare to fulfil our godly mission and to serve and work for all G‹dÕs prophetic end-time plans.

Many guests and friends of the Movement from outside Israel will participate in this event. Some will carry with them a model of the Ark of the Covenant. Everyone who is in Jerusalem on this day is called on to participate in this most exciting event in the history of Israel. Come and march with us and you will see for yourselves what G‹d is doing with Israel and the Faithful Movement in these exciting times. This is a time of which so many generations desired to be a part and of which G‹d gave our generation the privilege of being a part.

Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
P.O.Box 18325, Jerusalem 91182, ISRAEL
Telephone 972.2.625.1112
Telephone/Fax 972.2.625.1113

To subscribe or unscribe to our email list or to obtain more information about us, please visit our web-site at http://www.templemountfaithful.org

To contact us, please use the following address: gershon@templemountfaithful.org


The Bulge on the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount Becomes Larger
Archaeologists Say that the Southern Wall Will Soon Collapse Together with the Mosque
The Temple Mount Faithful to Sharon: Let it collapse! This is the Hand of G-d!

On 27th August 2002, the archaeologists of the Israeli Antiquities Authority warned that the southern wall of the Temple Mount is in great imminent danger of collapsing. They stated that the bulge in the wall, which was first noticed after Tisha b‚Av last year immediately after the Temple Mount Faithful had carried the cornerstone for the Third Temple to the area in front of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, has become much larger. Last year the bulge was 70 cm and was 30 metres long. The bulge has now increased to over 1 metre and is much longer.

The archaeologists also stated that if the wall collapses, the Al Aqsa mosque will collapse together with it as well the other two illegal mosques that have been built over the past years when they changed the Hulda entrance to the Temple Mount and the so-called Solomon‚s Stables and made them into the mosque in the Middle East. Both of these holy places, together with the southern wall were built by the Israeli King Herod and completed by 10BCE. They were part of the temple complex. On the southern wall were the Double Gate and Triple Gate which were known as the Hulda Gates after the prophetess Hulda and were used as the main entrance for millions of Jewish pilgrims in the Second Temple. The Hulda Tunnel and Solomon‚s Stables (which were never stables and did not exist in the time of King Solomon but were erroneously called this by the Crusaders) remained exactly as they were at the time of the Second Temple until recently when the Arabs on the Temple Mount covered the beautiful ornamentation and the pillars and illegally converted the area into a mosque.

The archaeologists called on the Israeli authorities to repair the wall. However, the archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, stated that nothing can prevent the imminent collapse of the wall. They also stated that they do not know the reason for the bulge. However, the Arabs on the Temple Mount refuse to allow the Israeli authorities to try to repair the wall.

Yesterday (28/08/02) the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement sent an open letter to Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel. In the letter the chairman of the Movement, Gershon Salomon, stated that the reason for the bulge and the „dangerš of the wall collapsing is the Hand of the G-d of Israel. Gershon wrote in the letter that the bulge and probable collapse is no accident but the commencement of a godly move for the collapse of all the strange, pagan Arab presence on the Temple Mount which is the most holy site of the temple. This is a fulfilment of the prophecies of the prophets of Israel for the redemption of the Temple Mount, Israel and all the world. It is so sad that everyone who looks for the reason for the bulge are too blind to understand this prophetic fact. Gershon called on the Israeli authorities and the archaeologists not to interfere in G-d‚s activities and to prevent any activity to repair the wall. This godly event signifies the start of the collapse of the walls of violence and hatred against the people of G-d and the presence of the Arab Islamic enemy of the G-d and people of Israel in the most holy place of the G-d and people of Israel. The G-d of Israel is moving the end-time history of Israel and all the world towards the purification of His holy hill from the foreigners and their desecration and towards the rebuilding of the temple. This is also the start of G-d‚s judgement on these foreign enemies on the Temple Mount who have desecrated, vandalised and destroyed the remains of the First and Second Temples, built new mosques on the holy site of G-d and still continue their activities to convert the Temple Mount into an Islamic site by eliminating the remains of the Jewish temples. They dared to lift their hands against the G-d of Israel and the people of Israel. They were deluded into thinking that they could deny and ignore the existence of the temple on the Temple Mount and in this way prevent the godly historical end-time step of the redemption of the Temple Mount, Israel and all the world.

The G-d of Israel showed them that no one can raise their hands and fight against Him. So many enemies of Israel who have occupied the Temple Mount and Jerusalem since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE have completely disappeared from the stage of history like dust in the wind under the judgement of G-d. This and even worse will be the fate of the current enemies of the G-d and people of Israel on the Temple Mount and all over the land of Israel.

Gershon called on Ariel Sharon not to squander the great credit that G-d and history gave him at a very great and critical time in the history of Israel but to co-operate with G-d and to remove His enemies from his most holy hill and to immediately start the building of the Third Temple

Gershon reminded Prime Minister Sharon of the Hand of G-d on the southern wall of the Temple Mount during Tisha b‚Av 2001 when the Temple Mount Faithful Movement carried the cornerstone to the area in front of the wall and its historical gates and how the bulge had immediately started to appear. It was a clear message from G-d that the gates and walls should immediately be opened to the cornerstone and the starting of the rebuilding of the temple. Exactly as His word states in the Psalms, „the stone which the builders rejected became the head of the cornerš. Through this cornerstone G-d caused a political and spiritual earthquake in Israel, the Middle East and all over the world. In all the Arab countries models of the temple that they built were burned and again the had illusions that they could prevent this major godly end-time event by such activities which again brought them to desecrate the Name of G-d. It is no accident that G-d caused the bulge and eventual collapse on the southern wall of the Temple Mount. This was the main entrance for pilgrims to the First and Second Temples and G-d is eager to open this wall and its gates to millions of pilgrims to the Third Temple.

On Saturday 24th August 2002, the anti-Israeli Islamic Movement in Israel brought 45,000 of its members to the Temple Mount and held a demonstration against the G-d and people of Israel. The Temple Mount Faithful Movement sent a message of protest to the Israeli authorities and asked them why they did not prevent this demonstration which again desecrated the holy site of the G-d of Israel. During the demonstration they incited the Arabs against the Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem and the land of Israel. They stated that the land of Israel is „Palestineš and that there is no place for the Jews on the Temple Mount or in Jerusalem and all of the land of Israel. They denied that the Temple Mount had been the site of the First and Second Temples and the godly historical heart and soul of the G-d and people of Israel. It was a terrible revolt by the followers of Yasser Arafat, the enemies of the G-d and people of Israel on the Temple Mount, against G-d and the eternal covenant that He made with Abraham and Israel when He gave the land of Israel to His people Israel only and gave them the Temple Mount and Jerusalem where they were to build His house. It was a rude lie against the history of the relationship and long link between G-d, Israel and the Holy Land; a history of thousands of years of the people of Israel who lived in this land since the time of Abraham and King David and built it to be the land of the G-d and people of Israel. The reaction of G-d came immediately. On the next day the archaeologists discovered that the size of the bulge had increased. This was again an immediate sign of the Hand of G-d and His judgement.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Gershon stated that we are now standing at the threshold of a new and decisive stage in the major, historical, prophetic, godly move for the redemption of the Temple Mount, the people and land of Israel and of all the world. We are now witnessing the final death throws of the cruel, foreign and vandalistic occupation of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the land of Israel. G-d will no longer suffer the continued desecration of His holy mountain. If the Israeli Government will not immediately stop the enemies occupation as G-d expects it to do, then G-d Himself will very soon stop it which He has already started to do. The bulge in the southern wall is the start of this irreversible move of G-d.. The people of Israel and all the world cannot and will not succeed in running away from the Temple Mount and from the godly task of the people of Israel to immediately rebuild the house of G-d. The Temple Mount and the temple will pursue them and the temple will soon be rebuilt whether they want it or not. This is the hour decreed by the G-d of Israel.

The collapse of security, the economy, the community, morality, the cruel terror attacks, the terrible carnage on the roads and the political and social instability all over the world are a result of the shameful ignoring of the Temple Mount and the call of G-d to the immediate rebuilding of the temple which will open a new godly era of morality in the life of all the world. Gershon called on the people of Israel and its leadership to heed the call of their G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to join Him and His prophetic end-time redemptional move, to immediately purify the holy hill of G-d and to immediately build His house on the Temple Mount which will be the major tower of light for Israel and all the nations and a house of love and worship for the people of G-d and all the world. We are calling for the awakening of everyone for this major prophetic and godly end-time event in Israel and all over the world. Let us not miss the great godly opportunity which He privileged us to have at a very critical and exciting time in the history of Israel and all the world.

Everyone in Israel and all over the world is called on to pray loudly the following Word of G-d to His prophet, Isaiah which has started to become reality and will soon be completed on the Temple Mount.

"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things; your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For you have made of a city a heap; of a fortified city a ruin; a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be rebuilt. Therefore shall the strong people glorify you, the city of the terrible nations shall fear you. For you have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of tyrants was like a storm against the wall. You shall bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; as the heat is removed by the shadow of a cloud; so the song of tyrants shall be brought low. And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make to all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the covering that is cast over all the people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will destroy death for ever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the insult of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. And it shall be said on that day, Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trampled down in his own place, like straw is trampled down in the dunghill. And he shall spread out his hands in the midst of them, as he who swims spreads out his hands to swim; and he shall bring down their pride together with the plunder of their hands. And the high fortifications of your walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust." (Isaiah 25)

Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, P.O. Box 18325, Yochanan Horkanos 4 Jerusalem 91182 Israel
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TEMPLE MOUNT WALL IN DANGER OF COLLAPSING

The southern retaining wall of the Temple Mount is in danger of imminent collapse, according to Israeli archaeologists.

A growing 190 square meter bulge in the southern retaining wall is the reason behind the fears. Although a bulge has been there for some time - since the first half of the 20th century - in the last year it has protruded by at least a further 1.5 centimeters. Some claim the bulge has grown by 70 cm in the last 12 months. At its worst, the bulge protrudes by 1.5 meters from the vertical.

"A centimeter-and-a-half a year is a lot," said Jerusalem District archaeologist Gon Zeligman. "The wall isn't elastic. It reaches a certain unknown point and then, boom, it breaks."

There are fears that the cause of the sudden worsening is due to work being carried out by the Wakf, the Islamic authority that oversees the Temple Mount, in the adjoining area known as Solomon's Stables. In recent years, the underground cavern has been hastily converted into a large prayer chamber, part of an ambitious plan to turn the entire Mount into the largest mosque in the world, to rival the Grand Mosque of Mecca.

On Monday, the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to warn him of "a clear and present danger that the southern part of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount might collapse" as a result of the Wakf's construction work. In the letter, the group urged Sharon "to take immediate action to deal with the problem before a disaster occurs."

"To date, no steps have been taken in the matter, which means that nothing can be done to correct the situation," said archaeologist Eilat Mazar, a member of the group. The question now is "whether the Wall will collapse on thousands of worshipers or if it will happen in a controlled manner."

In response to the crisis, Prime Minister Sharon is to convene a restricted forum of ministers to discuss the danger. The mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, the attorney general, Elyakim Rubinstein, the heads of the security forces and Antiquities Authority officials are all expected to attend the meeting.

Among the government's choices are renewing informal contacts with the Wakf, and declaring a portion of the southern wall a site that is in danger of collapse. Such a declaration would empower the Jerusalem Municipality to ban any activities or presence in or around the area on the grounds that the site constituted a threat to the safety of the public.

The latter move would be very controversial. Although it could potentially save thousands of lives, restricting access to the al-Aksa Mosque, which is on the southern edge of the Mount, would raise the ire of the Arab/Muslim world. Some 40,000 Muslims, mostly Israeli Arabs, attended a protest on the Mount last Saturday called to "defend" Islam's hold over the site.

According to Mayor Olmert, Israel should not delay action. "In my opinion, we have reached the moment of truth," Olmert told Israel Radio. "The government of Israel has no alternative but to decide to exercise our natural authority with regard to the Temple Mount."

The Wakf refuses to allow any Israeli authorities on the Mount, and since the outbreak of the armed intifada in September 2000, Israel has allowed only Muslims onto the Temple Mount.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has also found evidence of "very advanced erosion of the rocks of the southern wall that is causing a real and grave danger to the structure... If the erosion issue is not dealt with, it could also cause the southern wall to become unstable."

On Wednesday, a group affiliated with UNESCO offered to inspect the wall. The group, which deals with the preservation of antiquities, said that they were offering their services given the sensitive nature of the contested holy site. (ICEJ NEWS SERVICE FROM JERUSALEM, 28 AUGUEST 2002)


The Temple Mount Faithful March from Ammunition Hill to the Temple Mount on The Day Commemorating the Liberation of Jerusalem - 9th May, 2002

On the 9th May, 2002, the godly day commemorating the liberation of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem from Arab occupation in 1967, The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement marched from Ammunition Hill in northen Jerusalem, to the Old City and the Temple Mount.

Over the last 2000 years since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the holy city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, has seen many foreign forces occupy the city as a part of their empire. The Jewish people of Jerusalem were taken into exile from the city and the city moved from one foreign occupation to another and was terribly destroyed. No longer was there the godly temple on the hill of G-d and no longer was there the beauty of the city as King David and King Solomon built it. Fro them it was the holy city of G-d and the eternal and beloved capital of the G-d and people of Israel. Everything in their lives they gave to make the city where the G-d of Israel dwells the most beautiful city in the world. Since the destruction of the Second Temple, the hill of G-d and Jerusalem, like all the land of Israel, remained a widow who did not stop mourning and weeping for her children, the Israeli people. In Bethlehem, very close to Jerusalem, Jewish pilgrims from the exile who tried to come to Jerusalem whose gates were closed to them by the foreign occupiers of the city, could here could hear the voice of Rachel the mother of the Jewish people weeping and mourning for the exile of her children from their beloved city and for the destruction of the city of G-d exactly as the prophet Jeremiah prophesied - "Thus says the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not." (Jeremiah 31:14) She mourned and wept for the many millions of her children who were persecuted and killed in the exile. Together with her persecuted children she prayed and dreamt for the soon fulfilment of G-d's promises to redeem her children, Jerusalem and the holy land of Israel, and to rebuild His house and to again dwell among His regathered people. Indeed, they could hear the voice of G-d comforting Rachel and her children - "And there is hope for your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like a bull unaccustomed to the yoke; turn me back, and I shall be turned; for you are the Lord my God." (Jeremiah 31:16,17) In 1948 the great dream became a reality. Since the destruction of the temple and Israel everyone in the world had believed that G-d had divorced His wife as He called Israel and had replaced her. With inhuman hatred they did not stop killing the people of G-d in terrible ways. Even in our generation, six million of the children of G-d and Rachel were burned in the crematoria of Europe and none of the nations all over the world tried to stop it or to avoid it. They had illusions that G-d behaves like a human being and divorced His beloved wife. They thought that G-d was no longer faithful to His wife, Israel. The redemption of the people and land of Israel in 1948 and the regathering of His wife after a long time in exile, was not only the fulfilment and the faithfulness of G-d to His promise but, at the same time, the great and exciting appearance of G-d before all the nations to show them that He does not act like a human being but, unlike them, He is faithful to his beloved wife, Israel. Through Israel He again showed His greatness and that even after almost 2000 years of destruction, exile and persecution, He could redeem His people and regather them to the land in a major godly end-time event that most of the people in the world still do not understand or want to understand and accept. The attacks and wars against Israel since 1948 and even in these days are not only the continuation of their inexplicable hatred against Israel but, at the same time, a terrible revolt against G-d , His Word and His end-time plans with Israel and all mankind.

The liberation of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the biblical areas of Israel in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and Sinai was the climax of the appearance of G-d, His Word and promises before all the world. Finally, G-d showed them all that the redemption of Israel in 1948 was not merely an episode but a godly eternal event and that He is marching to fulfil all His end-time promises and plans with Israel which will lead to the redemption of all mankind.

When The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement marched ni the streets of the rebuilt Jerusalem and their eyes were lifted to G-d and to His holy hill, the Temple Mount, they could see and experience how G-d‚s promises and miracles with Israel had become an exciting reality. On the way from Ammunition Hill to the Temple Mount we could really hear the voice of the G-d of Israel and his prophet Jeremiah speaking to all of us and to the Israel not only as a prophecy and dream but as a live fulfilment. Jerusalem is no longer a destroyed city; her children are back in the city and all over the land; Jerusalem and the land is rebuilt and houses continue be built and Israeli children play in the streets of Jerusalem. This is exactly as the prophet Zechariah prophesied, and is all to the honour of G-d. Suddenly, when nobody in the world wanted it or expected it, the exciting promises of G-d became a reality in the hills of Jerusalem and the land - "Thus says the Lord, The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest. The Lord has appeared to me, far away, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have remained true to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin of Israel; you shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go out dancing with those who make merry. You shall yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit. For there shall be a day, when the watchmen upon Mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise, and let us go up to Zion to the Lord our God. For thus says the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout on the hilltops of the nations; proclaim, praise, and say, O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and she who labours with child together; a great company shall return there. They shall come weeping, and with supplications will I lead them; I will make them walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, where they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O you nations, and declare it in the islands far away, and say, He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, like a shepherd keeps his flock. For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd; and their soul shall be like a watered garden; and they shall not languish in sorrow any more. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together; for I will turn their mourning to joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the Lord. Thus says the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not." (Jeremiah31:1-14)

The march to the Temple Mount again took place at a critical time in the history of the people and State of Israel. Israel is again surrounded and attacked by cruel enemies and terrorists. They are not ready to accept this or any other Word of G-d. Their goal is to destroy Israel and to prevent G-d from redeeming the people and land of Israel and redeeming all mankind. More than this, Israel is surrounded by most of the nations of the world who again show their hatred toward the people of G-d. The UN constantly joins with the enemies of Israel and never ceases to express its anti-Israeli policy in repeated resolutions against Israel, Jerusalem and even the land of Israel. The people of Israel and, I am sure G-d Himself, ask what brings all of them to this inexplicable behaviour. In His Word, G-d said to all the nations especially in these exciting end-times, love Me through my people, Israel, but they decided to revolt against G-d and His Word through their hatred and persecution of His people despite that they saw for themselves the appearance G-d through and with His people, Israel, at this exciting time of redemption. Israel is again in danger of military attacks the purpose of which is to again take Jerusalem and the land from the G-d and people of Israel and to establish a foreign anti-godly so-called "Palestinian" state in the holy land of G-d and Israel. We have no doubts that this will never succeed. G-d will not allow it and as He removed from the land and from history all the many powers and nations which occupied the land since 70CE He will soon remove all of them, together with their allies all over the world, from the land and the history of the end-times.

When we marched on Jerusalem Day we were sure of this fact, We said that we could see the appearance of G-d in the streets of Jerusalem and how all the enemies are becoming so small in comparison to His miracles in Israel and Jerusalem. But we felt that it is our duty to strengthen the people of Israel, to call them to trust only in the G-d of Israel and to know that their duty and privilege today is to immediately remove the presence of the enemies of the G-d and people of Israel from the holy hill and the Temple Mount, to purify it and to build the Third Temple of G-d. We know that this is the major end-time event which will bring the G-d of Israel and His Word into the midst of His people and all the world. Our word on this day through our march was that the sooner the people of Israel will make it, the sooner a real peace will come to Israel and all the world. On this day we carried with us the end-time call and word of G-d to Israel and the ears of all the nations - "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall decide for many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." (Isaiah2:1-5) However, when we came to the Jaffa Gate Plaza we felt it our duty to warn all the nations, including the President of the United States, not to continue in their false "vision" to establish a foreign "Palestinian" state in the land of Israel which has never existed here before and will never exist here in the future. Before the gates of Biblical Jerusalem my friends and I sent a clear message to all of them that Jerusalem and all the land of Israel was given by the G-d of Israel and the Universe was given only to Israel and to no other nation in the world especially not to the terrorists of Arafat and the Arab enemies of Israel. This land was given by G-d in an eternal covenant only to Abraham and his seed for a godly purpose which is now coming to pass in modern Israel. I promised to send the holy Bible of G-d to all of them and advised them to carefully read the Word of G-d and then to understand that G-d made the covenant with Israel and not with "Palestine" or anyone else. I called on the President of the United States as a Christian believer to be faithful to the Word of G-d in this holy book and to immediately leave his anti-godly "vision" which is a terrible revolt against G-d.

It was no accident that three days later the central committee of the Likud, the governing party in Israel, took an historical decision that a "Palestinian" state will never be established in the land of Israel. This voice which started to spread form the gate of Jerusalem will not be silenced until this evil anti-godly "vision" will fail and it is soon to fail because this is the Word of G-d .

Before the beautiful Jaffa Gate, the Tower of David and the historical palace of King Herod, we restated another vision which is godly, real and prophetic and which become a reality in the godly war of 1967 when Jerusalem was reunited and which will soon come to completion. "A Song of Ascents of David. I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand inside your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city which is bound firmly together; There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For thrones of judgment were set there, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you shall prosper. Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces. For my brothers and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within you. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good." (Psalm122)

When we marched from Jaffa Gate to the Temple Mount we could see thousands of children, youth and old people marching and dancing on their way to the Temple Mount. What is a regular sight all over the world is here a miracle and fulfilment of prophecy. It was so exciting to see for ourselves the prophecy of Zechariah from more than 2600 years ago becoming not merely written words in a book but a reality in the streets of Jerusalem - "Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for the fullness of days. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in my eyes? says the Lord of hosts." (Zechariah8:4-6)

Despite the fact that when we arrived at the Temple Mount the gates of the Temple Mount were closed to us and anyone else, it was the climax of the march and a most exciting moment. All the way from Ammunition Hill we carried the pure souls of the holy soldiers of G-d who gave their lives for the liberation of the hill, the city and the land of G-d in the heroic battle of 1967. They are the soldiers of G-d and they died for Him and for the fulfilment of His prophetic end-time vision for Israel and all the world. When we stood in front of the Western Gate of the Temple Mount we could feel them standing as a great army in front of the holy throne of G-d and asking Him that their sacrifice would not be in vain and that soon He will remove His enemies from the Temple Mount and open the gates to His children, Israel, and rebuild His house to be a house of prayer, worship and love for Israel and for all the nations. We could hear G-d answering them as He answered Rachel - "And there is hope for your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like a bull unaccustomed to the yoke; turn me back, and I shall be turned; for you are the Lord my God." (Jeremiah31:16,17)

This was the second time since Pesach that we blew the new silver trumpet that was reconstructed exactly according to the word in the Torah. We blew with it in front of the hill of G-d exactly as G-d commanded us to do on the holidays of Israel. At the same time the Levites amongst the marchers also blew with a shofar. It was an exciting moment when the sound of the trumpet and shofar mingled with the words of the prophet Micah in our prayers - "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for Torah shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide concerning far away strong nations; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it. For let all people walk everyone in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble her who limps, and I will gather her who is driven out, and her whom I have afflicted; And I will make her who limps a remnant; and her who was cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth, and for evermore." (Micah4:1-7) When we blew the trumpet and shofar we advised the enemies of Israel which still exist on the Temple Mount to immediately leave the hill of G-d and stop their desecration of the Temple Mount of G-d before G-d will remove them in the Day of Judgement which is soon to come. The voice of G-d in His Word could be heard through the trumpet and the shofar and our prayers - "Blow the shofar in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord comes, for it is near at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness. Like twilight spread upon the mountains; a great and mighty people; there has never been the like, nor shall be any more after them, through the years of many generations. ... At their presence the people are in anguish; all faces are covered with blackness. ... And the Lord utters his voice before his army; for his camp is very large; for he who executes his word is strong; for the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; and who can abide it? ... Blow the shofar in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go out of his room, and the bride out of her chamber. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the vestibule and the altar, and let them say, Spare your people, O Lord, and give not your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then the Lord was zealous for his land, and pitied his people. And the Lord answered and said to his people, Behold, I will send you grain, and wine, and oil, and you shall be satisfied with that; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations; But I will remove far off from you the northerner, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the eastern sea, and his rear toward the western sea, and his stench and foul smell shall rise, though he has done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice; for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, you beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness shall spring, for the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given you the first rain in due measure, and he has brought down for you the rain in the first month, the former rain, and the latter rain. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the hopping locust, and the destroying locust, and the cutting locust, my great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be ashamed. And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the remnant those whom the Lord shall call. For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will enter into judgment with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and have divided my land. ... And the Lord roars out of Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shake; but the Lord will be a refuge for his people, and a fortress for the people of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain; then shall Jerusalem be holy, and no strangers shall pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass on that day, that the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streams of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall issue from the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence done against the people of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall remain for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For though I have acquitted them, I have not acquitted those who shed their blood. And the Lord dwells in Zion." (Joel2:1,2,6,11,15-27;3:5-4:2;4:16-21)

In G-d we trust

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Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
P.O. Box 18325
Yochanan Horkanos 4
Jerusalem 91182 Israel
gershon@templemountfaithful.org


The Temple Mount Faithful Movement Makes a Pesach Pilgrimage to the Temple Mount and an Omer Offering to the G-d of Israel at a very Critical Time in Israel

On the 4th day of the Festival of Pesach (19th Nisan 5762, Sunday 31st March 2002), The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement together with many other Israelis who joined them made a Pesach pilgrimage to the Temple Mount and an Omer offering to the G-d of Israel. (This is an offering of the first wheat from the fields of Israel.) On Friday 29th March, the Faithful Members cut the offering from the fields of Israel exactly as our forefathers did in the time of the First and Second Temples. This winter was a blessed winter with much rain and the wheat was full, tall and beautiful and we felt the deep renewed linkage of the people of Israel to the land of our forefathers and Biblical reality. The atmosphere was very holy and exciting and we felt the presence of the G-d of Israel amongst us. We felt like the Word of G-d to Moses had become real again. We felt as if we could hear the G-d of Israel coming to Moses: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, When you come to the land which I give to you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you; on the next day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf a male lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the Lord. And the meal offering of it shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord for a sweet savour; and the drink offering of it shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. And you shall eat nor bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears, until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings." (Leviticus23:9-14)

The Pesach events of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement took place at a very critical time of war in the land of Israel. Daily Yasser Arafat and his bands of terrorists continue to murder Jews on the streets of Israel in terror attacks. The most terribly cruel attack took place on the first night of Pesach in Netanya when 27 Jews, both old and young, were murdered while they were participating in the Pesach Seder as well as more than 140 wounded many severely. It reminded us of the black times of the exile in Europe and other places when innocent Jews were attacked and murdered in the middle of a Pesach Seder and their blood covered the matzot as happened in Netanya. It was no accident that they chose this holy event to fulfil their desire to shed innocent Jewish blood. They wanted not only to destroy the physical body of Israel but also the spiritual godly existence and base of Israel. This was not the only attack during Pesach. On Sunday, the same day as the march, a suicide bomber murdered 15 Israelis in a restaurant in Haifa including 2 families in which the fathers and children were murdered together. In the month of March alone almost 140 innocent Israelis were murdered by Arafat's murderers. Since the start of the current spate of terrorist attacks almost 450 Israelis have been murdered. It was terrible to see the inhuman dancing of thousands of Arabs dancing in the streets of Judea and Samaria after each murder. The feelings of this inhuman enemy was that they were very close to destroying Israel. On Monday 1st April the Israeli Government decided that these terrible terrorist murders could no longer continue. The Israeli Army started an offensive against the Arab terror bases in Judea and Samaria and mainly against the headquarters of the arch-terrorist and murderer, Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah. (This is the Biblical city which was called the Hill of G-d and whose name was changed to Ramallah when the Arabs occupied the land of Israel in the 7th Century.) Ramallah was occupied and Arafat was confined to 2 rooms of his headquarters. The Israelis called on the government to bring Arafat to prison in Jerusalem and to a court to face charges as a war criminals as he has been responsible for the killing thousands of Jews and Israelis since he started his terrorist activities in the 1960's. However under the pressure of European Union, the American administration and the United Nations the Israeli Government decided to leave him as a prisoner in his headquarters in Ramallah. More details about these events will follow in a later article. As we write this report, the Israeli army is still in the middle of the offensive all over Judea and Samaria destroying the terrorist bases, the terrorists themselves and their leadership.

It is no accident that the most cruel terrorist attack and the Israeli offensive took place during the Pesach holiday. The feeling is that history is repeating itself under the hand of the G-d of Israel. More than 3300 years ago Pharaoh and the Egyptian persecuted the Children of Israel and murdered many of them especially every male Israelite child who was born who was thrown into the Nile. The G-d of Israel could no longer see His children persecuted so terribly and He punished Pharaoh and the Egyptian with the ten plagues and redeemed His people from this terrible situation and slavery and took them back to the holy land. Since those days the Pesach festival is called the holiday of freedom and redemption. The same happened in these days when the cruel enemies of Israel and the terrorists of the murderer, Arafat (who was born in Egypt), wanted not only to take away the freedom of Israel and its people but also to destroy the people and State of Israel as Pharaoh wanted to do. As in Egypt, the G-d of Israel together with His Israeli soldiers started the battle against Arafat, the pharaoh of our time, and his bands of murderers. This battle is not yet finished but the Israeli army, together with the presence of the G-d of Israel, has had major victories and again the Biblical areas in Judea and Samaria have met the children of Israel and the "Palestinian" Authority is actually destroyed. This is a battle for freedom from terror and evil and the redemption of the promised land of G-d in Judea and Samaria. So far 13 Israeli soldiers have given their lives for the G-d of Israel and His children in this offensive. These holy soldiers, together with the many thousands who have given their lives for the G-d, land and people of Israel since Abraham, the father of the Israel nation, started to fulfil his covenant with the G-d of Israel in the land which G-d gave them forever, are now together with G-d and praying so close to G-d for their people and land.

As we wrote, this war illustrates the current critical end-time situation in Israel exactly as in the time of the second redemption of Israel under Ezra and Nehemiah when one hand held the sword to fight against the enemies who came to destroy the redemption of Israel while the other hand held the building instruments. They fought against their enemies while continuing to rebuild the land and Jerusalem. So in our time on one hand Israeli continues to build the godly building of the redemption of the people and land of Israel and prepares for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of G-d, and the coming of Mashiach ben David while on the other hand she holds the sword to fight against the enemies who again want to destroy the State of Israel and stop the godly redemption of the people and land of Israel. Like other enemies of Israel in the past they have illusions that they can succeed and reach their goal of the destruction of Israel by terror and war. As with all the enemies of Israel they are already being judged by the G-d of Israel and His brave Israeli soldiers and soon they will disappear from history of the holy land of Israel. Satan has no chance when he tries to fight against the G-d of Israel and His people.

The pilgrimage to the Temple Mount by the Temple Mount Faithful Movement took place in the midst of all these critical events. Despite the fact that the gates of the Temple Mount are still closed and the Israeli Government decided not to open them for the pilgrimage because of the situation, the Temple Mount Faithful decided to march to the Temple Mount, at least to its gates as close as possible to the Holy of Holies, to thank the G-d of Israel for the miracles that He performed for His people and to fulfil His commandments. "Thrice in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you, and enlarge your borders; nor shall any one desire your land, when you shall go up to appear before the Lord your God thrice in the year. You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left to the morning. The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God." (Exodus34:23-26)

The Pesach events started on Wednesday 27th when, together with other groups and Israelis, the Temple Mount Faithful Movement met in front of the office Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, and called on him to immediately open the gates of the Temple Mount to the children of Israel and to allow them to fulfil the commandments of G-d and to make the pilgrimage, reminding him of what G-d had said to our people that no one will desire our land when we shall go up to appear before the Lord our G-d 3 times a year. We wanted to fulfil the Word of G-d that should be fulfilled when Israel again lives in the promised land as a free nation and when the Temple Mount and Jerusalem are again in our hands. So we prepared everything for the Pesach sacrifice and brought with us stones to build the altar on the Temple Mount in the right place, lambs and the priest dressed in his garments. In a long line of cars we started the pilgrimage to the Temple Mount to conduct the Pesach sacrifice. This event finished in front of the closed gates of the Temple Mount even though we could not complete the event in the right way exactly as G-d commanded us inside the Temple Mount. It was an exciting event and we felt the presence of the G-d of Israel and His commandments among the pilgrims. The feeling was that time is short and soon the gates of the Temple Mount will be opened to the children of G-d to fulfil one of G-d's most commandments, the Pesach sacrifice, which symbolises and expresses the redemption of Israel and their becoming the people of G-d which is renewed yearly and especially at this critical time. Nothing can stop the march of the G-d and people of Israel back to the most holy hill of G-d and to the rebuilt house of G-d.

The other Pesach event of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement was held on Sunday 31st when we marched and made the pilgrimage together with the Omer to the Temple Mount. Again we did this despite the fact that the gates of the Temple Mount were still closed. We wanted to fulfil the commandments of G-d relating to Pesach and to show the enemies of G-d that the spirit of Israel is strong and that we came to our most holy place to redeem it and to pray to the G-d of Israel to redeem His holy mountain, to rebuild his house, and to save His people Israel from all their enemies. It was really Biblical site to se the Faithful carrying the Omer to the western gate of the Temple Mount and praying the Pesach prayers. We prayed the Hallel chapters of Psalms (Psalms 113-118) together with the Israeli soldiers who were at the western gate of the Temple Mount. The Hallel starts off with the following exciting Psalms:

Psalm113: Hallelujah! Praise, O you servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. From sunrise to sunset the Lord's name is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, Who looks far down to behold the things that are on heaven, and on the earth! He raises up the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, That he may set him with nobles, with the nobles of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, and makes her a joyful mother of children. Hallelujah!

Psalm114: When Israel went from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled; the Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the hills like lambs. What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you are driven back? O mountains, that you skip like rams? And you O hills, like lambs? Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

After these prayers we held up the Omer and dedicated it to the G-d of Israel exactly as our forefathers did in the temple. Later we swore faithfulness to the G-d of Israel, His holy mountain, Jerusalem and the land of Israel and to the Word of G-d and to the mission that He gave us. In the name of all the Faithful Movement and the people of Israel Gershon stated that the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, the heart of the Israeli nation will never fall again. Then, for the first time since the destruction of the temple in 70CE, a priest blew on a silver trumpet that the Movement has reconstructed for the Third Temple according to the Biblical law. This is what our forefathers did in the temple on the holy days and on Rosh Hodesh. It was an exciting moment when the godly sound which came from the trumpet was heard so close to the Holy of Holies and when the following Word of G-d was prayed by the priest. "Make two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them; that you may use them for calling the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble to you at the door of the Tent of Meeting. ... And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations. And if you go to war in your land against an enemy who oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God; I am the Lord your God." (Numbers10:2,3,8-10)

During all this time, the model of the temple which stood in front of the western gate was surrounded by the Faithful and many others who had been praying at the Western Wall and who were attracted by the large model. They were so excited to see a model of the temple for the first time so close to the location of the historical temple. All of them, together with the Faithful, prayed from the bottom of their hearts with great excitement for the rebuilding of the temple. "Let it be acceptable before thee, O Lord, our God, and the God of our fathers, that the holy temple may be speedily rebuilt in our days; and let our portion be in thy Law. And there we will serve thee in reverence, as in ancient days, and in former years. And may the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in ancient days, and in former years." The feeling and exciting atmosphere really confirmed that this is soon to happen.

One of the most exciting moments of the event was the renewal of the eternal covenant between the G-d and people of Israel and the promised land. It had such a deep significance, especially in the times in which we are now living.

When we sang the following exciting Psalm, all the pilgrims and the crowd started to dance around the model with great excitement. The danced for a long time. "A Song of Ascents. When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like men who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Bring back our captivity, O Lord, like the streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come back with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." (Psalm 126)

From the western gate of the Temple Mount, the crowd marched around the gates of the Temple Mount exactly as our forefathers did after completing the pilgrimage and worship in the temple on the holy days when the temple existed. In front of each of the gates we prayed and sang from the Psalms and from the comforting prophecies of Isaiah and blew with the silver trumpets. It was heard in almost all of the Old City and brought joy to the hearts of the Israelis at this critical time of redemption when it is so needed. The blowing of a shofar during the priestly blessing by hundreds of priests at the Western Wall was followed with the prayer that the walls of hatred against the G-d and people of Israel will fall exactly as the walls of Jericho fell with the blowing of the shofars of Joshua ben Nun. The pilgrims demanded that the Israeli Government immediately open the gates of the Temple Mount with no fear of the enemies of Israel and the great powers all over the world but to trust in the Almighty G-d of Israel alone. We called on the government to immediately open the eastern (Golden) gate of the Temple Mount and to open the way for the coming of Mashiach ben David. We called on them to purify the Temple Mount from the pagan presence and worship, to immediately rebuild the temple and to fly the flag of the G-d and people of Israel over it. We swore that we shall never again leave this most holy place of Israel and all the world.

This historic and exciting event ended with the singing of the national anthem of Israel, Ha Tikva. "As long as a Jewish heart beats and as long as Jewish eyes look Eastward, Then our two-thousand year hope to be a free nation in Zion and Jerusalem is not lost." We swore that the eyes and hearts of the Jewish People will always be directed eastward to the Temple Mount where the G-d of Israel and the Universe dwells.

It is so special and exciting that members and dear friends of the Movement from the United States, Norway and Italy joined us and took an important part in the pilgrimage and march. Everyone showered them with love and appreciation. The feeling was that the end-time Word of G-d in Isaiah and Micah has started to be fulfilled as a preparation and first step for these prophecies. "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for Torah shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide concerning far away strong nations; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it. For let all people walk everyone in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever." (Micah4:1-5 cf Isaiah2:1-5)

This historical event which took place at a very critical and exciting time in the history of Israel and all mankind was a major step in the campaign of The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement for the rebuilding of the temple and for the fulfilment of G-d's prophetic end-time plans and for again making the Israeli nation a Biblical nation with a Biblical mission for their seed and for all mankind. It was an important step for our prophetic goal to bring back the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to His rebuilt house on the Temple Mount on the same location as the First and Second Temples. As we knew throughout the march and still know, the fulfilment of this major goal in the life of Israel and all mankind will bring the godly end-time revolution and plant His Word, morals and principles in the midst of the life of Israel and all mankind. The godly atmosphere during this historical pilgrimage and march shared with us the Word of G-d that everything is soon to come about.

In G-d and His Word we trust!

8 April 2002

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement
P.O. Box 18325
Yochanan Horkanos 4
Jerusalem 91182 Israel
gershon@templemountfaithful.org
http://www.templemountfaithful.org


The Mikvah of the High-Priest Discovered Under the Tunnel Dug by King Hezekiah to Bring the Water from the Gihon Spring

Recently taken photographs in Hezekiah's tunnel in the City of David in Jerusalem prove that under the steps leading to the tunnel through which the water from the Gihon Spring runs to the City of David there are more underground spaces which were not previously known. The researchers believe that these spaces were used as a Mikvah for the special purification of the High priest in the Second Temple era.

Hezekiah's tunnel was dug around 2,700 years ago. This monumental project, undertaken by one of the most righteous kings of Israel, diverted the water from the Gihon Spring, which is outside the walls of the walls of the Biblical city, to the Pool of Siloam, which is inside the City of David, so that in times when the enemy besieged Jerusalem water would be available. The Tanach records this exciting Biblical event (2 Chronicles 32:30; 2 Kings 20:20). Two groups were involved in the digging. One started from inside the city and the other from outside the city. Thanks to G-d's miracle they met at exactly the same point. The tunnel was re-discovered during the Ottoman occupation of Israel. The Turks also found the stone that King Hezekiah placed at the entrance of the tunnel on which the story and miracle of the digging was recorded. This stone was taken to Turkey and is today in the Turkish Museum in Istanbul. The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is attempting to have this stone returned to Israel and, if needed, will take all legal means needed to see that this occurs.

Until today it had been thought that the water had streamed directly from the spring to the tunnel and then to the pool from where the water was drawn. These new photographs reveal that the water actually followed a long path from the spring to the tunnel. Inside, these underground spaces were used as a Mikvah for the High Priest whose purification needed to be perfect and in a separate place.

David Be'eri, leader of the Jewish citizens of the City of David, shared that a diver went into the spaces with an underwater camera and that research will continue to find the total route that the water took from the Gihon Spring to the tunnel.

This is another exciting archaeological discovery around the Temple Mount which has a deep significance for the efforts and campaign for the Temple Mount and the rebuilding of the Temple and the renewal of worship in the house of G-d by the priests and all the children of Israel. At the same time, it is another godly sign of the exciting time of redemption in which we are now living and a prophetic message from G-d Who very carefully brings His people, Israel, back step-by-step to His house, His city and to the land which He gave to Israel in an eternal covenant. In a very exciting way G-d proves to His people, Israel, and all the world that He is determined to fulfil His prophetic end-time promises to Israel to rebuild His house and his kingdom in Israel in this generation. Almost every day another exciting biblical root of Israel and her relationship to G-d is discovered. These roots are the godly roots of the end-time godly tree of the State and land of Israel, the fruits of which are going to bless all mankind exactly as He promised in His prophetic end-time Word. We are so privileged and blessed to live at this godly time and to be a part of it in such a practical way and to see all these exciting and prophetic event with our own eyes. We are so thankful to G-d that He gave us the privilege to be born, live, and act at this great godly time. Every day our eyes are open to see the next godly prophetic event. The biggest of these, the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of Mashiach ben David, is soon to come. Nobody can stop the G-d of Israel - the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - from His march back to His house on Mt. Moriah, back to His city Jerusalem, back to His land and back to His people, Israel. We are so blessed to see the end-time fulfilment of G-d's covenant with Israel.

In G-d we trust. http://www.templemountfaithful.org/News/20020212.htm. February 12, 2002.


WAKF STILL AGAINST ENTRY OF NON-MUSLIMS TO TEMPLE MOUNT

The Islamic Trust is adamantly opposed to the reentry of non-Muslims to the Temple Mount for the time being, Wakf director Adnan Husseini said on February 4.

The government is expected to take up a recommendation by the Shin Bet, the country's internal security agency, to reopen to the Temple Mount to Jews and Christians in the coming weeks.

"Such a decision is against the decision of the Wakf, and should be taken with the Wakf's Higher Supreme Council," Husseini said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post.

He said no negotiations for such a scenario are underway with police, and cautioned against unspecified consequences if the move goes ahead without advance agreement with the Islamic trust.

"If they want to use their power to impose what should be done, they can expect a reaction," Husseini said. "They know more than me what kind of reaction to expect, they have past experience." Violence has broken out at the bitterly contested site in the past.

Fearing a renewal of violence, police have barred non-Muslims from entering the Temple Mount since Ariel Sharon visited the site in September 2000 when he was opposition leader.

Over the last several months, the Shin Bet has repeatedly recommended that non-Muslims be permitted access to the Temple Mount. It is concerned that right-wing extremists may take matters into their own hands, and considers the length of time the site has been closed off to non-Muslims to be a dangerous precedent.

A spokesman for Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau, who is currently in the United States but who has been one of the foremost advocates of the reentry of non-Muslims to the site, said on February 4 that government ministers are inclined to favor a return to the status quo that existed before September 2000, when the site was open to everyone.

He said the issue "keeps getting bumped off the government's agenda" due to more pressing matters, such as terrorist attacks and alerts. He said it would likely be taken up in the coming weeks.

The police have repeatedly said that only when the Wakf starts to feel the financial cost - they charge a hefty admission fee for tourists visiting the mosques at the site - will it soften its position.

Husseini suggested just that yesterday. "Right now there are no tourists in the city," he said. "When the situation is changed for the better - even when we see 30 percent or 40 percent of the amount of tourists that used to come - that will help us think about the situation again," he said.

According to Hebrew University archeology professor Dr. Eilat Mazar, of the Committee Against Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, every day the site has not been open to archeological inspection has given the Islamic Trust dangerous leverage to continue its "destruction work" of ancient antiquities at the site.

"Closing off the Temple Mount to non-Muslims is in essence giving a green light to the Wakf's attempt to turn the whole structure... into one big Muslim area, which they are attempting to carry out by their continuous destruction of ancient and centuries-old remnants of Jewish and Christian history at the site," she said. (By Etgar Lefkovits, The Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2002)


The Tenth of Tevet

Today, the tenth of Tevet, is a day of fasting and prayer. On this day Jerusalem was surrounded by the forces of Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon. The siege continued for three years and finally led to the breaching of Jerusalem's walls and the destruction of the Holy Temple.

The theme of the Temple's destruction is a prominent and central motif in Jewish life which we are urged not to simply remember, but to live with daily, as expressed by the sages of Israel: "Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit to see her joy."

Today, on this day designated for reflecting on the sanctity of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and most importantly, the Holy Temple itself, this theme has more relevance than ever. But how sensitive are we to their ongoing plight?

"Oh brothers, there is a conspiracy to Judaize Jerusalem." These were Arafat's words to his people in a vitriolic speech delivered last week (and largely ignored by the media). However, in the midst of this "conspiracy," Judaism's only holy site, the Temple Mount, has been closed to Jews for 13 months, ever since Prime Minister Sharon's visit. Atop the Mount, the Moslem Wakf appointed by Arafat continues with its campaign of destruction. This barbaric and criminal piracy has already facilitated the removal of thousands of tons of Temple-era remnants. In the words of the bi-partisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, the purpose of this work is "to destroy all signs of Jewish existence at the site and to turn the whole area into one huge mosque." Although the Committee claims to have detailed evidence of the continuing destruction that it has recently presented to the Prime Minister, Jerusalem police deny that any work is being carried out.!

The committee alleges that the police are also part of a conspiracy Ė a conspiracy of silence. Eager to maintain quiet, they are deliberately withholding information about activities on the Mount.

Prime Minister Sharon could order a halt to this work, just as he could permit Jews to return to the Temple Mount. In the days before September 2000, Jews were allowed to visit the Temple Mount, and many ascended the Mount daily to those places that are permitted by Jewish law, and in accordance with all relevant halachic guidelines. But even in those "good days" such visits were often exercises in futility and degradation, for Jews were never allowed to pray at their only holy site Ė despite the guarantee of this freedom by the Supreme Court Ė out of the police's fear of Moslem sensitivities. According to the policy of the Moslem Wakf authorities that administer over the Mount, only Moslem prayer is allowed. So much for "the Judaization of Jerusalem."

During all the years that Jewish prayer has been forbidden on the Temple Mount, no objection or comment was ever raised by the world community. This begs comparison with the uproar that has ensued today over Sharon's decision to prevent Arafat from attending Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem. Sharon said he would be glad to let Arafat travel if the latter would simply arrest the killers of assassinated Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, which he refuses to do.

Various foreign governments and embassies have voiced their displeasure. The Pope (who has met with Arafat eleven times) called Israel's decision "arbitrarily imposed," and the French, for example, have called it "a violation of freedom of worshipÖespecially when it appears that Arafat is beginning to crack down against the violence." Jewish freedom of worship, like other things Jewish, appears to be inconsequential. And of course, Arafat is "cracking down against the violence" even though Vitali Binos, 47, was shot yesterday by members of Arafat's Fatah Tanzim, and just this morning Arafat's forces opened fire on an IDF patrol south of Hebron.

In his televised address, with a large photograph of the Temple Mount in the background, Arafat said "the whole world that has seen what happenedÖhas to know what kind of terror the worshippers in this holy land are facing." Which worshippers?

Was it important for Christians, or for the Palestinian's national pride, that Arafat attend services in Bethlehem? Opposition leader Yossi Sarid, among others, has been critical of Sharon's decision to prevent Arafat from attending Mass in Bethlehem, stating that "Arafat the Muslim has become the Christians' hero." Hopefully Sarid, who has proven himself to be somewhat lacking in his knowledge of Judaism, is no more fit to be a spokesman for the Christian community either. Anyone who sees Arafat as a hero must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Today in Jerusalem, a special symposium will be held to discuss the situation of the Temple Mount. At the conclusion of the fast, a large number of people are expected to attend the march around the gates of the Mount. These initiatives, long overdue, are praiseworthy; but they are only "remembrances." Even visiting the Temple Mount in the "good days" was nothing but a remembrance, without the possibility of prayer. With the continued closure of the Mount, we are left with nothing but "remembrances of remembrancesÖ"

The Torah calls the Tenth of Tevet "the fast of the tenth." In the book of Zechariah we read:

"Thus says the L-rd of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall become times of joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts to the house of Judah." (8:19)

If we really anticipate this to happen, if we really desire to see this, we must shake off our complacency. If we remain satisfied with mere remembrances, in place of the real thing, then that is all we deserve. The Talmud states, "When you pray, stand facing Jerusalem. If you are already in Jerusalem, you should direct your heart towards the Holy Temple." Even while standing in Jerusalem, one can lose their way. The surest way to direct the heart to the Temple is to be standing on the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Chaim Richman
THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel
www.templeinstitute.org
December 25, 2001


CRACKS APPEAR ON TEMPLE MOUNT

A small protrusion forming ominously in the 2000-year-old Southern Wall of the Temple Mount and spreading cracks in the fabric of the Al Aqsa Mosque are the result of an extensive Islamic construction project opposed but not stopped by the Israeli government.

The alarming damage to the ancient sites developed from five years of unsupervised Islamic construction work aimed at turning "Solomon's Stables" and the adjoining chambers under Al Aqsa into the biggest mosque in the Middle East. Carried out by the Islamic religious authority, called the Waqf, and the Israeli Islamic Movement under its leader, Sheik Raed Salah, the project appears to have been overly ambitious, and now proves to have been marred by serious engineering mistakes. No Israeli or international engineers, historians or scholars were allowed to inspect the work on a site as required by Israel municipal regulations and national laws governing the protection of historical and religious monuments.

Successive Israeli governments, fearing an international Islamic backlash, allowed the underground excavations and construction to go forward, unchecked and unsupervised. Every demand by the Israeli authorities and international archeologists to access the project was met with angry refusals.

Al Aqsa, which like the rest of Jerusalem, is located in the earthquake-prone African Rift Valley region, has been destroyed by earthquake seven times since it was built by the city's first Muslim conquerors in the seventh century. The new construction has weakened the structure, so that a tremor could well compound the damage.

The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem and Sheikh Salah simply echoed Arafat's assertion that the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall, is a Muslim site and no Jewish temples ever existed. (BPN) (News Report Archives: http://www.harpazo.net/forzion)


THIRD TEMPLE CORNERSTONES TO BE LAID IN JERUSALEM

Preparations to lay the cornerstones of a new Jewish Temple close to the site of the Muslim Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem threaten to trigger renewed violence between Jews and Palestinians. The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement plan to bring two 4.5-ton marble cornerstones in a ceremonial procession to the foot of the Temple Mount on Thursday, October 4th, with the approval of the Israeli government and the protection of the Israel security forces. Comparing the event to Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount a year ago, an action that sparked the current intifada, the Muslim Public Affairs Council called for the United Nations intervention and condemned the ceremony as a grave provocation which will aggravate an already explosive situation.

During the proposed ceremony, the Temple Mount Movement's architect will present plans for construction of the Third Temple, together with a golden altar of incense and sacred vessels specially prepared for use in the new Temple. Priests dressed in the original biblical garments with Levites playing musical instruments will lead a procession of pilgrims and marchers to the Temple Mount, followed by a ritual anointing of the two cornerstones.

The Temple Mount is the focus of the conflicting interests of the world's three major religions. It is the site where two previous Jewish Temples once stood; the first Temple of Solomon was destroyed at the time of the Babylonian Exile, while the second Temple of Herod was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman Empire. The golden domed Muslim Mosque Dome of the Rock now occupies the site of the former Temples, claiming the site for Islam. According to ancient Bible prophecy, it is also the site where a future Third Jewish Temple is to be constructed. Some Israelis believe that the temple could be built alongside the Muslim shrine, but others expect the Dome of the Rock to be destroyed.. According to the Bible, the building of the Third Temple and the reinstituting of animal sacrifice is a prelude to the appearance of a global dictator, often called the Antichrist. Fears of violent Palestinian retaliation have caused Israeli officials to stop the Temple Mount Faithful in several previous attempts to lay a cornerstone of the Third Temple. When the group had permission to display the stone in July, Israeli security forces in riot gear stormed the Temple Mount compound throwing stun grenades after several thousand Palestinians rallied on the Temple Mount to throw stones down on Jews who were praying at the Western Wall below.

Islamic Wakf officials doing unsupervised construction work on the southern wall of the Temple Mount were evicted by the police earlier this week due to warnings that the excavations were causing sections of the Southern Wall to collapse. Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Avigdor Lieberman accused the Islamic Movement and Arab Knesset Members of ongoing incitement, and claimed that the Palestinians are attempting to destroy all evidence of the prior existence of the Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount. In July, a bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress that would halt all monetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority until excavation of the Temple Mount is stopped. The Iranian state news agency also alleged this week that Israel is digging two tunnels under the Temple Mount in an attempt to destroy the Al-Aksa Mosque.

The Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has vowed to make Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state, and never to relinquish control of the Temple Mount. The intention by the Temple Mount Faithful to lay the cornerstones close to the Temple Mount is seen as signal of the impending destruction of the two Islamic Mosques. Arafat has warned that any Jewish challenge to Islamic domination of the contested Holy site would unite the entire Moslem world against Israel in a Battle for Jerusalem that could be the flashpoint for a catastrophic World War.

Submitted by Keziah
http://www.globalism.com.au


19 Elul 5761 22:17 Thursday September 6, 2001

(15:10) Wakf workers evicted from Temple Mount

By Etgar Lefkovits

Islamic Wakf officials who were doing unsupervised construction work on the southern wall of the Temple Mount earlier this week were evicted by the police, security officials and archaeologists said yesterday.

The unprecedented work on an exterior wall of the Temple Mount that the Islamic trust started to carry out on Monday, came in the wake of reports that sections of the Southern wall were in danger of collapse likely due to past Wakf work on the Solomon's Stables located just above.

A guard from the nearby archaeological park alerted police, who ordered the construction immediately stopped.

Jerusalem police spokesman, Shmuel Ben-Ruby, confirmed yesterday that police did not allow the Wakf officials to carry out the work "since they did not coordinate their moves with police."

Earlier today the Iranian state news agency alleged that Israel is digging tunnels under the Temple Mount in a bid to destroy the Aksa Mosque.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/09/06/LatestNews/LatestNews.34273.ht ml


19 Elul 5761 22:20Thursday September 6, 2001

(08:35) Iran claims Israel destroying Al-Aksa Mosque

Israel is constructing two tunnels in a bid to cause Jerusalem's Al-Aksa Mosque to collapse, the Iranian state news agency claimed this morning.

The agency's Gaza office filed the following dispatch:

Esam Awad, sitting engineer of the al-Aqsa Mosque building committee, has recently discovered that the Israeli authorities have been constructing two new tunnels under the Marwani Mosque in the Al-Aqsa compound.

The disclosure came at a time when the Palestinian Higher Islamic Commission, the Endowments Department, and the Constitutional Council have cautioned Muslims against the Israeli plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Southern Wall.

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, chairman of the commission and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, said in statement that the Israeli government and information media had created a big hue and cry to justify the Jewish state's interference in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He emphasized that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a sacred place "only for the Muslims, around the globe".

The committee for the building of Al-Aqsa started maintenance work on the Southern Wall about four months ago, Sabri said. "However", he pointed out that "the Israeli authorities were hampering the work, by preventing supply of building materials to the mosque's compound."

Sheikh Ikrima rejected the Israeli claims that it was the maintenance work that created a crack on the Southern Wall. The Islamic Endowments Department carries out the renovation work to protect the Al-Aqsa and not to cause any damage to the Southern Wall.

He also disclosed that the crack was created about 500 years ago when a powerful earthquake hit Jerusalem city.

"We Muslims will do the needful for the maintenance and renovation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its facilities as they belong to us only," the engineer emphasized.

"The Haram of Al-Aqsa", he pointed out, "covers an area of 133 donums (about 119,700 square meters), including the outer walls, the Burak Wall, the Marwani Mosque, the Dome of the Rock Mosque and the old Al-Aqsa.

There will be no surrender or bargain or negotiation even on the smallest portion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or Jerusalem and Palestine, he asserted.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/09/06/LatestNews/LatestNews.34232.ht ml


+++JORDAN TIMES 3-4 Aug.'01:"Sheikh of Al Azhar says no Jewish temple to be found under Al Aqsa Mosque"

EXCERPTS: CAIRO (AFP) - The top cleric of Al Azhar, the most influential body in Sunni Islam, has said claims that the remains of a Jewish temple lie beneath Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem were "false," the state MENA news agency said.

Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi told a group of university students ... that "the temple of our Lord Solomon is not to be found underneath Al Aqsa Mosque as the Jews claim," ... . {"IMRA: "Lord" Solomon?} . . . Sheikh Tantawi did not give any explanation for his assertions.

Jews regard the site as their holiest place, believing the remains of the first and second Jewish temples lie beneath Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which is the third holiest place in Islam. . . . According to the Bible, the first Jewish temple was built by King Solomon.

The second temple was a reconstruction around 2,000 years ago by King Herod. It was demolished by the Romans in 70 AD, and Israelis claim the only remnant is the western wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.

{IMRA: The Hebrew name has always been the "Western Wall". Jews do not claim Solomon's Temple is under the Mosque. Rather, it is regarded as being in the area of The Dome of the Rock. The Jews had been in exile for 70 years when they returned to Jerusalem to repair Solomon's Temple. Over time, this was the location of Herod's Temple. Saladin, after defeating the Crusaders, ordered the area in front of the Western Wall ,which had been used as a dump, to be cleared so that Jews could have access.} Sat, 4 Aug 2001, From: imra@netvision.net.il


An Old Man With His Stone
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center

I can cry out aloud when I see the utter unrighteousness of the fanatical claims of Muslims inside and outside of Israel in relation to the holiest place of Judaism, the Mountain of the Lord, denying any historical link of this so important place with the Jewish people, claiming it as their only exclusive place of worship.

I can cry when I see the utter blindness of many of the Israelis concerning the overall importance of this site to the destiny of this city and their nation! One day, as the prophets foresaw already centuries ago, this mountain will become the focus point of all that is beautiful, righteous and peaceful. The final end and destiny of Zionism in its deepest sense.

"It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised up above the hills and peoples shall flow to it and many nations shall come and say, őCome let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the G-d of Jacob that He may teach us His ways and we may walk in His paths.‚ For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem∑ and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:1-3)

Then to see an old silver-gray-haired man in his deep love for this mountain‚s destiny, written about by nearly all of Israel‚s prophets, yearly bringing őhis‚ cornerstone as a child towards this temple mount in the hope that one day, at least also Jews, will again be able to worship on this hill of God. Maligned as an extremist makes me cry even more.

Is this elderly man the fanatic? Is he the danger for just wanting to visit his holy mount as Ariel Sharon did just before he became Israel‚s Prime Minister?

Is this to be decried as being provocative but not the building of four mosques on this site by Muslims who are using these mosques not really to worship the G-d of Israel, but to keep His people away from the place He has eternally set as His ordained and special meeting place with Israel?

Even Israeli rabbi‚s join the choir of critics rather than blush in shame that there is only one Gershon Salomon who still has the fire of G-d in his heart who wants to see happen what the Jewish people pray for three times daily: that G-d would restore his schechina presence to His city by allowing His people to build for Him, the third time, a house for His glory.

Who are the fanatics or extremists? Is it this old man, or is it those who for years have denied the Jews to come up to their own holy mountain? Can they not at least make room for them to have one place of prayer while they, the Muslims, have already, in fiendish disregard, built four mosques on this mountain large enough for all cathedrals in Britain to stand side by side! 

Who are the fanatics or extremists? Gershon Salomon and his few Temple Mount Faithfuls? Are they the danger? Do they throw stones at the Muslims? No! They only bring a stone with great love, hope and expectancy because they believe G-d has brought His people back for their benefit, to live in His House among them, and to make them and His House a light and blessing for all the world.

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN ZIONIST CENTER
P.O. Box 49063
91490 Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Telephone: +972 (0)2 540 0133
Fax: +972 (0)2 581 9701
Email Address: iczc@iczc.org.il


News Clippings and Developments on Tisha B'Av


The Voice of the Temple Mount Faithful
Summer 5761/2001

A WORD FROM GERSHON SALOMON
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-1.htm

THE BEGINNING OF THE END-TIME GOG AND MAGOG WAR AGAINST
ISRAEL AND AGAINST JERUSALEM
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-2.htm

FURTHER ANTI-GODLY UN RESOLUTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL AND
JERUSALEM
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-3.htm

BARAK TO BUSHTRANSFER OF ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY ON THE
TEMPLE MOUNT TO THE SO-CALLED "PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY" IS A
BETRAYAL
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-4.htm

AN UPHEAVAL IN THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENTARIEL SHARON
ELECTED AS PRIME MINISTER
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-5.htm

BUSH GOVERNMENT RETREATS - THE AMERICAN EMBASSY WILL
NOT BE MOVED TO JERUSALEM
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-6.htm

THE ARABS CONTINUE TO DESTROY THE REMAINS ON THE TEMPLE
MOUNT
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-7.htm

The Tabernacle (Mishkan): A Temporary Temple for Israel
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-8.htm

The Breastplate and Ephod of the High Priest " An Important Part of
Worship in the Temple
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-9.htm

First Temple Period Archeological Discoveries South of the Temple Mount
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-10.htm

The Riddle of the Dome of the Rock: Was it Built as a Jewish Place of
Prayer?
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-11.htm

End-Time Event in Israel: Lost Marrano Jews, Alan & Isabel Bouquette,
Return to Israel
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-12.htm

Israel in a Godly Revolution Around the Temple Mount: 500,000 Israelis
Swear Faithfulness to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-13.htm

Memorial Day for 20,906 Soldiers Who Have Fallen in the Arab Wars Against
Israel
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-14.htm

Past Events of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-15.htm

The Spiritual Center in the Old City Has Been Found An Especially Urgent
Call for Donations to Buy the Building
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-16.htm

Future Events of The Temple Mount Faithful
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-17.htm


The Riddle of the Dome of the Rock: Was it Built as a Jewish Place of Prayer?

One of the most fascinating questions about the Temple Mount after the Islamic occupation in 638 CE is connected with the Dome of the Rock. Important scientific research conducted by Ya'akov Ofir holds that the Dome of the Rock was built in 691CE for the Jews as their "last house" of prayer by their ally Abd el-Malik, the Umayyad ruler of Damascus, who also controlled the land of Israel in those days. The Jews who built the house believed that their redemption had already come. Ofir's conclusion is that the Dome of the Rock is a Jewish building.

Abd el-Malik was at war with the Abbasid Arab kingdom which controlled Arabia and Iraq. According to Ofir and others, Abd el-Malik was actually a follower of the Jewish faith. He ordered his citizens to pray with their faces towards Jerusalem and ordered them to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem instead of Mecca. One reason for this was that his citizens returned from their pilgrimages to Mecca with pro-Abbasid leanings. The Abbasids called Abd el-Malik an unbeliever and conducted wars against him.

What is so unique is that the Dome of the Rock was never built as a mosque and was never used for this purpose. The character of the building is not that of a typical mosque. No similar building can be found anywhere else in the Islamic world. It was not built facing Mecca but as an octagonal form corresponding to the points of the compass. The main entrance is from the south, not the south-east (the direction of Mecca) as in other mosques. The builders did not build a Michrab (showing the direction of Mecca) in the southern part of the building. Even today, when the Arabs pray on the Temple Mount they do not do it in this building. Only in 1947 did the Mufti Hajamim el Husseini, who made a covenant with Hitler agreeing to kill all the Jews in the land of Israel, decide to build a Michrab. He explained that the Jews were going to rebuild the Temple on the same location of the Dome of the Rock, the site of the First and Second Temples; in this way he believed he would be able to prevent it. However, this act never made the Dome into a mosque and the Moslems continued to pray in the El Aqsa mosque on the southern part of the Temple Mount.

In mentioning the El Aqsa mosque we must point out that the pro-Jewish ruler, Abd el-Malik, never built a mosque on the Temple Mount. Rather, he ordered his subjects to pray in the beautiful underground entrance to the Temple Mount behind the Hulda Gates. The El Aqsa mosque actually began as a church built by Crusaders who occupied Jerusalem in the 11th Century. When the Moslems, under Salah Adin, re-occupied Jerusalem in 1187 they converted it to a mosque. The worshipers faced Mecca with their backs to the Holy of Holies. Such conversion was a common practice of Moslems all over the world.

After the Abbasid kingdom defeated the Umayyad kingdom the memory of the "last house" was completely erased. The historical writings were ignored and the records of Abd el-Malik ų who, according to his faith, gave his hand to the building of the Dome of the Rock as a Jewish house of prayer ų were destroyed. Even the special writing in the Dome of the Rock which told the story of the building of the house was crudely falsified. They removed the name of Caliph Abd el-Malik and replaced it with the name of Abdullah Hamam Al Mamum, the Abbasid ruler. This falsification is proven by the date of the building which belongs in the time of Abd el-Malik, not the time of Al'Mamum who lived many years after this period.

Abd el-Malik was called őThe Righteous‚ by the Jews of the time but an unbeliever (Kaffir) by the Islamic historians. Why? Why did the Moslems replace his name in the writings in the Dome? Ofir offers: The Dome of the Rock is a Jewish building. He explains this with historical evidence but also by the character of the building which he says is of completely Jewish design.

According to his explanation, the dome represents a navel in keeping with the Jewish idea that the rock is the navel of the world. The dome is built on four pillars between which stand twelve pillars representing the tribes of Israel. He states that the birds carved on the windows represent the cherubim. The capitals of the pillars are reminiscent of the top of a palm tree, another Jewish motif. On the walls inside the Dome and also at the southern entrance there are palm, grape and fig designs. These are three of the seven species mentioned in the Torah as being native to the Holy Land. Ofir also speaks of other items that point to its Jewish origins. Details can be found in his book, 8

The Riddle of the Dome of the Rock (in Hebrew). The late Ariel Kotzer, a member of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, wrote the forward to Ofir's book.

Abd el-Malik gave the Jews the right to manage the Temple Mount. He allowed them to light the candles in the Dome of the Rock and in the place where his subjects prayed in the hall of the Hulda Gates. He returned the Temple Mount to the Jews. Interestingly, even the coins which he minted were similar to the Jewish coins of the time of the Hasmoneans. This fact lends strength to Ya'akov Ofir arguments. When the Abbasids defeated the Umayyads they took away those rights from the Jews and prohibited them from entering the Temple Mount.

Another fact which strengthens Ofir's theory is the testimony of Jews who visited the Temple Mount which tells of the existence of a Jewish house of prayer on the Temple Mount in the early times of the Arab occupation of Jerusalem. This is mentioned in A House of Prayer and Midrash for the Jews on the Temple Mount in the Days of the Arabs by ben Tzion Dinur. From the very early testimonies which Dr. Dinur records in his article, we learn that the Jewish house of prayer was built during the early Arab occupation of the Temple Mount and that the Jews were evicted at a later time in Arab history. Rabbi Avraham bar Chia Hanassi states that "the Ishmaelite kings had the good habit of allowing Israel to come to the Temple Mount and to build there a house of prayer and Midrash." Another testimony by the famous Karaite, ben Yerucham, was that "after the Ishmaelites occupied Jerusalem they gave permission to Israel to enter the Temple Mount to live there. They gave them the courtyards of the house of G-d and they prayed there for many years ... Later they were evicted." Another testimony comes from the Armenian, Sibias, who said that "after the Jews had for some time enjoyed help from the Arabs, they decided to rebuild Solomon's Temple. They discovered the site of the Holy of Holies and they built a house of prayer for themselves on the foundation of the Temple using the remains of the Temple." This testimony is very important because it shows very clearly that for the first time after the destruction of the Second Temple, all the Temple Mount was in the hands of the Jews and they used the remains of the Temple to build a house of prayer. This is confirmed today by the fact that remains of the Temple can be seen included in the Dome of the Rock itself. The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that in 1165 he visited Jerusalem and went up on to the Temple Mount and prayed in the great, holy house on the place of the Holy of Holies. All of this evidence is very important as further proof of Ofir's theory.

Whether or not Ofir's theory is correct, there is no doubt that this building does not resemble an Islamic building. The Abbasid kingdom converted the building into an Islamic building and falsified the historical evidence. In 1947, the Nazi Mufti, Haj Amim Al Husseini, declared it to be a mosque.

This building which is located on the exact site of the First and Second Temples can never be a replacement for the Third Temple. This, like the El Aqsa mosque, is a foreign building on the Temple Mount. According to the Tanach (which even the Moslems believe) the Temple Mount should only be the site of one house, the house of the G-d of Israel. As with other foreign buildings which were built on the Temple Mount after the destruction of the Second Temple they are an abomination. G-d will remove them from His holy hill and He will again make it the holy site of His real "last house" ų the Third Temple.

Endowed with a Pure Spirit by the Temple Mount

The holiness of the Temple Mount is an eternal holiness. Even when the Temple did not exist on the mountain, the holiness of the place was not removed. The Sages said that all the abundant good which exists in the world comes via the Temple Mount. They also say that because of the holiness, to stand on the Mount or even to look at it endows one with the property of perfection, the holy spirit and holiness. This is the reason that G- d commanded Abraham to lift his eyes and look to Mt. Moriah. Then He told him to stand on the Temple Mount together with his son, Isaac. In this way he and his son would be endowed with very high spiritual values.

It is so sad that the Temple Mount, the most holy place in the world, has been desecrated by the nations. The Arabs built mosques on the holy hill of G-d and continue to do so with their shrines. The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement is fighting to ensure the Temple Mount will no longer be desecrated and that the Israeli Government will remove the shrines and rebuild the Temple in our lifetime. We know that this will soon come about.

http://www.templemountfaithful.org/Newsletters/2001/5761-11.htm


Cantor Introduces Temple Mount Preservation Act - Legislation would stop American taxpayer sponsorship of the erosion of Judeo-Christian heritage in Jerusalem

Office of Congressman Eric Cantor (VA-07)
For Immediate Release Contact: Jenn Mascott
Thursday, July 19, 2001 (202) 225-2815

WASHINGTON -- This morning, Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) introduced the Temple Mount Preservation Act with bipartisan support. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel, represents thousands of years of our Judeo-Christian heritage and is one of the most sacred sites to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Chairman Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have been excavating and removing ancient religious artifacts from the area under the Temple Mount. Cantor's legislation would cut off all aid to Arafat and the Palestinians until all unauthorized excavations from the Temple Mount come to an end.

Cantor conducted a briefing regarding his legislation and reported on his recent trip to Israel where he witnessed first-hand some of the ongoing destruction of the Temple Mount.

Cantor said, "This issue has implications not only for my constituents in Virginia, but for individuals across the globe." During the briefing, Cantor presented photographs released by the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, a coalition of Israel's leading archaeologists, authors, and public figures, led by Hebrew University Archaeologist, Dr. Eilat Mazar. The photographs demonstrate the excavation of religious artifacts, paving, and unauthorized construction conducted by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.

"Connected with such destruction is extreme religious intolerance - contrary to the Jeffersonian principles of the free exercise of religion held dear by all Americans," said Cantor.

Press Briefing - Introduction of the Temple Mount Preservation Act

Remarks by Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia)

WASHINGTON, July 19- Thank you for coming today and for your interest in this important issue. I also want to thank my colleagues and friends, Congressman Pence and Congressman Weiner, for joining me. I am particularly grateful for your interest in the destruction of the Temple Mount and what I view as one of the most unprecedented attacks on religious heritage of our time.

Connected with such destruction is extreme religious intolerance - contrary to the Jeffersonian principles of the free exercise of religion held dear by all Americans.

This issue has implications not only for my constituents in Virginia, but for individuals across the globe.

Thousands of years of Judeo-Christian heritage is under siege at this most sacred of sites to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The Temple Mount is the site of the Biblical temple built by King Solomon, as well as the temple visited by Jesus as a child and again as an adult.

Today, I have information produced by archeologists that provides hard evidence of the destruction on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

In 1967, Jerusalem was united under Israel's sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been legally responsible for the Temple Mount.

The government has allowed equal access for all religions. Shortly after the 1967 War, the Israeli government delegated authority for the daily oversight of the Temple Mount to the Waqf, a Muslim Foundation, in tacit cooperation with Jordan. Jordan's role as custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified in the Israel-Jordanian peace treaty of 1994.

In the aftermath of the negotiations surrounding the Oslo Accords, Chairman Yasser Arafat took control of the Waqf, bringing about a change in the policy of free access for all religions on the Temple Mount.

He began by replacing the Jordanian-affiliated clergymen and officials and named Mufti Ikrima Sabri the chief Muslim administrator. Sabri, known for his anti-Semitic and anti-American views, has since declared that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount.

More recently, Arafat has denied Jewish and Christian worshipers access to the historic Temple Mount and has restricted media from visiting the site.

Beginning in early 1998, Arafat's Waqf has permitted large-scale bulldozing and destruction of the Temple Mount antiquities. Thousands of tons of fill have been unearthed and simply dumped into the nearby Kidron Valley.

Archeologists have verified these artifacts date from the period of the First Temple [circa 1006 BC (BCE) to 586 BC (BCE)].

Anybody with any reasonable perspective would hold that the Temple Mount should be preserved and any disturbance thereon closely monitored.

But now, there are bulldozers and stone-cutting machines hacking away every day.

I know that in my District, we are known for historical sites, such as Montpelier, the home of former President James Madison. I can tell you that bulldozers come nowhere near the residence, or its estate.

I just returned from Israel two weeks ago. While there, I met with individuals and government officials who verified the media reports of the destruction. The Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount is comprised of former government leaders, archeologists, and academics who are concerned and have banned together to fight the destruction of the religious site. I saw ancient ruins unearthed from the time of the First and Second Temples. I saw construction equipment and materials protruding from the top of the Temple Mount, visible from the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. I met with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, who confirmed the pattern of destruction.

At this time, I'd like to turn to the pictures, which reflect the evidence compiled by these archeologists. The first series of photographs depict the Temple Mount site as it has evolved since the mid-1990s.

Particular attention should be given to the heavily treed landscape early on, and later, the paved plaza replacing the trees. Attention should focus on the southeastern area of the Temple Mount, under which an area called Solomon's Stables was connected with the Second Temple. In this area, Arafat has directed the destruction of what may have been part of the Temple complex.

The Waqf's action destroyed physical remnants of the religious site, including arched entranceways and colonnades believed to have played a role in religious life two thousand years ago.

The pictures depict bulldozers crushing evidence of the religious site and new construction masking any trace of the temple. There have been several press accounts reporting this grand-scale destruction of the Temple Mount, the full text of which are in your packets.

I would like to bring your attention to one in particular. This is from an Op-Ed carried by the National Review in October 2000, in which the author stated, "Moreover, the Waqf has devoted the past 33 years to an extensive campaign of excavation, systematically destroying any evidence of Jewish and Christian presence on the Temple Mount, so that they could argue - as they now do - that it has always been an exclusively Muslim place."

Further evidencing the calculated plan of Arafat's to destroy our Judeo-Christian heritage, we saw in the Boston Globe in March 2001 a quote from Sheik Ikrima Sabri: "The Temple Mount was never there. There is not one bit of proof to establish that. We do not recognize that the Jews have any right to the wall or to one inch of the sanctuary. Jews are greedy to control our mosque. If they every try to, it will be the end of Israel."

The bottom line is, Chairman Arafat's intent is to deny access to the Temple Mount for any individuals other than followers of Islam.

In addition, the evidence produced today clearly shows that Arafat is intent on erasing Judeo-Christian connections to the holy site.

And that is why I am introducing today the Temple Mount Preservation Act that would cut off all aid to Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority until all unauthorized excavations of the Temple Mount are stopped.

Currently, the United States is on track to send $125 million in aid this year to the United States Agency for International Development - USAID - for the Palestinians. This money is part of a $400 million package over three years appropriated by Congress in 2000.

Additionally, the U.S. annually provides approximately $75 million in indirect aid to the Palestinians - again administered through the USAID.

+++

Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001

H.L.C.

.....................................................................

(Original Signature of Member)
107TH CONGRESS
1ST SESSION
H. R. ___________
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. CANTOR introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on

A BILL
To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority or its instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This act may be cited as the "Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001."

FINDINGS.

The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The Temple Mount, located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel, has great religious significance to the world's three major monotheistic religions, and increasing violence, religious intolerance, and archeological neglect threaten to destroy this sacred site.

(2) According to the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount (Har ha-Bayit in Hebrew) is the location where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in the ultimate test of his commitment to God. The Temple Mount was also the site of the first and second Holy Temples, and it is a basic tenet of Judaism that it will be the site of the third Holy Temple.

(3) According to Christianity, Jesus was dedicated on the Temple Mount in the Second Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses. He referred to the Biblical Temple as his Father's House, and was tempted by the Devil at the pinnacle of the Temple Mount.

(4) According to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad ascended into Heaven riding al-Burak from the edge of the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif in Arabic). Al-Aqsa Mosque is located on the site of the Prophet's ascent and is the third holiest site in Islam. The Dome of the Rock was built over the Holiest Rock, considered in Muslim traditions as the Center or Core of the Universe.

(5) In June 1967, Jerusalem once again became a united city under Israel's sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been legally responsible for the Temple Mount and has been respectful of the religious practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims with regard to this site.

(6) The Israeli Government elected to delegate the daily oversight of the Temple Mount to the Temple Mount Waqf (Religious Council), whose responsibility dates back to 1432, in tacit cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan because of the King's capacity as the Custodian of Haram al-Sharif. In 1994, Jordan's role as custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified in the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty.

(7) In the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Yassir Arafat's Palestinian Authority asserted pre-eminence on the Temple Mount through the subversion of the Waqf and by coercing the Jordan-affiliated officials and clergymen off the Temple Mount. Arafat personally nominated the virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American Mufti Ikrima Sabri as the Imam of al-Aqsa Mosque. In May 1998, Sabri declared that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount.

(8) In 1996, the Israeli Islamic Movement sponsored the expansion of the underground al-Marawani Mosque on the Temple Mount. The excavation conducted for this expansion extended beyond the original compound, and an ancient underground structure dating from the period of the Second Temple (circa 515 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 70 A.D. (C.E.), known as the Western Hulda Gate passageway was converted into a mosque.

(9) In early 1998, the Waqf, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, began further excavation. A major underground mosque hall was inaugurated in August 1999 and an emergency exit was opened to a mosque located on the Temple Mount. The exit is 18,000 square feet in size and up to 36 feet deep, and thousands of tons of ancient fills from the site were dumped into the Kidron Valley. Archeologists have subsequently determined that artifacts dumped into the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount dated from the period of the First Temple (circa 22 1006 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 586 B.C. (B.C.E.).

(10) In mid 2000, Arafat deployed onto the Temple Mount armed and unarmed security personnel of Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Forces in violation of numerous past agreements with Israel. Rajoub's forces evicted the Waqf's personnel and consolidated Arafat's control and ability to wage the Intifadah (''uprising'') against Israel.

(11) In February and March of 2001, an ancient arched structure built against the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to further enlarge the emergency gate of the new mosque at the Stables of Solomon.

(12) In early May, Arafat ordered that the underground halls under the Temple Mount be unified into a single fortified space that would be both the largest mosque ever built on Haram al-Sharif and a springboard for the forthcoming Palestinian struggle for control of the Temple Mount. Given the haste and unsupervised nature of the ongoing excavation and construction work, there is great fear that the foundations of the two Holy Mosques will be severely damaged to the point of collapse.

(13) The actions of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority threaten to eliminate all historical evidence of Jewish activity on the Temple Mount and serve to discredit Israeli claims of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

(14) The massive excavation and unsupervised destruction of artifacts discovered within the Temple Mount are undeniable affronts to the concepts of religious freedom and tolerance that must be respected in order to achieve and maintain peace in the Middle East. The destruction of the Temple Mount, which threatens to incite more violence, is destroying sacred artifacts and jeopardizing the ability of Americans to understand and promote their Judeo-Christian heritage.

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON FUNDS FOR PALESTINIAN AUTHORITIES AND ITS INSTRUMENTALITIES

(a) PROHIBITION. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds appropriated or otherwise made available in any Act of Congress may be used for any form of assistance to the Palestinian Authority or any instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority unless the President has certified to the Congress that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.

(b) ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION REQUIRED. Any certification by the President under subsection (a) shall expire on the last day of the fiscal year in which it is made.

(c) NATIONAL SECURITY WAIVER. The President may waive the prohibition contained in subsection (a) for a fiscal year if the President certifies in writing to the Congress that such waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.


FEIGLIN PLANS FURTHER TEMPLE MOUNT ATTEMPTS

Zo Artzeinu leader Moshe Feiglin was sentenced today to six months on probation and a 3,000-shekel fine for leading a group attempting to pray on the Temple Mount several months ago. Feiglin, who represented himself at the trial, asked what law he had violated by attempting to pray on the Mount. The police admitted that there was no law forbidding Jewish prayer or entry to Judaism's holiest site, but that "that was the order they had received that day." Feiglin wanted to know who gave the order, and the answer finally came that it had originated all the way at the top, with Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki.

Feiglin then demanded that Aharonishki be summoned to court to explain why he gave the order, but the judge refused. At that point, Feiglin said he would no longer cooperate in the proceedings.

Asked afterwards whether he doesn't think that the struggle to enter the Temple Mount has already played itself out, Feiglin said, "On the contrary, we haven't done enough in this struggle, and I definitely blame also myself. The fact that I only have one conviction for trying to enter the Mount is a failure on my part. We have to try to do it again, and with G-d's help I will do it again." He attempted to minimize the issue of the actual violence during the incident, such as who pushed first and the like - he said that he did not even bring witnesses to testify that he did not act violently - and instead tried to concentrate only on the issue of the elementary right to pray on the Temple Mount. (Arutz Sheva News Service Sunday, July 15, 2001


Friday, July 6, 2001 Jerusalem Post

Construction at Temple Mount continuing, panel charges
By Etgar Lefkovits

JERUSALEM (July 6) - Nearly four months after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took office, Islamic Wakf construction work continues unabated on the Temple Mount, archeologists from the non-partisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities charged yesterday. Police vociferously reject the claim.

Reinforcing its continuing reports of archaeological damage to the Temple Mount, the group provided the Post with pictures, taken last week, which show, in clear view, a large stone cutter in place near the Golden Gate.

Another picture shows a tractor dumping boulders near the stone cutter, while a third shows a newly renovated staircase and excavated stones and surfaces.

"We see that the Islamic Wakf is continuing its work on the Temple Mount even since the new government has come to power in Israel," said Dr. Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University's archeology department, and a leading member of the committee. With the help of the stone cutter, the Wakf, she said, is "cutting down antique stones, for its various renovation, surfacing and construction work" at Judaism's holiest site.

A spokesman for Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau said that, to the best of his knowledge, "no work has been going at the site for the last several months." Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said yesterday that the stone cutter has been at the site "for over a year" and that the surfacing work, which he said has "long stopped" was carried out in the past with the permission of the political echelon.

The police spokesman, who has consistently rebuffed and rejected reports by the committee of archaeologists, said that the stone cutter was "not meant to cut boulders from the Mount" for the Wakf's surfacing work and had been slicing rocks from outside the area.

However, even the Antiquities Authority's Jerusalem regional archeologist, Jon Seligman said he understood the boulders being used were old paving stones from the Temple Mount that originated from Wakf work done at the Solomon's Stables in 1996, and which have since been lying in piles on the Mount.

"These are not stones from the Byzantine period, but stones that have been lying around," he said. He also noted that, since he, like all other non-Muslims, has not been able to go to the site since last September due to police concerns over violence, he can only base his estimate on secondhand information provided by the police, and pictures he has seen. Seligman added that he had not seen the latest pictures.


Muslim destroyers reach for the heart of Jewish holy sites

By Lachlan Shaw in Jerusalem

from: http://www.smh.com.au/news/0103/19/world/world10.html

The destruction by the Taliban of the two ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan reaches across into the Middle East and touches the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As the Taliban were blowing up the relics of Buddhism, leading Israeli figures were trying to stop Muslims from destroying archaeological treasures dating back 3,000 years in Jerusalem.

It was a fatwa - a religious ruling binding on Muslims - issued by the Taliban which called on the faithful to tear down Buddhist statues. It was through a fatwa that the Mufti of Jerusalem just a few weeks ago laid claim to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, sacred to Jews.

The Taliban and the Palestinian Muslims share the belief that all that went before the rise of Islam 1,400 years ago is valueless and an affront to Islam. The decision to destroy the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan was taken not by one remote leader, but by 400 clerics after months of solemn debate. Some opposed the move, but, once the consensus was reached, all swung their support behind it.

The Jerusalem Mufti said all the stones of the Western Wall belonged to the Muslims and had no link to Jewish history.

The fatwa in Jerusalem was issued as Israeli archaeologists, historians, writers and others increased a campaign to stop the Mufti's organisation, known as the Wakf, from destroying the site. So vast are the depths of the grounds beneath the Temple Mount that archaeologists are thought to have barely scratched the surface.

The Jews call it the Temple Mount because they believe it is where King Solomon built the First Temple, which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and where the Second Temple was built and then destroyed by the Romans in AD70.

Muslims call it the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and believe it is the place where their Prophet and founder, Mohammed, rose up to heaven to meet God.

In his fatwa, the mufti, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, said the entire area of the Temple Mount belonged to the Wakf. That included the Western Wall, which he said was the supporting wall of the Al-Aqsa mosque, sacred to Muslims.

The Wakf also owned treasures of the site to a depth of seven stories below and a height of seven stories above, he said. This was his answer to Jews who say the Muslims are causing enormous damage to the antiquities of the Temple Mount.

A group of Israelis, including a former mayor of Jerusalem, Mr Teddy Kollek, a former mayor of Tel Aviv, Mr Shlomo Lahat, the author Amos Oz, generals, academics and archaeologists, have a petition before the High Court of Justice.

The group says that 15,000 cubic metres of debris and earth saturated with archaeological artefacts from every era has been carried away in trucks over the past few years.

The petition says: "Rare archaeological artefacts are being cursorily destroyed by the giant scale activities of the Muslim Wakf and the Islamic movement of Israel, the aim of which is to turn the entire site into an exclusively Muslim holy place.''

The Wakf is believed to have built a large mosque under the ground and to be working on new entrances and places of worship.

The petitioners want the court to tell the Government to stop the Wakf from any work unless it is approved by government officials.

Nothing epitomises more clearly the dilemmas faced by the Palestinian leader, Mr Yasser Arafat, and Israel's Prime Minister, Mr Ariel Sharon, than the debate over this territory.

The issue of the Western Wall, an expanse of giant stones built by King Herod before the birth of Christ, destroyed the Camp David peace talks last July. Mr Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount was widely blamed for the present conflict.

At Camp David Mr Arafat would not, or could not, agree to the Jews having sovereignty over the Temple Mount and keeping the Western Wall under their control.

The mufti, appointed by Mr Arafat, has given a fatwa that commands Muslims in such a way that no compromise over the Wall is possible.

Any move by the Israelis to assert authority over the mufti, the Wakf, the wall and the Temple Mount would provoke yet more violence


TEMPLE MOUNT DESECRATION REACHES NEW LOWS

Desecration of the Temple Mount by the Moslem Waqf continues, with the permission of Prime Minister Barak - although he maintains that he has issued an order to stop it. Archaeologist Dr. Gabi Barkai, of the Committee to Prevent Destruction on the Temple Mount, told Arutz-7 today that over the course of this past Sabbath, "We received reports that a tractor worked throughout the Sabbath, and that a 50-meter long trench was dug leading out of the southern entrance of the Dome of the Rock. This is a tremendous violation of the status quo - the ancient floor, which has not been touched for hundreds of years, has been dug up. All the earthmoving works that the Waqf has carried out until now were on the southern and southeastern areas of the Mount, which are a bit lower down, but yesterday for the first time they started digging up the upper level of the Temple Mount - where the Holy Temple itself stood, according to all archaeologists and rabbis."

Left-wing thinkers such as Shlomo Lahat, Chaim Guri, A. B. Yehoshua, S. Yizhar, and others have called upon Barak to stop the construction activities, "which is causing irreversible damage to the most important Jewish archaeological site in the world, and will be a cause for 'weeping for generations.'" Dr. Barkai was not surprised at the ideological make-up of the list of signatories to the above declaration: "This is not a political issue at all, but rather a cultural one - the Temple Mount is not only a national asset, but also a universal asset, and the damage being done now is simply irreversible." When asked what seemed to be the Waqf's goal, Barkai said he did not know. It was reported, however, that Israel's General Security Service believes that the Moslems hope to pave and turn the entire area into one big mosque compound, thereby preventing Jews from entering the Mount.

Last week, Prime Minister Barak issued permits for Waqf construction on the Mount, against the recommendations of Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein, the police, and the Antiquities Authority. Barak said today that he had ordered Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami to close off the entrance through which the Waqf equipment enters the Mount. Dr. Barkai said, "This is simply not true - all the works have been done, as far as we know, with his approval. Barak apparently does not know what is going on there. Heavy equipment and trucks are going in and out of the northern gates around the Mount, and 150 tons of dirt have been removed in the past weeks."

Ha'aretz reported that the Waqf had announced that it would halt all construction on the Mount on Sunday. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, told Itim News Agency that there are no historical artifacts belonging to the Jews on the Temple Mount, and that Moslem construction and renovation work on all parts of the Mount is legitimate and legal. (Arutz-7 News: Sunday, January 21, 2001)

TEMPLE MOUNT DESECRATION CONTINUES

Some 500 cubic meters of dirt - filled with remnants of precious artifacts attesting to the Temple Mount's historic Jewish connection - have been removed from the area by Moslem Waqf construction workers over the past ten days. The illegal Waqf construction activity there is in continuation of its efforts to expand the areas of the mosques atop the holy Jewish site. Heavy machinery was brought in yesterday. The Waqf appears to be engaged in two projects: paving a broad expanse on the eastern side of the Mount, and another unclear project close to the nearby Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate.

Several members of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction on the Temple Mount, an apolitical group of prestigious archaeologists, lay the blame for the illegal Waqf activities directly on Prime Minister Barak's doorstep. In response to queries on the topic, Prime Minister's Office staffers say that the matter does not pertain to them. The Committee has sent an official request to the Attorney-General's office, demanding that the illegal construction be halted.

Hebrew News Editor: Haggai Segal and Haggai Seri
English News Editor: Hillel Fendel

Arutz Sheva News Service, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2000 / Kislev 17, 5761

THE MOSLEM CLAIM TO JERUSALEM IS FALSE
by Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann

The Moslem "claim" to Jerusalem is based on what is written in the Koran, which although Jerusalem is not mentioned even once, nevertheless talks (in Sura 17:1) of the "Furthest Mosque": "Glory be unto Allah who did take his servant for a journey at night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque." But is there any foundation to the Moslem argument that this "Furthest Mosque" (Al-Masujidi al-Aqtza) refers to what is today called the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem? The answer is, none whatsoever.

In the days of Mohammed, who died in 632 of the Common Era, Jerusalem was a Christian city within the Byzantine Empire. Jerusalem was captured by Khalif Omar only in 638, six years after Mohammed's death. Throughout all this time there were only churches in Jerusalem, and a church stood on the Temple Mount, called the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian, built in the Byzantine architectural style.

The Aksa Mosque was built 20 years after the Dome of the Rock, which was built in 691-692 by Khalif Abd El Malik. The name "Omar Mosque" is therefore false. In or around 711, or about 80 years after Mohammed died, Malik's son, Abd El-Wahd - who ruled from 705-715 - reconstructed the Christian- Byzantine Church of St. Mary and converted it into a mosque. He left the structure as it was, a typical Byzantine "basilica" structure with a row of pillars on either side of the rectangular "ship" in the center. All he added was an onion-like dome on top of the building to make it look like a mosque. He then named it El-Aksa, so it would sound like the one mentioned in the Koran.

Therefore it is crystal clear that Mohammed could never have had this mosque in mind when he compiled the Koran, since it did not exist for another three generations after his death. Rather, as many scholars long ago established, it is logical that Mohammed intended the mosque in Mecca as the "Sacred Mosque," and the mosque in Medina as the "Furthest Mosque." So much for the Moslem claim based on the Aksa Mosque.

With this understood, it is no wonder that Mohammed issued a strict prohibition against facing Jerusalem in prayer, a practice that had been tolerated only for some months in order to lure Jews to convert to Islam. When that effort failed, Mohammed put an abrupt stop to it on February 12, 624. Jerusalem simply never held any sanctity for the Moslems themselves, but only for the Jews in their domain.

[DR. MANFRED R. LEHMANN is a writer for the Algemeiner Journal. Originally published in the Algemeiner Journal, August 19, 1994.]

Friday, September 22, 2000

Israel presses for UN role on Temple Mount

By Aluf Benn
Ha'aretz Diplomatic Correspondent

Israel is pushing an initiative to hand sovereignty on the Temple Mount to permanent members of the UN Security Council, in the latest effort to break through to a final status agreement with the Palestinians.

Among those involved are the governments of the United States and Egypt, who proposed the idea, French President Jacques Chirac, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak asked the French President to participate in this effort because of the important position of France, both as current president of the European Union and a permanent member of the Security Council. Another unspoken reason for the French role is that, unlike the United States, Paris would not be "suspected" of favoring Israel.

During a long telephone conversation with the French President several days ago, Barak explained that the Temple Mount issue was blocking the achievement of a final status agreement with the Palestinians. He also emphasized that the problem involved the unwillingness of the Palestinians
and the Muslim world to recognize the special claim the Jewish people historically have on the Temple Mount.

Barak said even the Western Wall is considered holy for Islam, and Muslims are unwilling to recognize the rights of Jews and Israel to the site, and will merely concede their right to pray there.
As a result, Barak said, Israel rejects out of hand the claim of Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat for Palestinian or Muslim sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The prime minister told Chirac that in any future arrangement the status quo over the holy sites would be preserved, and the Temple Mount would remain in the hands of the Jerusalem waqf.

Israel now believes bringing the Temple Mount under the aegis of the international community could be the best way to safeguard the rights and interests of both faiths, while retaining the status quo on the ground.

The French president expressed his willingness to help and said the French government coordinates its positions on the peace process with Washington.

Chirac and Israel's acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben- Ami met on Tuesday for what appeared to be talks focused on the idea of international sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The next day Chirac spoke with Chairman Yasser Arafat and Annan on the telephone.

The idea of international sovereignty over the Temple Mount was first raised by U.S. President Bill Clinton during the latter part of the Camp David Summit in July as one of several possible options to solve the question of Jerusalem. Egypt later presented an updated version of the idea, placing control in the hands of the Security Council's five permanent members.

Responding to the reports, the Prime Minister's Office said "this is all speculation. Barak is not willing to discuss the proposal until Arafat agrees to discuss it."

In Israel and the Palestinian Authority officials are waiting to see what President Clinton's next steps in the peace process might be, and it is still not clear if the U.S. will present the sides with a bridging document.

http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=09/22/00&
id=94446


 

Jerusalem's Temple Mount remains obstacle in peace talks

New Temple Mount Furor - And What You Can Do about It, by Suzanne F. Singer, (BAR).

Photos and news articles from http://www.har-habayt.org/.

The following editorial appears in the Jerusalem Post, June 29, 2000:

Archeological destruction (June 29) - Paeans of devotion to Jerusalem are so common in Israeli politics that they have lost all meaning. This is perhaps the only explanation for Prime Minister Ehud Barak's complicity in the wanton disregard of archeological norms regarding Israel's most holy and significant ancient site, the Temple Mount.

When arguing for the transfer of Abu Dis, the Arab neighborhood on Jerusalem's outskirts, to full Palestinian control, Barak somewhat glibly pointed out that Jews had not prayed to return to Abu Dis for the past two millennia. The same cannot be said of the Temple Mount, site of the First and Second Temple, and the Western Wall which is today the holiest site in the world to the Jewish people.

For the past 33 years, since Mordechai (Motta) Gur emotionally declared "the Temple Mount is in our hands," Israel has in fact delegated almost all authority over the Temple Mount to the Moslem Wakf. The reason for this was to scrupulously uphold Israel's commitment to respect each religion's authority over its own holy places. Accordingly, Israel distilled its entire connection to the site that was Judaism's crucible into one peripheral spot, the Western Wall, leaving the actual site where the Temples stood to the Moslem shrines and mosques that were subsequently built there.

In response to its possibly unparalleled act of enlightened restraint, Israel has not only received little recognition, but is denied a modicum of reciprocity. Incredibly, the Moslem Wakf denies any Jewish connection to the site where tradition holds that Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac, King David established his capital, and his son Solomon built the First Temple. Just to make sure, the Wakf has prevented archeologists from plumbing one of the world's most prominent ancient treasures for its secrets.

Israel has accepted its inability to actively explore the Temple Mount, including a tantalizing passageway in the structure's western side that the Wakf sealed with concrete soon after its discovery. It is one thing, however, to prevent exploration and quite another to bulldoze through ancient structures without any archeological supervision.

Last November, the Wakf opened what it called an "emergency exit" to the mosque it had built in the chambers under the Temple Mount surface known as Solomon's Stables. By now this exit has expanded into a gaping hole 2000 square meters in area and up to 12 meters deep. The "exit," it seems, will become a monumental entrance area to the mosque. Thousands of tons of fill from the site, subsequently found by archeologists to contain First and Second Temple artifacts , were unceremoniously dumped into the Kidron Valley.

Now, somewhat belatedly, a public effort within Israel has galvanized to demand a stop to the construction and destruction on the Mount. An urgent open letter sent to the prime minister this month warns that "a serious act of irreparable archeological vandalism and destruction is being carried out without archeological supervision, while abrogating the Antiquities Law and Antiquities Authority remains inactive." This public effort is notable for its political diversity - the open letter was signed by former mayor Teddy Kollek and current mayor Ehud Olmert, authors Amos Oz and Haim Gouri, and by 82 MKs ranging from Meretz to Shas and Likud. Indeed, it should not be surprising that Israelis of all stripes are appalled that the law requiring almost every road and building site to submit to archeological supervision is brazenly suspended on the Temple Mount, potentially one of the richest archeological sites in the world. Responding to the public pressure and constant bustle of unknown construction activity on the Temple Mount, Barak finally met yesterday with the relevant authorities to decide what to do.

In an Orwellian statement released after the meeting, the Prime Minister's Office declared that Barak remained committed to "preserving the status quo and preventing archeological damage." National Security Adviser Danny Yatom later explained that Barak's idea of "status quo" was not to prevent the Wakf from continuing its unsupervised construction. Such obfuscation, accompanied by an illegal attempt to prevent the press from visiting the area, is unacceptable. The claim that "security concerns" require Israeli acquiescence is widely, if unofficially, disputed by former and current security authorities, who agree with public demands to stop the movement of construction equipment and materials in and out of the Temple Mount.

The current stage of the peace process, far from being an excuse for inaction, increases the urgency of asserting Israel's right and duty to prevent archeological atrocities. The Wakf's history of outrageous disregard for the archeological patrimony of all three faiths to whom the Mount is holy is reason enough not to perpetuate its current degree of authority in the context of a final-status agreement. If Israel is considering enshrining the Wakf's authority by agreement, now is the time to enforce international standards of preservation and respect for ancient sites. If Israel does not exert its authority when it nominally has the power and responsibility to do so, it will hardly be in a position to demand that others do so in the future. --The Temple Institute.

Urgent Temple Mount Update: Help to Stop the Destruction Now!

Several days ago we reported the seemingly positive news of the Israeli Attorney-General's promise that he would do everything in his power to prevent the illegal construction on the Temple Mount. Sadly, not only has nothing been done to stop the Wakf ñ Israelís Prime Minister has given his full approval for the destruction to continue. As of now the illegal construction/destruction is proceeding at full speed. The pace of work and the amount of trucks seen going in and out of the Mount has increased over the past several days. Aerial photos of the Mount that show the area under construction can be seen under the 'recent news' link at http://www.har-habayt.org. In the meantime, a public storm rages over the Temple Mount issue, and it has now begun to receive major media coverage here in Israel. On June 27th, Israel Television's evening news program featured an excellent report, including video footage.

Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak held a meeting with police and security officials to discuss the Wakfís illegal devastation of the Temple Mount. Despite the urging of the Attorney-General and a number of Israelís leading archeologists, the Prime Minister has inexplicably decided to take no action against the Wakf, but to allow the construction to continue. He refused to accept the Attorney-General's recommendation that he stop the construction work, and details of the meeting are being kept secret by the government.

According to a written statement released by the Prime Ministerís office, he has approved measures in line with the principles of ìmaintaining the status-quo and not damaging archeological artifacts, while recognizing the importance of the site for both Moslems and Jews.

However, archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, spokesperson for the nonpartisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, said ìthe Prime Ministerís attitude regarding maintaining the status-quo on the Temple Mount is unequivocally one-sided. No one is changing the status-quo except the Wafk. We expect the Prime Minister to stop the destruction work being carried out and enforce a true status-quo.î Dr. Mazar added that 'the government's decision is unacceptable.' She said her group would petition the High Court of Justice.

Jerusalemís Mayor Ehud Olmert is also opposed to Prime Minister Barakís position on this issue, calling Barakís decision ìa most severe error.' Olmert says that the Prime Minister should order the Moslem Wakf to stop all work at the Temple Mount immediately. The Mayor also said that it would be easy for Barak to stop the Wakf, but that Barak was deluding the public into believing that ceasing the Wakfís activities would lead to disaster. Olmert told Israel Radio that the work going on at the Mount is ìpart of an overall plan to turn the Temple Mount into one huge mosque and to erase the immense Jewish heritage at the site and convert it into a Moslem site.' Indeed, according to published reports, the General Security Service has warned the government of long-term Islamic movement plans to seize some of the Eastern parts of the Mount as additional prayer areas.

JEWS ATTACKED AT TEMPLE MOUNT GATE:

A Moslem riot erupted today at Lion's Gate in Jerusalem, the entry point for Arab trucks to and from the Temple Mount. Some 150 Arabs attacked three Jews protesting there against the ongoing illegal Waqf construction on the Mount. The Arabs hurled rocks at Moshe Feiglin (Zo Artzeinu), Prof. Hillel Weiss (Professors for a Strong Israel), and Yehuda Etzion (Chai VeKayam). The attackers also tore the Jews' posters, and smashed the windshield of their car. A large contingent of police officers quickly arrived on the scene, squelched the riot, and arrested several of the Arab rioters. Feiglin, Weiss and Etzion said afterwards that the Arab attack "strengthens our resolve to hold further vigils here at Lion's Gate."

Meanwhile, Israelís leading tzaddikim (most lofty spiritual giants), have spoken about the intense spiritual battle that is being waged on a cosmic level, concerning the Temple Mount. These righteous men, who on account of their true piety and humility wish to remain anonymous, have issued a call for the community at large to be more aware of the grave significance of these events. At their behest, in a few hours posters will be appearing all over Jerusalem, which carry the following message in Hebrew and English:

Transferring the Temple Mount to the Palestinians Is THE DESTRUCTION OF THE THIRD TEMPLE

Ehud Barak alone has the power to stop the Moslem desecration of the Temple Mount. He chooses not to exercise this power. We continue to urge our readers to contact Prime Minister Barak to express outrage over the illegal destruction on the Temple Mount and Moslem attempts to severe the Mountain from Jewish history. Public opinion is important to him and we have reason to believe that your communications will make a difference.

Below you will find a sample letter which you may use to send to the Prime Minister. The text was written by Edward Ehrlich eehrlich@shani.net Please circulate these letters, and others you may write, to as many people as possible, to be forwarded to the Prime Minister. The Prime Ministerís email address is ebarak@parliament.gov.il or pm@pmo.gov.il The fax number in his office is 972-2-5664838.

We the undersigned protest the wanton destruction of irreplaceable archaeological artifacts that is currently being carried out by the Moslem Waqf on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.

With approval of Palestinian Authority chairman Yassar Arafat, the Waqf has been conducting a massive building project on and under the Temple Mount in total disregard to the damage this is causing to the archaeological remains on this unique site. Every day history from the periods of the First and Second Temples, the Roman and Byzantine period and the various Moslem period is being destroyed in total violation of both Israeli and international law.

Any person who truly cares for the city of Jerusalem, no matter what their nationality or religion, must protest the destruction carried out by the Waqf that will deprive us and future generations from understanding the history of the city.

We urge that the Waqf be forced to stop their current destruction and that any future building be done under proper archaeological supervision to prevent any further loss.

Transparency on the Temple Mount By Nadav Shragai - Ha'aretz 27 June 2000: During the 1970s and 1980s, the Islamic waqf, or religious trust, accused the state of Israel of crimes against archaeology and against Islam in Jerusalem. Under the influence of Islamic religious leaders and with the backing of Arab states, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), decided to stop financial aid to Israel. ICOMOS, one of the advisory bodies of UNESCO, even termed the Old City of Jerusalem "an endangered cultural asset and historic site." The most common Islamic libel claimed that through archaeological digs around the Temple Mount, Israel was trying to undermine the foundations of the mosques so that they would collapse. The fact that a sizeable portion of the archaeological finds happened to relate to the Muslim period of rule over Jerusalem made no real impression on the Islamic religious authorities.

But international organizations - lovers of science and antiquities, all - are now failing to display even a small fraction of the holy rage roused by the onetime Israeli digs, as today Muslims continue to perpetuate destruction on Temple Mount land. No explanation, no report, no supervision. Complete silence. The only noise is that made by the bulldozer and the earthworks, which are arousing more questions every day.

The behavior of the waqf is not surprising. Its leaders believe that Jews have no connection to the place, and the two Temples that stood there are a wild invention. While changing the face of the Mount and demonstrating ownership of it, the waqf is showing willingness to harm not only the Jewish roots buried beneath it, but the roots from the Christian and Muslim periods as well.

What is extremely surprising is the behavior of the Israeli government. This is not a question of realizing the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount - which is likely, according to security officials, to bring about a religious war - but a question of enforcing the laws relating to planning, construction and antiquities at a holy site. Such quiet enforcement, even if sometimes only partial, was carried out on the Mount from 1967 to 1996.

Nobody claimed then that there was a risk of danger to public security. This is a new claim, not backed by all security officials, and it seems that in this case, someone is taking the name of security in vain. Jerusalem Affairs Minister Haim Ramon is correct that preparing the mosque at Solomon's Stables and using the ancient Al Aqsa mosque as an additional prayer area - which he describes as the breaking points - took place during the Likud government. This shows a terrible lack of seriousness on the part of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But the great destruction of antiquities, and the continuing damage being done to them today, are all the responsibility of the present government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak. This can be changed, but first the people from the Antiquities Authority have to be released from their bonds. They must be allowed to give interviews freely and explain what's going on. These are not state secrets. Permanent supervisors have to be sent to the Temple Mount. They don't have to disguise themselves as Arabs in order to be there. There is also no law forbidding the use of a camera there. In this matter, the waqf and the police impose scandalous restrictions on the media and archaeologists. The definition of "completion of work for building an entrance to Solomon's Stables" is also too broad. An area 200 meters long, to the north of Solomon's Stables, cannot be paved, and even perhaps roofed, under the claim that this is only "completion." Even a cover-up has a limit. The red lines have to be clear to the waqf, and not only to Ramon.

Transparency will be very good for the situation on the Temple Mount. The lack of clarity and the secrecy have only helped the waqf mock us again and again. The "rain shelter" that the waqf wanted to erect in Solomon's Stables to protect worshipers has become one of the biggest mosques in the Middle East. The "emergency exit" that the waqf wanted to plan for the mosque that was first presented as a "shelter" has become a monumental entrance gate - which the Antiquities Authority has defined as an archaeological crime.

The government authorities' stubborn refusal to accept the committee's demand that they prevent the destruction of antiquities and reveal waqf plans for the Temple Mount is likely in coming years to create further megalomania, and more seriously damage the antiquities.

CHIEF RABBI FAULTS HA'ARETZ HEADLINE A top headline in Ha'aretz today reads, "Chief Rabbinate Agrees to Palestinian Control for Temple Mount." The Chief Rabbi in question, however, vehemently denies anything of the sort. The Ha'aretz story refers to a letter written to an interfaith conference in Milan, Italy, last year by Rishon Letzion Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, in which he wrote, "We must preserve and respect the status quo at the holy Temple Mount site, which is known to others as the Al Aksa mosque area..." Rabbi Bakshi-Doron explained to Arutz-7 today his version of the story:

"The quotes in the story are correct, but not the headline. I did not write a letter on behalf of the Rabbinate, but rather a personal letter of greeting to an interfaith conference. One of the problems facing interfaith dialogue is that the Moslems claim that we plan to conquer the Mount and not allow Moslems to visit the Mount. The Moslems do not believe that there are no such plans, no matter how many times the other rabbis explained, and so I clarified this point in my greeting, that there are no current plans to build the Holy Temple. This does not mean, Heaven forbid, that we waive the Jewish people's claim to the entire Temple Mount [- a claim which is eternal]...The fact that we are not permitted Halakhically [by Jewish law] to enter the Holy of Holies and other areas on the Mount because of our present status of impurity is not germane to the question of our sovereignty there. On the contrary - we must continue to be sovereign there in order to ensure that its sanctity is preserved."

The Chief Rabbi added that "there are those who think that if entry to the Mount would be permitted by the Rabbis, this would help us in our negotiations with the Palestinians. This is a great mistake, because it might lead to the erection of a little synagogue in the corner somewhere, while the Arabs continue to have control over most of the area. We must not fall into this trap, but must rather insist that the entire Mount is ours...What I wrote in the letter was that the status quo must be preserved, to assure the Arabs that we are not throwing them out, but only in the sense that nothing should be changed in the way the Mount is currently run. Meanwhile, it is the Arabs who are changing the status quo...The headline in Ha'aretz was therefore very far off from what I wrote..."

JEWS ATTACKED AT TEMPLE MOUNT GATE; GOV'T MAKES SECRET DECISION: A Moslem riot erupted today at Lion's Gate in Jerusalem, the entry point for Arab trucks to and from the Temple Mount. Some 150 Arabs attacked three Jews protesting there against the ongoing illegal Waqf construction on the Mount. The Arabs hurled rocks at Moshe Feiglin (Zo Artzeinu), Prof. Hillel Weiss (Professors for a Strong Israel), and Yehuda Etzion (Chai VeKayam). The attackers also tore the Jews' posters, and smashed the windshield of their car. A large contingent of police officers quickly arrived on the scene, squelched the riot, and arrested several of the Arab rioters. Feiglin, Weiss and Etzion said afterwards that the Arab attack "strengthens our resolve to hold further vigils here at Lion's Gate."

Following a top-level meeting in the Prime Minister's Office today, Barak's office announced that the Prime Minister "has approved the Israel Police's recommendations on what measures are to be taken or avoided regarding the Temple Mount in line with the principles of maintaining the status-quo and not damaging archaeological artifacts while recognizing the importance of the site for both Jews and Moslems." To understand the implications of this announcement, IMRA's Dr. Aaron Lerner today called Israel Police Jerusalem District Spokesman, Shmuel Ben-Ruby. Ben-Ruby confirmed that there is a police position at the Lion's Gate, but added that only Barak's office could explain whether the acceptance of police recommendations means that trucks hauling building material to and from the Mount would now be prevented from reaching the Mount. A Prime Minister's spokesman later told Lerner that "the meeting and details of the decision are secret." (Arutz-7 News: Wednesday, June 28, 2000)

Eyewitness Report from the Temple Mount
An Urgent Message from THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE, Jerusalem

For eight months, we have reported on the Moslem Waqf's illegal excavations in the southern part of the Temple Mount. It has been established that these unsupervised excavations have facilitated the deliberate and calculated destruction of archeological remnants from the Holy Temple. Now, the desecration and destruction has moved into a new phase. Recently, new reports have begun to circulate that the Wakf has renewed its illegal construction activities on the Temple Mount. A number of articles on the subject have appeared in the Israeli press over the past few days. In one of these articles, appearing in the Hebrew daily Haíaretz, correspondent Nadav Shragai wrote: "The Islamic Movement in Israel has a master plan to build a forth mosque on the eastern side of the Temple Mount, according to a detailed report prepared by security officials."

We were recently able to ascend to the Temple Mount to view this construction activity firsthand. What we saw there was so staggering that it is difficult to convey the images in words. Under the open skies, and with no pretenses, the entire eastern section of the Mount has been turned into a busy construction site. Activity is taking place at a fever pitch. Not one inch of the eastern section of the mount remains untouched. Haphazard heaps of archeological remnants of major significance, freshly unearthed, are strewn about everywhere. Next to these sit large consignments of newly hewn masonry stones, still wrapped in neat plastic packaging, just delivered to the site. A structure near the Golden Gate is already at an advanced stage of construction. Tractors are at work and other heavy machinery can be heard; there is activity of paving and other aspects of ground preparation, digging, masonry and more. It should be noted that this construction is taking place in areas that are clearly within the boundaries wherein chambers of the Holy Temple stood. Thus the actual site of the Holy Temple is now being turned into a Moslem site, all over again.

In the southern end of the Mount, new ornamental skylights have been fixed over the area of the new underground mosque now in use. Many other permanent changes in the area can also be plainly seen.

The plans of the Waqf and the Islamic movement also include a number of other changes. However these plans have not been published and are not publicly acknowledged. A petition has been made to the Jerusalem District Court by Yehuda Etzion of the Chai Víkayam movement, demanding that the Waqf reveal their plans for the site based on the Freedom of Information Act. However the state has refused to divulge this information on the grounds that it is ìsecret,' and the court has yet to hear this petition. Similarly, several months ago the commander for the Jerusalem District of the Israel Police revealed to the Knesset Education Committee that the Waqf has six plans for the Temple Mount - but he refused to elaborate, citing state security. Meanwhile, the Israel Antiquities Authority as well as the Committee for Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, have called upon both the Attorney General and the Prime Minister to personally intervene and put a stop to the illegal activity.

What we were able to see on our own visit substantiated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what we have always known: Motta Gurís immortal declaration "The Temple Mount is in Our Hands," uttered in June 1967, is a fantasy that has no basis in reality. It is an unhealthy dream from which the people of Israel must wake up. It has been completely shattered; even the most skillful ostrich can no longer delude himself. Israel exercises no sovereignty whatsoever on the Temple Mount. On the very day of our own visit, a group of Knesset Members on a fact-finding mission to the Mount were prevented by the Israel Police from carrying out their task ñ and the police, in turn, while entrusted with carrying out the law of the State of Israel, were simply manipulated by the Waqf, the real power and control on the Temple Mount. Thus the Knesset members, who are the lawmakers of our nation and who are entitled to Parliamentary immunity and extra-legal status, were prevented from photographing the illegal construction; they were prevented from moving about freely on the Mount, and were not able to enter the underground structures. The group's guide, archeology student Zachi Zweig (www.miac.com/bait), was physically attacked and threatened by the commander of the police.

However, the worst is yet to come. The Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount has pointed out that if the Waqf implements all its plans, the face of the Mount will be completely altered, aside from the damage that will be caused to the antiquities at the site.

All the deliberate destruction of archeological remains, and the dumping and trashing of hundred of tons of precious Temple remnants that we have focused upon until now, is ancient history ñ for the Waqf has now moved on from the destruction of Temple remains, to the complete and permanent alteration of the Temple site.

The matter is clear. The Waqf saw that they were able to destroy archeological remains that are precious to the people of Israel with impunity. They were not stopped. Now they are confident that in the face of Israelís weakness, they can truly do anything. Thus they are rapidly attempting to change the physical reality of the Mount, in a permanent fashion. By creating new facts on the ground, the Waqf is successfully de-Judaizing Jerusalem, and wresting the city from the people of Israel.

We call upon all people, wherever you may be, to appeal to the Prime Minister of Israel to exercise Israeli law on the Temple Mount and put an end to this destruction. He has the power to change Israel's power concerning the Mount. We also call upon you to communicate with your elected representatives, and ask them to condemn the outrageous actions of the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority, who receive funding and use those funds to destroy precious archeological artifacts. Building a new mosque over the area of Israel's ancient Temple is a contemptible, sacrilegious act which reveals the true intentions of the Palestinians towards Israel ñ as reflected in the official Palestinian Charter, which remains unchanged and still calls for the annihilation of Israel.

Israel has zealously protected the shrines of other religions, including Moslem sites. Yet Islam is destroying the holiest shrine of Judaism, and the Government of Israel, whose only interest is the quick implementation of the American ìpeace process, is impotent.

The continued destruction at the site of the Holy Temple will result in an irreparable loss for the entire world. We urge you to act immediately.

Rabbi Chaim Richman
THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE http://templeinstitute.org/


NEW MOSQUE ON TEMPLE MOUNT: Photographs taken last week on the eastern section of the Temple Mount show that the Moslem Waqf is building a new mosque on the actual location of the Holy Temple. Bulldozers and trucks have already cleared dozens of piles of dirt from the area, and have brought in their place large quantities of building materials. It should be noted that several months ago, the government decided that the only works to be carried out on the Mount were emergency doors for the existing mosque there. Archaeological student Tzachi Tzveig emotionally shared his concerns with (Arutz-7):

"This is the fourth mosque on the Mount, and this one is in the actual spot of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple). The government is well aware of what's going on, yet the ministers do little more than speak about it here and there... Public Security Minister Ben-Ami announced several weeks ago that no trucks with construction materials would be allowed into the area - but it was just words. The trucks come and go, and I saw a video from a week ago showing that the work is continuing apace. Until I saw those pictures [which can be seen at www.miac.com/bait], I didn't realize the extent of the damage... Nadav Shragai writes in (Ha'aretz) today that there are "plans" for a fourth mosque - but the fact is that these are way beyond just plans...two structures are in quite advanced stages..." (20 June, 00)

TEMPLE MOUNT UNDER SIEGE: Photographs taken last week on the eastern section of the Temple Mount show that the Moslem Waqf is building a new mosque on the actual location of the Holy Temple. Bulldozers and trucks have already cleared dozens of piles of dirt from the area, and have brought in their place large quantities of building materials. It should be noted that several months ago, the government decided that the only works to be carried out on the Mount were emergency doors for the existing mosque there. Archaeological student Tzachi Tzveig emotionally shared his concerns with Arutz-7 today: "This is the fourth mosque on the Mount, and this one is in the actual spot of the Beit HaMikdash. The government is well aware of what's going on, yet the ministers do little more than speak about it here and there... Public Security Minister Ben-Ami announced several weeks ago that no trucks with construction materials would be allowed into the area - but it was just words. The trucks come and go, and I saw a video from a week ago showing that the work is continuing apace. Until I saw those pictures [which can be seen at www.miac.com/bait], I didn't realize the extent of the damage... Nadav Shragai writes in Ha'aretz today that there are "plans" for a fourth mosque - but the fact is that these are way beyond just plans... two structures are in quite advanced stages..." (Arutz-7 News: Sunday, June 18, 2000)

WAQF EXPANDS CONSTRUCTION ATOP TEMPLE MOUNT: An unlikely alliance of noted left- and right-wing personalities has been formed to try to stop the Moslem destruction of Temple Mount archaeology and history. Over 80 MKs from across the political spectrum have signed a petition protesting the destruction on the Temple Mount. The Moslem Waqf has stepped up its construction activity on the Mount over the past few weeks, and, in opposition to the law, there is no supervision by the Antiquities Authority. Former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, as well as writers Chaim Hefer, Amos Oz, and others, met with Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Chaim Ramon yesterday, demanding that he stop the "archaeological crime" taking place on the Temple Mount.

Archaeology Prof. Hilat Mazar of Hebrew University was among those who met with Ramon yesterday. She told Arutz-7 today that the meeting was held in a pleasant atmosphere, "but we learned that Ramon unfortunately does not attribute great significance to the works being carried out there by the Waqf. These works are going on all along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, practically all the way up to the Gate of Mercy... These works are far from the emergency exits that were needed for the new mosque in Solomon's Stables [on the southern end of the Mount], such that it cannot be said that they are for that purpose. It is an entire construction site, with bulldozers, scaffolding, and more - I'm scared to even guess what they're planning there, but it is definitely something on a major scale. This is a matter not only for Jewish concern, but for anyone who is worried about the world's cultural treasures." (Arutz-7 News: Monday, June 12, 2000)

THE TEMPLE MOUNT ARCHEOLOGICAL DESTRUCTION: The Temple Mount, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, has never been archaeologically excavated. Since 1996 the Wakf (the Moslem Trust) has been doing construction work on the mount in order to build the biggest mosque in the Middle East.

Until recently the work consisted of mainly renovating an existing structure. This structure is known as Solomon Stables, which was last in use by the crusaders in the medieval era. In early November 1999 the Wakf began digging a monumental entrance to the mosque, since it is an underground structure. Bulldozers and other heavy machinery that caused irreversible archaeological damage dug this hole, 50 meters long, 25 meters wide and 12 meters deep. This digging constitutes a violation of Jerusalem's municipal construction law and also, more importantly, a violation of the Israeli antiquities law. The government of Israel, in the name of peace, decided to turn a blind eye and thereby unofficially approved this violation of the law.

For years the Wakf continues to deny that there was any historical presence on the mount before the Moslem era. The current dig, according to the Wakf, is just removing the 'Christian' strata, and returning the mount to its original Moslem state. According to a Wakf worker, who participated in the early constructions in 1996, all the earth they took out was filtered and scanned by a metal detector.

Stones with decorations and inscriptions were recut, so that markings were destroyed. In the recent construction the Wakf could not filter all the earth because of the huge amount that came out from the massive construction. However the Wakf had sifted through the piles of earth, removing large items of value, before loading it on the trucks. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) officials confirmed this, saying that items such as columns and large, decorated building stones had been kept on the mount. Hundreds of trucks were seen removing the earth from the mount and dumping it in a garbage site and in the Kidron valley. IAA officials stated that the destruction by the hands of the Wakf was worse than anything seen since the destruction of the Second Temple. (IsraelWire, 6/4/00)

SUMMARY: JEWS STRUGGLE WITH THE HISTORICAL JESUS

With the pope visiting Israel PLO leader Yasser Arafat has claimed that Jesus was the world's first Palestinian. While the Jews in Israel don't want to give any notice to the historical figure of Jesus, they don't want Arafat to gain support from Christians either. Even though Israel has benefited from the evangelical beliefs that Jesus's Jewish roots are a reason to support a Jewish Israel, they are struggling with any identification of Jesus with Jews. http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/03/05/Features/Features.3571.html

 Jerusalem Post: Wednesday, March 8 2000 10:01 1 Adar I 5760 

Palestinians for Jesus?
By Michael S. Arnold

(March 6) -- During the pope's upcoming visit, Israeli leaders are unlikely to use the fact that Jesus was Jewish to strengthen their political claims, while the Palestinians will probably claim him as the first of their people, regardless of historical truths --

He was perhaps the most famous Jew of all time, yet his own people don't claim him. If Israel is not careful, some analysts warn, the Palestinian Authority will claim him instead - appropriating the figure of Jesus to the Palestinian national cause as part of a larger effort to snatch the deed to the Holy Land from under Israel's feet.

Some Jews, who for 2,000 years have shunned the figure of Jesus because of the antisemitic persecution carried out in his name, slowly are coming around to an appreciation of the man as a politically-aware rabbi whose message was born of the Jews' contemporary national struggle.

Yet while Jews are just beginning to make their peace with the historical Jesus, the Palestinian Authority is propagating a less historical, more mythical figure to bolster its ties to the land: "Jesus, the first Palestinian."

SOME MIGHT argue that, had they been more politically savvy, the Jews long ago would have adopted Jesus as a sort of prodigal son who made good, while still rejecting the theology developed posthumously from his teachings.

Perhaps such a strategy would have mattered little in a Christian world where the Jews were vilified for deicide, yet there is a possibility that it might have helped build bridges to the Christian world and mitigated the extent of antisemitism.

Instead, the historical Jewish attitude toward Jesus was one of conscious neglect, if not outright revulsion, because of the persecutions carried out in his name.

Typical was the attitude of German Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig. Asked what the Jews think of Jesus, Rosenzweig is reputed to have replied, "We don't."

"It's not a new thing that Jesus is understood as a Jew," says David Flusser, a professor of Judaic Studies at the Hebrew University and a seminal figure in exploring the Jewish roots of Christianity, "but you didn't hear it because [Jews] believed their holy task was to hate Jesus."

Even today, according to Ron Kronish, a Reform rabbi and director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), many haredim refuse to say Jesus's name, referring to him obliquely as "that man."

"How many Jews have ever opened the New Testament, except for a few who went to college in the West and had to read parts in a humanities class?" Kronish asks. "Many Israelis still think you can be converted just from touching the page."

Slowly, however, Jewish attitudes toward Jesus seem to be changing, and some educators hope that the visit of Pope John Paul II later this month will give such openness a boost.

"While the people who can perceive the continuity between the messages of the Bible on one side and the Gospels on the other are still very rare, it is now a general approach to respect the Jewish dimension of Jesus's identity," says Brother Marcel Dubois, a scholar of the history of Christianity and Israel Prize winner. "There is now a more objective and mutually respectful approach."

Christian theologians and scholars began in the Middle Ages to note Jesus's Jewish roots - a process that quickened over the past 200 years, according to Flusser. A corresponding movement among Jews began only toward the turn of the 20th century among German rabbis who lectured on topics such as "our brother Jesus" or "great rabbis," including Jesus.

RECENT decades have seen a flowering of Jewish scholarship into Jesus's Jewish roots, including works by scholars like Flusser and laymen such as Aharon Liron, and the exegesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In the case of Flusser - an Orthodox Jew who refers to Jesus as "my teacher" - the intent is less to recast our understanding of Jesus than to shed light on the texture of Jewish life during Jesus's times.

In recent years, emphasis on the Jewish origins of Jesus has been most pronounced among Evangelical Christians, who find in it a basis for their staunch political support of the Jewish state. Some Christian youth now come on a Christianized version of the "Israel Experience" programs popular among Jewish teens. During these tours, they walk in the footsteps of Jesus and learn about their faith in the land where it began.

Among interfaith dialogue groups, Kronish says, it now is de rigeur to compare the New Testament to Jewish texts to better understand the interplay of ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

"If you want to know the New Testament, it helps to know Midrash and Talmud and Bible," Kronish says.

"It's a document of that same period. In coming to grips with the historical Jesus, the Jesus of the New Testament, and those rabbis [of the time] who were dealing with him, we'll get a better understanding of the origins of Christianity within Judaism. That could be something valuable."

The extent of such efforts is small, but "the people involved are very significant thinkers and they're multiplicators, so the effect of that area of dialogue goes far beyond" the number of people involved, says Rabbi David Rosen, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Israel office and a key figure in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Still, for most Israelis, the figure of Jesus remains a remote curiosity, if not an outright taboo. Rosen and Kronish lament the educational opportunity missed this year by the failure to conduct special programs to teach Israeli schoolchildren about Christianity, as a major world religion and one that is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Israel for the millennium.

Ironically, despite the historical antisemitism of the Catholic Church, the current pope is among the greatest adherents of the view of Jesus as an Orthodox Jew.

"Although he has to be a politician, in his heart [Pope John Paul II] believes in his own Jewishness and the Jewishness of his religion," Flusser says.

"Jews, too, should have made this connection but they had to overcome the prejudices of their grandfathers who identified Jesus with Christian antisemitism. But Jesus surely would have been the greatest opponent of antisemitism, because he died at the hands of antisemites, not Jews."

In fact, says Chana Safrai, a professor of Jewish thought at the Hebrew University and Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman Institute, nearly every reputable university or theology school today has a division of Jewish studies, and it is only the worst antisemites who still refuse to consider Jesus a Jew.

"Almost all good Christians today are trying to re-root or channel themselves to Judaism in one way or another," Safrai says. "No serious scholar today, unless he's Ku Klux Klan, even questions the Jewish roots of Jesus."

THE ISSUE might be considered academic were it not for the political implications of religious disputes in Israel and the inevitable political fallout of the pope's upcoming visit, which both Israel and the Palestinians hope will strengthen their own claims to the land, especially to Jerusalem.

Israel is still reeling from the recent Vatican-PLO agreement which puts the Palestinians on a footing equal with Israel regarding holy sites in Jerusalem. After centuries of the Church pressing Christian claims to the Holy City, a Jewish reappropriation of Jesus - placing the formative events of Christianity within their Jewish context - might serve to strengthen the Jewish claim to the city in Christian eyes.

Yet the Jews' lingering discomfort with Christianity has resulted in a half-hearted, arms-length approach to the pope's visit and the millennial year in general, says political commentator and former Jerusalem deputy mayor Meron Benvenisti.

The vacuum, he says, is being exploited by the Palestinian Authority, which is quietly snatching the title to the Holy Land from an Israeli government unwilling or unable to contest on the battlefield of world - that is to say, Christian - opinion.

"Yasser Arafat has succeeded in establishing at least dual ownership of the Holy Land," says Benvenisti. "He's now considered at least equal to us in this respect."

Unencumbered by a history of persecution at the hands of the Church - and with a society that includes Christian Arabs - the Palestinian Authority has proven more adept than Israel at courting international Christian sensibility. Even Moslem fundamentalists, who count Jesus in their pantheon of prophets, have expressed little opposition to the pope's visit, Palestinian sources say, in contrast to some haredi Jews who have called on Israel to bar the pontiff.

One example of the difference, according to Palestinian media analyst Ghassan Khatib, was the recent millennium celebrations, when Bethlehem partied beneath the lights of international television cameras while the rabbinical establishment threatened to revoke kashrut certificates of Israeli hotels that allowed festivities on either Christmas or New Year's, both of which fell on Shabbat.

"The Palestinians are keen on giving the impression that Palestine is not only a Moslem country but also has Christian people, a Christian heritage, Christian holy sites, a Christian dimension," says Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center.

"First of all this is a reality, but it's also useful in order to improve the public perception of the Palestinian people and of Palestine in general in the outside world."

AS with so much in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the question of tolerance for Christians may depend less on fact than on public relations.

The Moslem-dominated Palestinian Authority has been accused of anti-Christian persecution that sparked an exodus from mixed cities such as Bethlehem, where Manger Square houses not just the Church of the Nativity but a towering mosque.

Yet during last year's well-publicized Nazareth dispute over a vacant lot near the Church of the Annunciation, Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat urged Moslems to avoid angering Christian sensibilities, scoring a diplomatic coup while the Vatican was blasting Israel.

"If the Israelis flinch at the idea of Christian attachment to the Holy Land, it will henceforth be identified with Palestine," Benvenisti wrote late last year in Ha'aretz.

"If the Jews are busy scattering the sanctity of the Land of Israel across rocky hillsides - and setting Moslems and Christians at each other's throats for political gain in Nazareth - then Arafat will appear as an enlightened leader who invites church leaders, presidents, and Christian kings to his Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He and no other is the ruler of the Holy Land, the successor of the tradition of tolerance manifested by the Caliph Omar."

ARAFAT'S most ingenious move may be his attempt to appropriate Jesus, an observant Jew, as a Palestinian national figure.

Each year in Bethlehem, during Christmas festivities dominated not by Christian pilgrims but by Moslem villagers who pour into the city for a good party, Arafat extols Jesus as "the first Palestinian," an epithet he is likely to repeat when the pope visits later this month.

Some Israelis react to the misnomer with incredulity or mirth, others with outrage. Safrai says it is reminiscent of the "most blatant and ugly form of antisemitism" from the Middle Ages, an attempt to go to any lengths to deny Jewish roots. Dubois calls it "a great historical mistake."

Rosen says it is more a matter for Christians to deal with than Jews.

"A Christian of integrity, in response to such a statement, should make it perfectly clear that whatever term you want to use to describe the geographical place Jesus came from, he grew up in a Jewish context," Rosen says.

"I don't think the vast majority of the world takes it seriously, but if Christianity genuinely is seeking to rediscover, reaffirm, and show respect for its Jewish roots it has a responsibility to respond to [these] Palestinian claims."

THE appropriation of Jesus doubtless creates logistical difficulties for a Palestinian Authority that at other times seeks to deny biblical events that could support historical Jewish rights to the land. Others put the move in the context of recent Palestinian attempts to trace descent from the ancient Canaanites, creating a link to the land that predates the Jewish one.

"If they want to be descendants of Melchizedek, King of Jebus, that's alright because he came before David and therefore David took [Jerusalem] from them. That's not a bad argument if they want. But Jesus is a descendant of David, so they have to make up their minds," Benvenisti says.

"What they're doing is looking for any way to claim legitimacy and refute the Israeli biblical heritage. The Bible kills them, the stories of the Bible really piss them off. So they need to invent an alternate history for Palestine. But they have to make up their minds whether they believe they are descendants of the Canaanites or they claim a kosher Jew like Jesus, because they can't take two identities."

That, of course, assumes that logic is a guiding principle of the argument. In fact, according to Khatib, the Palestinians' identification with Jesus depends less on historical accuracy than on the power of symbolism: the common denominator of suffering at the hands of the Jews.

Over and over, in literature, art, poetry, and political cartoons, Khatib says, the Palestinian nation is identified with the mangled body of Jesus. The identification is especially strong among the intelligentsia, he says.

"Especially in periods of great suffering, the crucifixion of Jesus would be seen as an expression of the suffering of the Palestinian people, with slogans like: 'Jesus was crucified once, the Palestinian people have been crucified all along,'" Khatib says.

"Although he was a Jew he was not on good terms with the Jews... and so regardless of his religion he is seen as a Palestinian in terms of nationality."

The irony of the matter is that the Jews, who could realistically use their ties with Jesus to support their political claims, don't, while the Palestinians, who can hardly make such claims, do.

Given the weight of history, however, few Jews even today appear ready to reconcile with their most famous son.

"I don't know how politic it would be for Israeli leaders to get into that kind of competition over the 'rights' to Jesus," says Rosen.

"Because of Israeli political life, it would just mean courting the ire of haredi quarters. The more people are exposed to a healing atmosphere, the more they can leave behind the wounds of the past. But when memory blinds you to a changed reality, it becomes pathology. The wounds of our history are still very deep."


The United Association of Movements For the Holy Temple, The Temple Institute

In an unprecedented development, the movements that work for the cause of advancing the concept of the Holy Temple have decided on the establishment of an organization that will unify their efforts: The United Association of Movements for the Holy Temple.

This association was born in the wake of the terrible destruction being waged by the Moslem Wakf in the Temple Mount excavations. These efforts aim to eradicate the Jewish history of our holiest site, and to rewrite the history of Jerusalem, in a fevered attempt to severe her from the Jewish people. Realizing that a fateful moment has arrived, the various movements working on behalf of the Temple have taken action to combine their efforts ìas one man with one heart.' The associationís combined efforts will be coordinated through, and administered by, the Temple Institute. Rabbi Menachem Makover, the Instituteís General Director, serves as the associationís spokesman. Rabbi Chaim Richman, Director of Public Affairs for the Temple Institute, is the associationís English-language spokesman and representative to the Diaspora.

The new forum is headed by Prof. Hillel Weiss, professor of Hebrew Literature at Bar Ilan University, a well-known Temple activist who has campaigned to deepen public awareness about the significance of the Holy Temple. He is joined by representatives of the various Temple movements that have elected to participate in this unique initiative: the Temple Institute, The Movement for Establishing the Temple, Chai Vekayam, El Har HaMor, Zo Artzeinu, and Women for the Holy Temple.

As part of its activities, this unified group will work through a number of central, community-oriented projects that center around the Holy Temple. These will include the advancement of educational projects, and broad-based, community-wide initiatives. At the same time, each individual movement will continue its own unique projects.

About the Temple Institute

The Temple Institute is the senior coalition partner of the Association. The Institute, located in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalemís Old City, is a non-profit educational organization. The Institute is dedicated to raising public awareness about the Holy Temple, and the central role that it occupies in the spiritual life of mankind. The many areas of activities conducted by the Institute include research, publications, and conferences, as well as the production of educational materials.

The major focus of the Institute is its efforts towards the beginning of actually rebuilding the Holy Temple, beginning with the restoration of sacred Temple vessels. The Institute maintains an exhibition of recreated Temple vessels, THE TREASURES OF THE TEMPLE, which is visited by over 100,000 people annually. These vessels are made according to the exact specifications of the Bible, and have been constructed from the original source materials, such as gold, copper, silver and wood. These are not merely replicas or models, but authentic, accurate vessels that are fit and ready for use in the service of the Holy Temple. Thus it is our prayer that these items, featuring musical instruments played by the Levitical choir, the golden crown of the High Priest, and gold and silver vessels used in the incense and sacrificial services, will be used in the rebuilt Holy Temple. After many years of effort and toil, the Institute has just recently completed the three most important and central vessels of the Divine service: the seven-branched candelabra, or Menorah, made of pure gold, the golden Incense Altar, and the golden Table of the Showbread.

The Bible teaches us that the Holy Temple was the center of mankindís spiritual relationship with G-d. The prophets of Israel all foresaw that the day will come when the Holy Temple will be rebuilt, and will once again be the spiritual focus of the entire world. As Isaiah states, ìFor My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.'

All who spiritually identify with this holy cause are invited to support this important work. This support, if used of G-d, could actually bring us closer to the rebuilding of the Temple. For our goal is to twofold; one aspect of this work is to bring the concept of the Holy Temple back to the forefront of consciousness. But the second aspect, is to actually begin the process of building the Holy Temple itself. Through the creation of sacred Temple vessels, ready to be used in the Divine service, and ongoing research of every detail of Temple-related commandments, the process has truly begun which will lead, with G-dís help, to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.

 

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute publishes an email newsletter featuring updates and important developments concerning efforts towards the Holy Temple, as well as news concerning Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and a wealth of Torah teachings relating to the Holy Temple, the Festivals, and other areas of interest. To subscribe to this free newsletter, send an email to temple@temple.org.il with the words ìsubscribe' in the header. Additionally, you may receive any or all of the back issues of this newsletter since July 1999, or a menu of their titles and dates of publication to choose from, by request. Rabbi Richman can be reached directly, at the same address, with the header marked to his attention. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions, or to receive additional material or information. A large number of books, audio and video productions and other educational materials about the Holy Temple are available from the Temple Institute. A catalog will be sent upon request.


COURT FEARS BLOODSHED, REJECTS PETITION: The Supreme court this morning rejected an appeal by the Temple Mount Faithful organization regarding the illegal excavation works by the Moslem Waqf on the Temple Mount. The judges ruled that although the Waqf is indeed transgressing the law, the court will not order the necessary law enforcement agencies to halt the works, since such a move "is liable to disturb the public peace and cause bloodshed," and that such "matters should be dealt with on the governmental level." The justices added a caveat, however: Since the courts are refraining from issuing judgements on issues related to the Temple Mount, it is incumbent on the government to directly address the matter. (Arutz-7 News: Tuesday, January 11, 2000)

IGNORING THE DAMAGE: Israel's press is turning a blind eye to the archaeological damage on the Temple Mount. So says archaeology student Tzachi Tzveig, who organized last Thursday's demonstration of senior archaeologists in the Kidron Valley. He told Arutz-7 today about the recent rally sponsored by Zo Artzeinu, "which attracted 5,000 people who protested the Waqf's desecration of the Temple Mount. This was the first time in the history of the State that such a large demonstration on this issue took place! Everyone who was there saw the plethora of reporters and television cameras. Yet the next day's papers totally ignored it! Then came last Thursday's 30-person demonstration, including seven very senior archaeologists. Again, there were many reporters, including foreign and local news services, but neither of the two major morning papers mentioned that the protest even took place. I found out that a journalist from Yediot Acharonot had prepared a lengthy article on the event, but his editor decided not to publish it."

Tzveig said that originally, "Dr. Dan Bahat reported that the Moslem Waqf's excavations on the Temple Mount mainly affected recent layers, but caused only minimal damage to more ancient layers. Although I respect his opinion, he is a lone voice within the country's archaeologist community. Despite this, his view was widely-quoted, and he was given substantial air-time." Tzveig said that his and his colleagues' later examinations of the Kidron Valley dumping site revealed that Bahat had significantly underestimated the damage caused to First and Second Temple-era artifacts. Tzveig presented these findings at an annual convention at Bar-Ilan University three weeks ago, causing "a great uproar in archaeologists' circles, including much anger at the Antiquities Authority. Here, too, an article that was prepared for Yediot was not published... The Authority, for its part, responded harshly for my not having released the details in a more closed forum." (Arutz-7 News: Sunday, January 9, 2000)

ARCHAEOLOGISTS PROTEST: Moslem Waqf workers on the Temple Mount began to fashion concrete frames for the underground openings that they illegally made over the past weeks. They have also poured concrete for a supporting wall on the eastern side of the Temple Mount. The Chai Vekayam movement, whose petition against the works is still pending, claims that chances for orderly archaeological excavations at the site are becoming slimmer.

Close to 30 senior archaeologists protested at the Kidron Valley today, where the Moslem Waqf has been dumping artifacts that it excavated from below the Temple Mount. The archaeologists say that the Waqf is desecrating holy Jewish artifacts as well as violating Israel's Antiquities Law, and have called on Atty.-Gen. Elyakim Rubenstein to act to stop the illegal excavations on the Temple Mount. (Arutz-7 News: Thursday, January 6, 2000).

TEMPLE MOUNT ARTIFACTS UNCOVERED: Israeli archaeology students displayed for the press late last week a treasure trove of Temple-era antiquities, which they discovered in piles of dirt dumped by Waqf authorities in the Kidron Valley.

The finds confirm recent charges that illegal Muslim construction on a new opening to an underground mosque on the Temple Mount is destroying valuable Jewish artifacts. They are the first items made public from the piles of soil removed from inside the Muslim-controlled Temple Mount, where archaeologists are prohibited from digging.

The students claimed that the Waqf had sifted through the fill before loading it into dump trucks, and removed a large number of valuable items. Antiquity Authority officials validated their charges, stating items such as columns and large decorated building stones were kept on the Mount.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ehud Barak gave the Waqf permission to hollow out a controversial emergency exit to the underground prayer hall, known by Jews as Solomon's Stables and by Muslims as the Marwani mosque.

The finds were unveiled at a conference at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, and include some 64 pottery rims, most of those identified from the Second Temple period. These were examined and verified by three leading Israeli archaeologists.

Other finds included an intricately carved frieze, a rim of a stone vessel and a black and white piece of cut marble which matches descriptions of elegant furniture from the Second Temple. The stone is believed to have been used as a table leg or part of a table.

They also found a ceramic leg from either an offering bowl or figurine from the Bronze Age. The oldest item discovered was a pottery shard with its distinct stripped decoration dating it from eighth century BC, which coincides with the First Temple period.

One student said, "A representative from the Waqf... claimed that the fill was from the Christian layer of the Temple Mount and warned us not to plant Jewish finds in the site."

Antiquities Authority officials were furious over the student presentation and accused them of thievery. However, the Authority now wants to excavate the fill and has asked interested institutions to submit requests to help.

In light of the increasing Muslim defiance on the Temple Mount, approximately 4,000 people took part in a rally on Mt. Scopus overlooking the holy site on Monday evening. Moshe Feiglin of Zo Artzeinu, chief organizer of the protest, claimed the Waqf found a structure, possibly from Temple times, and destroyed it rock-by-rock rather than report it to Israeli authorities. (ICEJ, December 29, 1999)


The Campaign of The Temple Mount Faithful to Stop the Destruction on the Temple Mount Continues

We, as well as other groups connected with us, are taking care of what was removed from the Temple Mount. Some of the remains were taken by the Antiquities Authority and the Bar Ilan University and they have been proved to be remains from the First and Second Temples. In our petition to the Supreme Court which we made and the hearing was held yesterday, we asked very clearly that not only to immediately stop the destruction and to take those responsible to court and prison, but also to replace all the material which was removed in its original place on the Temple Mount and to return the situation on the Temple Mount to as it was. Yesterday, they started to destroy another construction which they found under the ground which also belongs, no doubt, to the Temple complex. We immediately asked the Supreme Court to stop this barbaric Arab destruction. In the mean time, we are waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court with regard to our petition. They promised to make the decision soon. Yesterday a great demonstration against this barbaric destruction on the Temple Mount was held and thousands participated. Other Israeli groups and organisations participated in the demonstration which took place on Mt Scopus, over from the Temple Mount. I opened this demonstration and then read Psalm 79. I called on the Israeli Government and al the people of Israel to immediately stop this destruction and that we shall continue our struggle until it is stopped and the barbarian enemy removed from the holy hill of Gd and Israel. More demonstrations and activities with regard to this situation will be held in the coming days. There is a great awakening in Israel against this vandalism and the weakness of the Israeli Government which is not fulfilling its task to immediately stop it and to change this violent situation on the most holy hill of G-d and Israel. G-d willing, we are determined to continue our holy campaign until we see the Gd and people of Israel back on their dearest hill and the pagan vandals removed together with their terrible abomination. Gd willing we shall soon see the fulfilment of our hopes, activities and this holy cause.


TEMPLE MOUNT AWARENESS RAISED: About 4,000 people took part in a demonstration last night on Mt. Scopus overlooking the Temple Mount, in light of the increasing loss of Israeli control of the holy site. Moshe Feiglin of Zo Artzeinu, chief organizer of the event, told Arutz-7's Ron Meir today, "On Shabbat, the Waqf builders found a structure, possibly from the times of the Temple, under the Temple Mount. They did not report it to the authorities, but instead destroyed it, rock by rock... Our main goal last night was to raise awareness of the Temple Mount, our nation's holiest place - not to turn a cold shoulder to the heart of the nation."

Feiglin added, "the use of civil disobedience may have arrived faster - or, rather, Ehud Barak is bringing it faster - than we had thought. And after what they did to you today in Arutz-7, it seems that Ehud Barak is pushing us to the corner quicker than expected..."

Speaking with Arutz-7 yesterday, Feiglin agreed that his Zo Artzeinu movement had moved from "solving individual, localized problems, to dealing with more general, historic issues." Feiglin said, "How can we wage a struggle for the limbs of the nation, if we turn our backs on the heart of the Land, the heart of the nation? We must begin by telling the truth to ourselves, first of all. When we [Israel] took down the flag after capturing the Temple Mount in the Six Day War, that was the beginning of our collapse in Judea and Samaria and the Golan. The way to tell if there is life in a body is by stabbing it; if pain is felt, and if a scream is heard, this is a sign of life. Whoever comes to participate in tonight's demonstration is reacting to the stabbing in the heart of the Jewish people, and is showing that he feels pain and is still alive. This will be a show that Am Yisrael Chai - the People of Israel lives!"

Arutz-7's Segal asked, "What will the slogans be tonight? Will you be yelling against the Waqf's illegal construction on the Temple Mount?" Feiglin responded: "The truth is that we've passed the stage of yelling against someone else. This is not a demonstration against Barak, or Bibi, or Rabin, or anyone else. It is first of all a complaint against myself, against ourselves - how is it that this is the first time in 30 years that a demonstration of thousands has been organized about our loss of sovereignty on the Temple Mount? We, the religious public, are the first ones to be blamed for turning our backs. How can we come to Ehud Barak with complaints on this issue - what does he understand about it? This is first of all a form of repentance for us, a call to renew our covenant with 'the site of our holy place,' and from here we will secure strength for our struggle for the entire Land... The top of Mt. Scopus is very fitting for this event, as it is the spot at which Rabbi Akiva looked out over the newly-desolate Temple Mount some 1900 years ago and saw foxes prowling around - and laughed in anticipation of the forthcoming Redemption." 12/28/99.

Hebrew News Editor: Haggai Segal and Haggai Seri
English News Editor: Hillel Fendel and Ron Meir

WHY MOST RABBINICAL AUTHORITIES OPPOSE JEWISH ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT

KOCHAV HASHACHAR, LIBERATED SAMARIA, Yom Rishon (Day One - "Sunday"), 17 Tevet, 5760 (December 26, 1999), Root & Branch: It is quite clear that there are parts of the Temple Mount which are permissible for Jews to enter. Even non-Jews were permitted to enter the Court of the Gentiles non-Jews to pray and deliver their burnt offerings for the Kohanim (priests) to sacrifice within.

The reason most rabbinical authorities oppose any Jewish entrance to the Temple Mount is complex.

Part of the reason is political-theological. Here halachic (Jewish legal) stringency and fear of upsetting the secular Israeli authorities as well as the Arab world and the West conveniently coincide. There is a long-established tradition from our years in exile which causes rabbinical authorities to be very careful of rocking the boat in a way which might even remotely lead to harm against fellow Jews anywhere in the world.

This is also intimately connected with the oaths said to have been sworn at the time of the destruction of the first Temple, accepting the hegemony of gentile governments with the limitation that the nations should not excessively persecute the Jews. This is the subject of extensive polemics revolving around the subject of Zionism in the religious Jewish world.

Part of the reason is the fear that if entrance to the Temple Mount were permitted to Jews, historical and national-oriented but non-Torah observant ("not-yet-religious") Jews would not immerse themselves as prescribed by halacha or otherwise conduct themselves properly in the holy precincts of the Temple area.

The absurd result of the present situation is that Muslim worship is the only worship permitted on the Temple Mount while free passage of Arabs picnicking and playing football and (sometimes scantily-clad) tourists is assured. Shalom from Kochav HaShachar, Yehoshua Friedman [friedy@poboxes.com], Founder and Chairman, Noah Institute, Root & Branch Association. [Reprinted from the Root & Branch Information Services, http://www.rb.org.il, rb@rb.org.il].


COURTS TO RULE IN TEMPLE MOUNT ISSUES: Chai V'Kayam leader Yehuda Etzion continues in his two-track struggle to identify the Temple Mount artifacts dumped by the Moslem Waqf in the Kidron Valley, and to hold the Antiquities Authority responsible for continued Waqf violations on the Mount. "The Authority was to have delivered its response [as to why it has not taken responsibility for the Waqf dumpings] to the Supreme Court today, and must also deal with a similar petition in the District Court," Etzion told Arutz-7 today. "So far, the Antiquities Authority has been giving us evasive answers, to say the least. They even sent inspectors last week to the Kidron Valley, while we were examining the remnant of the dumps, and ordered us to stop, on the grounds that we were robbing the country's antiquities! It's OK for the Waqf - under the watchful eye of the police - to dispose of hundreds of trucks' worth of ancient artifacts, but when we come to check what's in the dirt, we are labeled robbers! If it wasn't tragic, I would laugh - but today, on the tenth of Tevet, marking the beginning of the siege on Jerusalem and the beginning of Temple's destruction, it is very hard to laugh."

Etzion then reviewed last week's dumping saga: "They disposed of the first truckloads of Temple Mount materials in the Jerusalem city dump, which were mixed in with all the trash of Jerusalem. These loads are now lost to us, and can never be examined. Once we caught on to what was happening, we successfully tracked down the loads of four more trucks at another site, and we started sifting through them. When the Arabs realized that Jews were checking up on them, they stopped unloading it there; after a one-day break, they coordinated two large dumpings, one in the Kidron Valley and one in [the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of] Abu Dis."

Etzion added that he and his associates have been able to see from afar that there is still another large pile remaining at the Mount, and that "probably, on a night of their choosing - since there is nobody who will say anything - they will dump it wherever they wish." He said that he is insisting in his court petitions that the Antiquities Authority and the city of Jerusalem supervise every truck that leaves the Mount and determine where the load is headed so that its contents may be examined. "This too has not been done yet," Etzion lamented, "and the Waqf continues to prepare for a giant mosque under the Temple Mount."

The Waqf continued to dump more piles of remains at the Kidron Valley site today. No police protection or Antiquities Authority supervision was evident at the site. (Arutz Sheva News Service, www.ArutzSheva.org, Sunday, December 19, 1999 / Tevet 10, 5760.

TEMPLE MOUNT FINDS: Remnants from both the First and Second Temple Periods - mostly pottery and stone vessels, but also fragments of buildings - were discovered in archeological examinations of the piles of refuse from under the Temple Mount. The piles were formed by over 100 truckloads of dirt and remains dumped by the Moslem Waqf into the Kidron Valley this week. Archeologist Dan Bahat discovered this morning that of the materials extracted by Chai Vekayam members, one-fifth of the materials date to each of the First Temple period and Second Temple periods. Additional archeologists will further review the material later today.

In light of the recent desecration of the ancient Jewish sites under the Temple Mount, MK Rabbi Benny Elon (National Union) has called upon Israel's Chief Rabbis Lau and Bakshi-Doron to reconsider their pronouncement that Jews are forbidden to enter the Temple Mount. Elon notes that Jewish law permits Jews to enter several locations on the Mount under certain conditions, and that the present blanket prohibition serves the purposes of the Moslem. Elon fears that in the end, the Beilin-Abu Mazen plan will be implemented, Jerusalem will be divided, and the Temple Mount will be officially transferred to the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority.

TEMPLE MOUNT DESECRATION TO BE FOCUS OF ZO ARTZEINU PROTESTS: Following yesterday's announcement that Zo Artzeinu -"This is Our Land" - will be fully re-activated, leader Moshe Feiglin has announced that a giant demonstration will be held on Monday, Dec. 27, outside the Temple Mount on the Mt. of Olives. The topic of the protest: the desecration of the Temple Mount by the Moslem Waqf. Feiglin promised that the rally would have a permit and that there would be no violence, but did not promise that laws would not be violated. "Whatever was permitted the truck-drivers when they protested the rise in fuel prices, is also permitted those who protest the desecration of our Land," he said.

In a letter today to Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein, Antiquities Authority Head Amir Drori, and Jerusalem Police Chief Ya'ir Yitzchaki, Feiglin wrote,

"The remains of 'the largest destruction at the Temple Mount since the razing of the Second Temple' (in the words of Antiquities Authority personnel) have been discarded like excrement in the Kidron Valley and in various dumping grounds in the vicinity. A first sampling that we carried out there turned up finds that with certainty date from the First and Second Temples. It is also quite reasonable to assume that very significant finds from the site that is holiest to the Jewish People - a site that has never been excavated - are now buried in various Jerusalem dumps. The Moslem Waqf well understands the significance of what [it has done], and is already attempting to cover these finds with piles of garbage...

"Your immediate and primary job must be to fence in the site, and to protect the past and future of the Jewish Nation. Please! Do not allow the terrible delinquency that has occurred up to now continue.

"If you do not carry out guarding (and research) activities immediately in the sites of the dumping, the Zo Artzeinu movement will station permanent guards over the remains of our holy site in the Kidron Valley and elsewhere. We are not interested in a conflict with the local Arabs, and certainly not with the law-enforcement bodies, but we will see ourselves as betraying the very foundations of our Jewish essence if the abandonment of these remains continues without our acting to salvage them. We will not adhere to any call to evacuate the site unless it is accompanied by adequate supervision there commissioned by you.

"Please! Let us not add sin to iniquity - Carry out your jobs!" Feiglin told Arutz-7's Ron Meir yesterday that he is tired of being governed only by what is perceived as "practical," and that he has decided to do what is "important." The full interview can be heard on http://www.a7.org/engclips/151299/feiglin-temple.ram, Arutz-7's audio page.

TEMPLE MOUNT SUFFERS GREAT BLOW: A resident of Ma'aleh Zeitim - the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amoud - noticed suspicious midnight activity not far from his home two nights ago, and promptly called MK Rabbi Benny Elon (National Union) and an official of the Antiquities Authority. But it was too late: At least 100 trucks, hired by the Moslem Waqf, had already begun a sudden midnight mission to transport tons of dirt filled with unsifted and unexamined artifacts and dump it in the Kidron Valley. The dirt was the by-product of the ongoing illegal Waqf construction activity at Solomon's Stables under the Temple Mount.

Only the police had been informed of the dumping operation - despite an arrangement made three months ago between Ehud Barak and the Waqf, according to which the Waqf must coordinate all its construction works with the police, the Antiquities Authority, and the Jerusalem Municipality. The trucks sped out of Lions' Gate, on the eastern wall of the Old City, towards the adjacent Kidron Valley, in order to complete the dumping as fast as possible. A senior archaeologist told television reporter Benny Liss, "There has been no bigger blow to the Temple Mount since the destruction of the Temple itself."

The new mountain of dirt in the Kidron Valley, tens of meters high, is now being combed by archaeologists, but they have little hope of making significant finds. MK Elon, participating in a Knesset Education Committee session today together with Jerusalem Police Chief Ya'ir Yitzchaki, strongly rebuked Yitzchaki for permitting the Moslem Waqf to take this action and for neglecting to inform the Municipality or the Antiquities Authority. "It seems that the police did nothing except to help the Waqf break the law," Elon told Arutz-7 today. "Yitzchaki wants quiet, and the Jewish People will have to pay the price for generations." (Arutz Sheva News Service, http://www.arutzsheva.org, Tuesday, December 14, 1999 / Tevet 5, 5760)

CITY OF JERUSALEM TO BLOCK WAQF; TIBI THREATENS WAR: The Temple Mount controversy took a new turn today when the legal advisor of the Jerusalem municipality issued an order to halt Waqf building activity on the Temple Mount. City officials also intend to launch legal proceedings against all elements responsible for violating the zoning and construction laws in the area. Prime Minister Barak is hosting a "comprehensive deliberation" on the issue in his office today. Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert - who reportedly has some concrete proposals of how to handle the crisis - has also been invited to attend the meeting.

Justice Minister Yossi Beilin is troubled by the new activism emanating from the Jerusalem Municipality. "Ever since 1967, no Israeli government has tried to fully exercise Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount," Beilin said today. "The issue there is a 'very sensitive one..., and every Moslem home boasts a photograph of the Al-Aksa Mosque." Jerusalem businessman Yisrael Goldberg has found that Jewish Israelis are also fond of the Temple Mount. Speaking with Arutz-7 today, Goldberg told of how he sold and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a photo-montage of the Temple on the Temple Mount. "People from all walks of Israeli life, religious Jews and many who do not wear yarmulkas, common folk and politicians, and even deputy mayors from all over the country - have mounted the picture in prominent places in their homes and offices," he said.

The illegal Arab construction on the Temple Mount was also the central issue of a popular Israeli talk show last night. One of the guests on the show, Knesset member and former Arafat confidant Ahmed Tibi, issued an on-air ultimatum to the Barak government. Following is an excerpt from the interview:

Knesset Member Tibi: If the Israeli government and elements in the right wing will not recognize -

Interviewer: Do you not identify with the Israeli side?

Knesset Member Tibi: No, not on this point..I am a Moslem, and I identify with [the] Al-Aksa [Mosque]... If the Israeli government and the Israeli side and people on the right refuse to recognize the adminstrative authority of the Moslem Waqf, and continue to be affected by the incitement coming from the right wing - then there will be no 'Millenium' here, there will be an 'Apocalypse' here! If someone has the nerve to contemplate closing the two entrances that have been opened, I am saying to you, and this is a warning -

Interviewer: Are you saying this as a representative of Arafat or are you expressing your own view?

Knesset Member Tibi: I know what will happen - if someone has the nerve to close the entrances, he is declaring war on the Moselms!

In related news, two members of the Temple Mount Faithful movement were permitted to enter the Temple Mount this afternoon. Police, however, forbade the two to pray there or to carry any type of poster or sign. (Arutz Sheva News Service, http://www.arutzsheva.org, Tuesday, Dec.7, 1999 / Kislev 28, 5760 - 4th Day of Hanukkah)

WAQF WORKS GO ON: Despite Jerusalem Affairs Minister Chaim Ramon's announcement today that the Waqf construction works on the Temple Mount have ceased, Knesset Members touring the site this morning learned that such is not the case. Members of the Knesset Education Committee - responsible for the Antiquities Authority - recounted afterwards that which they saw today at the new entrance opened illegally by the Waqf: "We saw extensive works being carried out, involving the opening-up of the large arches there. Two of the arches have already been opened, and the Moslems have broken through the third. The police are trying to stop this, but the Moslems are continuing to work, and we saw trucks and much activity going on."

Chairman Zevulun Orlev said, "There is no ethnic dispute here, it is a dispute over sovereignty - does the State of Israel enforce its laws on the Temple Mount or not?" Committee member MK Silvan Shalom (Likud) disagreed: "It is not just a question of violating the Antiquities Law, which is an important issue in itself. There are also deep religious-political ramifications: We heard from several sources that the reason the Waqf is doing this is to prevent the Jews from being able to pray on the only place on the Temple Mount where they are halakhically permitted to do so."

Other reactions:

*Antiquities Authority Head Amir Drori: "The harm to the Jewish artifacts on the Mount has been very great, and you don't have to be an expert to see that. Those archaeologists who say otherwise have not been here before, and I can't imagine what their motives might be."

*Likud MK Limor Livnat: "The government knew about these activities three months ago - after all, the police allowed the trucks in - and yet it did nothing to stop it. The government is simply collapsing in face of threats by the Waqf. This must be investigated."

*Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz, head of the Archaeology Lobby in the Knesset: "The damage to Jewish artifacts there is great... The Likud has no right to speak, however - where were they for two years while the largest mosque in the country was being built [during the Likud's term in government] in the Solomon's Stables area?"

*Gershon Solomon, head of the Temple Mount Faithful: "We plan to petition the Supreme Court tomorrow - this will be our second petition on this matter. Until now, the Court has shown a tendency to justify the Waqf positions and its right to act on the Temple Mount as if it was its own. I'm a bit more optimistic regarding tomorrow's petition, but the government will still claim - falsely - that the Waqf activities were done with its consent."

*Yehuda Etzion, head of Chai Vekayam: "Over the past few days there were two events: the Waqf's break-through of an entryway under the Temple Mount, and on the other hand, a very inspiring and moving ceremony last night of the unveiling of a kosher [Temple] Menorah... The latter [event is clearly the more significant, as] I am certain that the Jewish People will return to the Temple Mount and the Temple will be rebuilt..."

SPECIAL INSERT: Yehuda Etzion, head of the Chai Vekayam Temple organization, speaking today on the broader aspects of the recent events on the Temple Mount:

"The Holy Temple is the central site around which all of our prayers are concentrated, the meeting point between G-d and the Jewish people, the central point of all of Judaism. Since the exile, however, there has been a feeling of distance between us and G-d, as if He is only in Heaven and we are below, separate. Our feelings of immediate closeness with G-d have been lost. For some reason, we are not doing enough to try to revive this connection. The leadership in this area is not coming from the rabbis, unfortunately - except for a few distinguished rabbis such as Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel - but rather from the public. But these actions are too few and far between, and we all must ask ourselves what more we must do - go up to the [Halakhically-permissible places] there, demand to pray there, write about it, talk about it - we must get ourselves to feel that something is missing. We must rise above the routine of daily life, and be activated by strivings for completeness... Yes, it is very frustrating to see the aggressiveness of the Moslems in making their claim to the Mount, while we seem to be literally dragging our feet. But we believe that it is never too late... There is a covenant between the Jewish people and G-d, and I am sure that we will overcome this situation...

"For instance, over the past few days there were two events: the Waqf's break-through of an entryway under the Temple Mount, and on the other hand, a very inspiring and moving ceremony last night of the unveiling of a kosher Menorah that can be used - tomorrow, if need be- in the Beit HaMikdash. If you ask me which of the two events is more significant, the answer is clearly the latter one. This is because the construction of the Menorah is part of the paving of the way for our rebuilding of the Temple, while the Ishmaelites, who have taken control over the Temple Mount, will fall. Their control will come to an end - I don't know if it will be tomorrow, or if it will be very soon, but I am certain that it will happen, and I am certain that the Jewish People will return to the Temple Mount and the Temple will be rebuilt. The question is how and when, and whether we are doing enough to bring this - and the fact is that we are not doing enough, and everyone must ask himself what he can do more in this direction." (Hebrew News Editor: Haggai Segal English News Editor: Hillel Fendel) (Source: Arutz Sheva News Service, (http://www.arutzsheva.org) Monday, December 6, 1999 / Kislev 27, 5760).


TEMPLE MENORAH IN TIME FOR CHANUKAH: Chanukah will be given special significance this year, when the Temple Institute in Jerusalem unveils its newly-completed Menorah (candelabrum) at a special ceremony in the Old City's Cardo plaza tonight. Rabbi Menachem Makover, director of the Institute, said today that the new approximately six-foot high Menorah has been built according to the exact specifications of the Torah. "This does not mean that it will necessarily be used for the Temple," he told Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson, "and in fact we are forbidden to consecrate it now for Temple use. All those who contributed to the Menorah were made aware of this point. However, it is suitable for use in the Beit HaMikdash."

Rabbi Makover said that while the original Biblical Menorah was comprised of solid gold, "a kosher Menorah may be made of bronze, or may even be hollow - but if it is made with gold, then the gold or gold-plating must be of one piece. In order to do this, we built a bronze substructure, which we then immersed in a vat of gold. This Menorah is thus plated with almost 43 kilograms of 'one piece' of gold." He added a timely message: "We felt that on Chanukah, there could be nothing more appropriate than to have the golden Menorah return to Jerusalem as a symbol of the rebirth of the Jewish people and our march towards fulfilling the vision of building the Temple."

Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane pointed out that "some people have raised halakhic [Jewish legal] problems associated with building Temple vessels - maybe you're running ahead a bit too fast?" Rabbi Makover: "We are simply fulfilling one of the Torah's commandments. Maimonides, in his list of Torah commandments, enumerates the positive injunction to 'construct the Temple.' An important element in the fulfillment of this mitzvah is the construction of the Temple's vessels. We believe that the vessels should be the inheritance of the Jewish people, and we are able to prove this view from a halakhic standpoint." The Institute has just recently completed two other central Temple Vessels, namely, the Golden Altar and the Table.

In addition to the website listed here on Friday, information on Chanukah can also be found on the following sites: Chabad - www.chanukah99.com, Nishmas Chaim - www.nishmas.org.il/minhagim/chanukah.htm

Arutz Sheva News Service, (http://www.arutzsheva.org), Sunday, December 5, 1999 / Kislev 26, 5760 - eve of the 3rd night of Chanukah


JEW ARRESTED FOR CLOSING EYES ON TEMPLE MOUNT: A Jewish Quarter resident was arrested yesterday for simply closing her eyes on the Temple Mount when she went up to the Temple Mount to walk in the areas permissible according to Jewish law. When she sat down on a bench and closed her eyes, she was accosted by the Waqf police and interrogated. When she told them that she is a student at Hebrew University, studying the Second Temple period, they responded by asking, "You really believe there was a Second Temple? You plan to destroy the dome [of the Rock] and build the Second Temple!" The Waqf officials then turned her over to a detachment of the Israel police stationed in the Old City, where she was held and questioned for four hours. During the questioning, a police officer told her that she was being charged with the crime of "praying on the Temple Mount. He explained to me that closing my eyes 'was an act of prayer. " There is no law on the Israeli books forbidding prayer on the Temple Mount. "The policeman forbade me from returning to the Temple Mount," continued the woman, "and instructed me to report to the police every two days until I leave the country on December 15th, or else risk a 4,000 shekel fine." (Arutz 7)


DEBATE CONTINUES OVER TEMPLE MOUNT CONSTRUCTION: A controversy surrounding the Temple Mount is being debated on the Government's permission for the Muslim Waqf to construct a new entrance to a Muslim prayer room under the Temple Mount, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

According to HA'ARETZ, Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein stated that, "remnants of the history of the Jewish people are being trampled. We have a tolerance for ritual, but we must tell the Waqf and the Muslims that we too have a history." Rubinstein argues that a door which is 10 meters wide and 10 meters high is not a small emergency exit, but in fact a large entrance.

Director General of the Antiquities Authority Amir Drori believes that the construction is potentially damaging to antiquities in the area. Minister of Internal Security Shlomo Ben-Ami today defended the Government's decision to build under the Temple Mount. "We agreed to the opening of the door for security reasons. Israel is responsible for security in the area and we wouldn't want a disaster to occur," Ben-Ami said.

Police Commissioner Yehuda Vilk and others held a meeting three months ago with Prime Minister Ehud Barak where it was decided to allow the Waqf to undertake building projects on a condition that they were conducted in coordination with the police and the Antiquities Authority. It was revealed on Wednesday that no such coordination had taken place. (Israeline - Israeli Consulate, NY, ISRAELINE@PANKOW.INTER.NET.IL).

1. ATT'Y-GEN: WE HAVE LOST CONTROL OVER TEMPLE MOUNT: The Moslem Waqf's newly-opened illegal entrance on the Temple Mount is still up for discussion in Israeli government circles. Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami says that no forceful entry to the Temple Mount will be made to seal the new 12-meter entrance. "We will not be like the Netanyahu government," he said, "that opened the Hasmonean tunnels without considering the ramifications I believe that it will be possible to have the entrance sealed without the use of force... I don't want to put on a show of force that will cause the entire city to burn - but there are other ways to ensure that the artifacts on the Mount are preserved, and that there will be effective archaeological supervision there - and I will recommend to the Prime Minister that we go all the way on this matter."

At a meeting on the matter last night in the Public Security Minister's office, senior police officials said that if the entrance is sealed up - as occurred three months ago with a much smaller entranceway illegally opened by the Waqf - there are liable to be severe Arab riots on the Temple Mount. Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein admitted at the meeting that the Israeli law enforcement authorities have basically lost control over what happens on the Temple Mount. Antiquities Authority chief Amir Drori called the Waqf action an "archaeological crime," while the Attorney-General said that "the remnants of the history of the Jewish people are being trampled. The Waqf must be told that we have tolerance for their worship, but that they will not be allowed to kick aside our history."

Likud MK Danny Naveh, speaking on Arutz-7 today, commented: "I agree that the Temple Mount issue in Jerusalem is sensitive and potentially explosive, but the question is how did the Barak government allow itself to get into this situation in the first place. Three months ago, Barak knew of the Palestinian plans on the Mount, and said, 'OK, let them do it, as long as they coordinate it with us.' So the Palestinians carried out their works, and didn't coordinate with us. Over the last ten days, the government saw tractors and trucks coming in to the Mount, and didn't do a thing to stop them."

Gush Shalom [Peace Bloc] issued a statement today calling upon the government to announce unequivocally that "the Temple Mount is a Moslem area, and that it has no intention of intervening in what goes on there, so that this issue may be removed once and for all from the public agenda."

2. COURT MAY INTERVENE IN THE REWRITING OF HISTORY: Nadav Shragai, a journalist who has written a book on the topic of the Temple Mount, explained the background of the current controversy: "About three months ago, the Waqf opened up a hole in the wall from the inside to the outside of the Temple Mount, and the fear was that a new southern entrance to the Mount was being created. The police came at night and sealed the opening. This time, however, the entrance is totally on the inside - a new opening to the area of Solomon's Stables - and is much bigger. This makes it technically less feasible for the police to seal it. The opening is 12 meters wide, and 10 meters deep. They work was carried out with trucks, bulldozers, and cranes... The police had originally agreed to the opening of a small entrance, for safety reasons, but never agreed to what Amir Drori called 'this monumental entrance-way.'"

Shragai said that Rubenstein's strong remarks about the loss of government control on the Mount may cause the Supreme Court to come to different decisions on the matter than have been made until now: "Until now, the Antiquities Authority has refused to back the official government position, and has refused to claim that the Waqf's activities on the Mount do not harm Jewish artifacts there. The government, however, continued to claim that there was cooperation with the Waqf and that everything was under control. In the last court case on the matter, Yehuda Etzion demanded that the works stop, and Justice Dorit Beinish refused, under the assumption that the government is involved in what was going on there. The picture now appears to be very different, and it is now realized that there is no state control over what is going on there. It is in fact very likely that the next petition to the Supreme Court - the Likud has threatened to sue the government to stop the current Waqf actions - will have very different results."

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute told Arutz-7's Ron Meir today that the Palestinian damage to Jewish artifacts under the Temple Mount may be irreparable: "The entrance is in an area with extreme significance in terms of the original complexes of entrances to the Temple Mount from the south... The Arabs are not only denying our history by talking about it - saying that there was no Temple, and the like - but they are now also doing something about it: erasing the evidence that there was a Temple there." (Arutz Sheva News Service, http://www.arutzsheva.org)

ARAB CONSTRUCTION ON TEMPLE MOUNT BEMOANED: The Temple Mount movements plan to petition the Supreme Court against the illegal Moslem Waqf construction works on the Mount. They have already demanded that the Attorney-General order the works frozen, and forbid further construction materials and heavy equipment from being brought to the site. Legal and other experts are of the assumption that the State Prosecution will have trouble justifying its traditional stance against government intervention, because the present situation is strong evidence that the State is unsuccessful in supervising the Waqf's activities.

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert has ordered a stop-work order on Waqf activities in the Solomon's Stables area under the Temple Mount. He has also instructed the city's District Attorney to begin proceedings against the Waqf for the works it has already carried out.

"Now that the terrible crime, of which we have warned time and time again, has been completed," states the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, "and its grave dimensions are now clear, while our voice was like a lonely cry in the wilderness, the Attorney-General wakes up and claims that 'the remnants of Jewish history are being trampled and kicked on the Temple Mount.' True, but too little, too late..." The organization plans to turn to the United Nations to protest "its silence in the face of this destruction of the most holy site to the People of Israel, while rushing to condemn Israel for legal construction activities in its own capital city." (Arutz Sheva News Service, http://www.arutzsheva.org, Friday, December 3, 1999 / Kislev 24, 5760)


OLD CITY EXCAVATIONS OPENED: The Antiquities Authority opened the excavations south of the South Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on October 3rd. The excavations show impressive remnants of King Herod's royal pillared corridor, including parts of columns and large sections of embossed stone cornices with geometric designs. The royal portico was built at the southern end of the Temple Mount, in the area known as the "Opel." The original building was 180 meters (585 feet) long - the largest roofed structure of its time in Israel, and one of the largest in the ancient world. The Roman Tenth Legion destroyed it to its foundations in 70 CE during the destruction of Jerusalem, and its parts hurled down outside the Temple Mount Walls. Also excavated and partially restored is the "Hulda Staircase," which afforded access to the Temple. (Israelwire, Arutz 7, October 3, 1999)


JORDAN WILLING TO YIELD CONTROL OF JERUSALEM HOLY SITES

According to statements made by Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdul-Raouf al-Rawabdeh, the Hashemite Kingdom is willing to officially turn over its control of Jerusalem holy sites to the Palestinian Authority.

The Jordanian Prime Minister made his statements earlier in the week in an interview on the Middle East Broadcasting Center. According to the PA, the Jordanian government is currently working in cooperation with PA religious officials in overseeing the activities on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem's Old City. (IsraelWire, August 31, 1999)

MOSLEMS BREAK OPEN WALL ON TEMPLE MOUNT

The Moslem Wakf has punched out an opening on the Temple Mount over looking the Western Wall plaza and archeologists are concerned it may have damaged ancient sites. The "double gate" is one of two gates built during Herod's reign, said former Jerusalem District archeologist Dan Bahat. He said the gate is really a tunnel which ran from the wide steps along the southern flank of the Temple Mount. "Inside there were capitals with decorations from the Second Temple; they are actually the most serious remnants inside the holy mount from the Second Temple," Bahat told Israel Radio. According to Bahat, the tunnel had been left alone since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE and legend has it that Mohammed used the gate as an entrance onto the mount. Bahat said the gate was eventually sealed in the 11th century. He said that the Wakf had knocked out an opening the size of a door from one of the windows over looking the double gate. He said that no archeologist has been allowed to visit the lower parts of the Aksa Mosque and expressed concern that damage may be caused by the renovations there.

"It concerns me that they are doing something they shouldn't be doing, particularly since there are there the most serious remains of the Second Temple period which can be found on the Temple Mount," Bahat said. "I am very concerned about their fate." He said that the window probably doesn't pose any threat since it is high above ground level. Bahat also said that the entire lower Al-Aksa area has never been excavated properly and that now is an opportunity to finally carry out excavations. (Jerusalem Post) Posted August 10, 1999.


IMAN CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF JEWS & CHRISTIANS ON PA TV

"O Allah! Bless all true believers in their sacred Muslim struggle against the wicked infidels. Help us to destroy the cursed Jewish invaders who have stolen Muslim land, raped Muslim women, and murdered Muslim babies.

"Help us in our struggle against the Christian infidel non-believers who place their disgusting idolatrous symbols on their Satanic churches in defiance of the will of Allah, blessed be his name. " [they seem to overlook the fact that the crescent moon adorning their Mosques was the symbol of the moon god, Allah]

"Help us defeat the cursed giant America, that nation of Christian whores whose women are all prostitutes and whose children are all pornographers.

"The non-believers want to destroy your mosques and holy places. The infidels disrespect your holy Koran. The Jewish devils and Christian crusaders have overrun the Muslim City of Al Kuds [Jerusalem].

"Help us to regain control of all areas that the Jewish soldiers have trampled upon. Help us to regain control of the rest of Gaza from the fascist hordes of Jewish settlers. Help us to regain control of the Negev, the Galilee and the Golan Heights.

"Help us to defeat these Jewish infidel non-believers who are your enemies. These Jewish soldiers of Meir Kahane and Ehud Barak who wish to tear down Mecca and Medina." (PATV, Palestinian Television, July 23, 1999)


The Messiah: A Jewish View:

Torah/Commentary: Parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9), Commentary on the Weekly Torah Reading for 2 Elul, 5759 (August 14, 1999)

by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

EFRAT, ISRAEL, Yom Revii (Fourth Day - "Wednesday"), 29 Av, 5759 (August 11, 1999), Root & Branch: To a certain degree, the Right and the Left in Israel are divided by the Messianists and the non-Messianists, those who believe we are headed in the direction of Redemption and those who decry any talk of salvation as fanaticism. The arch-rationalist of Jewish philosophy, Moses Maimonides (Rambam), concludes his magnum opus on Jewish law, Mishneh Torah, with a description of the Millennium or the Messianic Age, and he declares that "anyone who does not believe in him (the Messiah) or does not anxiously await his coming denies not only the teachings of the prophets but also those of the Torah and Moses our teacher." [Laws of Kings, Ch. 11, Hal. 1]

This is strong medicine. Maimonides' brand of messianism is natural, evolutionary and normative, insisting that both before and during the period of messianic peace, the natural order of things will remain the same. Yet this same thinker formulated the necessity of our not only believing but also anxiously expecting ("mehakeh"). Is not belief sufficient? How one anticipates an event is largely an individual matter: one person might sit at the window facing Jerusalem, even if she's homebound in Pasaic; another may keep his passport always up to date so that he won't get stuck on long lines when the day finally arrives; a third may sign up for service in the I.D.F. (Israel Defense Forces).

Tales of Hassidic Masters abound with holy men whose suitcases were packed and waiting. The real question is, why should anxious expectation be such an important part of the commandment? This week's portion of Shoftim, which includes the commandment to anoint a king over Israel, gives us a hint as to why it is absolutely necessary to incorporate the notion of waiting, of yearning and hoping, into a belief system, particularly if it involves the loftiest goal of all, the very climax of human history, the restoration of the House of David.

Our Bible provides for the possibility of a king, but any resemblance to neighboring kings is at best coincidental:

"The king must not accumulate too many horses...He also must not have many wives so that they not make his heart go astray. He shall also not accumulate much silver and gold." [Deuteronomy 17:16-17]

Even more importantly, our king must be a representative of the King of all Kings, the recorder and transmitter of His Torah:

"And it shall be as he ascends upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Torah in a book..." [Deuteronomy 17:18]

Long before Plato, the Jewish model for the monarchy is the philospher-king. The Bible he must write is not to serve as a mere ritual object "for show":

"And it (the Torah) shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Eternal his G-d, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to do them. This is so that his heart may not be exalted above his brethren, and that he depart not from the commandment, to the right or to the left..." [Deuteronomy 17:19]

The simple meaning of the words is that the king writes his own Torah Scroll. Undoubtedly, anointing the new king thrusts him into a whirlwind of national obligations and responsibilities, whatever is necessary to protect and provide for the population. So how much time is there left for the king to write his own Sefer Torah?

Common sense would have it that the writing of the Torah was carried out over a period of time, the king fitting it into his tight schedule. If this is so, why does the Torah choose the word "k'shivto" which means "as he ascends the throne" and not "b'shivto" which would suggest the entire time period that the king reigns?

Evidence for the different meanings of these two words is found in Proverbs and in the Book of Kings.

In the midst of the chronicles of various kings of Israel, we read how Ela the son of Basha began to reign in Tirza, and that after two years his servant Zimri conspired against him.

"And it came to pass when he [Zimri] began to reign, as soon as he sat down ("k'shivto") on his throne that he slew all the house of Ba'asha." [1 Kings 16:11]

Other than our portion of Shoftim, this is only time that the word "k'shivto" appears and it is clear that the usurper Zimri did not wait until he was settled into his throne. He acted immediately, "k'shivto", as soon as he assumed the Kingship. Had he not acted immediately, he probably would never have become King!

In contrast, the single appearance of the word "b'shivto" in the Bible confirms that its meaning suggests sitting over a period of time. Every Friday night we sing Eshet Chayil, the ode to the Women of Valor, in which one verse reads: "Her husband is known in the gates whilst he sits among the elders of the land." [Proverbs 31:23]

Despite the extraordinary responsibilities of a newly anointed king, the Bible insists that he recite the Torah at the time that he assumes the throne. I would suggest a very human and understandable reason for the Bible's haste.

The Scripture wants to capture and to extend as much as possible in writing all of the exalted feelings and anticipations, the lofty plans and preparations, which characterizes the immediate period prior to the assumption of a new stage of life or the elevation to an important position. This is especially necessary because, all too often, history demonstrates that an exalted kingship could descend into wanton greed and corruption. The spark of divinity which provided aspiring princes with the best of intentions often turns into an almost bestial hunger for accumulating private wealth and sensuous pleasures.

The tyrannies of the 20th century can rest their laurels on a long 'honor roll' of dictators whose initial thrust was to revolt against the injustices of their time, only to turn themselves into caricatures of evil, mimicking their former enemies on a scale beyond imagination. No Russian czar comes close to Stalin's mass murders. The 'reign of terror' of the French Revolution was a mockery of the previous century's imperial excesses, turning the idealistic justification of Fraternity and equality into a cruel joke.

We celebrate the festival of the victory of the Maccabean revolution for the eight days of Chanukah because of a small cruse of Menorah oil enough for one day which miraculously lasted for seven. The miracle was therefore only a seven-day miracle, so why do we rejoice for eight? One of the answers I am fond of giving is that the Jewish freedom fighters over 2000 years ago remembered the Holy Temple ideal of purity even AFTER they won their battle, a rare phenomenon for revolutions in general.

Why does Maimonides codify a law requiring us to look forward to the restoration of the kingdom of David? In certain ways, preparing for the coming of the king is more significant than his actual arrival. The Festival of the giving of the Torah is called "weeks" ("Shavuot" or Pentecost) because of the Israelite anticipation of and preparation for the Divine Revelation at Sinai while we were in the desert. Once we received the Torah we hardly made good use of it, worshiping the golden calf only forty days later. If only we could maintain the bliss of the moments before we stood under the nuptial canopy, the idealism of the first moments when we assumed a new position of stature!

Perhaps our finest hours are those spent in anxious anticipation and preparation for the Messiah, just as the King's most important task is to incorporate the ideals of his ascension to the throne into the much longer period of his reign. It is pre-Zionism and not post-Zionism which must guide our steps.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Efrat, Israel

[74542.2312@CompuServe.COM]


FUNDRAISING UNDERWAY FOR THE THIRD TEMPLE

Temple Mount activists are stepping-up efforts to regain control of the Temple Mount and begin efforts towards the construction of the Third Temple. Efforts by Chai Vekaiyam leader Yehuda Etzion and other Temple Mount activists brought about the first meeting which was held several weeks ago in Jerusalem in the hope of launching the "Temple Treasury" project to begin raising funds for the construction of the Third Temple.

Also involved in the project are Yoel Lerner and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and leaders of the Temple Mount Faithful organization. Etzion, who has been at the forefront of the battle to regain Jewish control of the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temple, points out that Jewish law dictates that the Jewish people make preparations for the building of the final temple. This, he explains, includes the raising of the necessary funds to undertake the project. He explained the monies collected would be traded for gold, which must be set aside for the time when construction could get underway. Etzion added the project would increase awareness among Jews, with many then asking themselves, "What have I done today to bring the construction closer to becoming a reality?"

In June 1967, Israel liberated the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, the holiest site to the Jewish people, but saw fitting to place control of the site in the hands of the Moslem Wakf, which until today, has barred Jews from praying on the Mount and denying them Freedom of Worship. The High Court of Justice has repeatedly called to permit Jews to pray on the Mount, but has always placed the final decision in the hands of Israel police permitting the cancellation of Jewish prayer at anytime police thought the public safety may be compromised. To date, police have always used the clause to deny Jews permission to pray on the Mount and the Wakf threats of violence in light of any attempts by Jews to pray have succeeded in keeping the area off limits to Jewish worshippers. Etzion and his followers as well as the Temple Mount Faithful organization, continue to call for the expulsion of the Wakf and demand the government of Israel take control of the Holy Site, and once again cleanse it of foreign deities and begin preparations for the construction of the Third Temple. (IsraelWire)

NEW MOSQUE UNDER TEMPLE MOUNT

In total disregard for local building laws and codes, and the preservation of archeological artifacts, the Moslem Wakf in charge of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City has erected another new mosque which occupies approximately 1,000 square meters (about 10,000 square feet). The project was undertaken primarily by the Islamic Movement run by Israeli Arabs. The destruction of walls, ancient ruins, removal of artifacts and the entire project was accomplished without any supervision of officials of the Israel Antiquities Society, a move which experts now admit may have disturbed or destroyed some of the most important archeological finds in the capital. Adnan al Husseini, the executive director of the Wakf stated in response on Monday, "We do not need any building permits or licenses since this is a Moslem controlled site. This has been our policy since 1967." According to Amir Drori, who heads the Israel Antiquities Society, since the opening of the Hashmonean Tunnel in September 1996 and the bloody Arab riots that followed, his organization has ceased its practice of constantly monitoring the sited under Wakf control. Senior police commanders admitted being aware of the ongoing Wakf construction explaining they have an understanding that as long as the construction goes on quietly, they would not intervene unless receiving orders from "higher up." (IsraelWire)

SECULAR JEWS FOR THE TEMPLE

"With Causeless Love We Will be Rebuilt." So reads a new bumper sticker being distributed by an organization named "Secular Jews for the Temple," whose goal it is to promote Jewish awareness of the Temple and the Temple Mount. (Arutz-7) spoke with one of its members, Ahuvyah Tabenkin of left-wing Kibbutz Ein Harod. "It's true that we don't exactly represent a majority of secular Kibbutz members," he said, "as most of them are busy building themselves materialistically, but the pioneers have always been a minority - the Zionists were a minority among the Jews, those who came to the Land were a minority among the Zionists, those who worked the land were also a minority, and now this group is a minority as well. But I hope that soon we will be the leaders."

The fact that the Arabs pray from there to Mecca, but at the same time don't let us up there [at will], makes the Temple Mount into a symbol of our Exile and humiliation. Similarly, instead of ordering the police to enforce Jewish fundamental rights to pray there, our Supreme Court leaves the decision to the police, according to whether it's 'convenient' or not... Historically, too, the Mount was not only a place of sacrifices, but also a place of prayer and a symbol of our nationhood. The Arabs, too, feel that as long as they control the Temple Mount, they have a chance to banish us totally from the Land."


THE ISSUE OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT

From Yeshivat Har HaBayit

(originally published in Yibane HaMikdash, issue 75)

A. Introduction

It is common knowledge that the Rabbis of our generation have prohibited Jews from entering the Temple Mount. The Rabbis state that the actual location of the Temple Structure is not known. Since it is uncertain where a Jew may go without first attaining a level of purification (mandated by Jewish Law when entering the confines of certain areas of the Temple Mount), it is said that Jews must not tread on the entire Temple Mount. In other words, the assumed conclusion regarding the Temple Mount is that no Jew should take the risk of incurring the punishment of "kareit" (cutting off the soul from the Jewish People) by entering the area of the Temple while being impure.

It is the purpose of this paper to analyze the issues and sources concerning entering the Temple Mount. Upon reading the following pages the reader will, with G-d's help, understand the position of the Rabbis of our generation and compare them to the positions of Rabbis of previous generations concerning the Temple Mount. We are convinced that the issues are clear and that with some thought and conviction the reader will discover the centrality of this modern Jewish problem to all of Jewish thought. Additionally, we hope the conclusion reached will foster the courage required to make what which is wrong, right and that which is a desecration, a sanctification.

B. The Silent Rabbis

The impression world Jewery now maintains concerning the issue of entering and maintaining control over the Temple Mount is a false one. In contradiction to the idea that all contemporary Rabbis have forbidden entrance to the Temple Mount, we find the following modern Rabbinical opinions:

1. The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Mordechai Eliyahu: Upon reading about the Jews going up to the Temple Mount wrote, "I am happy to hear about your yearning for Zion, however we must protect that the Children of Israel will enter the *permitted places* in purity and holiness. Hashem should strengthen you and He should be with you. Amen, it should be His Will."

2. The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Goren: I hereby notify that because of the danger of a takeover of the Temple Mount by Moslems and despite the Halachic rules that would apply, for the purpose of protecting the sovereignty it is no only permitted, but it is a holy commandment ("mitzvah") to go up to the Temple Mount. We learn that to protect the Temple it is permitted to enter even the Holy of Holies. So much more so to enter the Temple Mount in order to stop an Arab takeover and protect our sovereignty, it is permitted and a commandment. Concerning us, when the purpose is to free the Temple Mount from a takeover by goyim, the more knesset members and other Jews that go up will bring a greater result. The suggestion is not to enter with leather shoes and to go to the mikvah the same day.

3. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavicher Rebbe: During Sukkot 5751 (1990), the Rebbe told the Jewish People to go to the "Place of the Temple", in the permitted areas, and celebrate the "Simchat Beit HaShoeva" (celebration of the water drawing) in the greatest and highest level of happiness. He continued by saying that by doing so, the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of Mashiach will be hastened.

4. The Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv & Jaffa, Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi: The law pertaining to entering the Temple Mount is one of the simplest and clearest. It is known that we aren't allowed to make a decree by ourselves, to forbid the permitted. It is incumbent upon the people in charge to devote their time and energies and make every effort possible to allow and encourage Bnei Yisrael to enter the permitted areas.

5. The Chief Rabbi of Netanya, Rabbi David Chaim Shlush: It is good to be accustomed to going up to the Temple Mount in our times to the permitted places.

6. The Rabbi of Kiryat Moshe, Rabbi Avraham Shalom David: I read the material on the Temple Mount and I, hereby, join the recommendation of the Chief Rabbi to go up to the Temple Mount to the permitted places and Hashem will be with you. Amen, it should be His will.

7. The Kabbalist, Rabbi Yichya Alsheich: The Rabbis permitted the sacrificing of the Passover offering and the daily "Tamid" offering on the spot of the alter. We are allowed to go up to the Temple Mount to search for the spot of the alter and to make preparations that are required for such. Hashem should give you favor, kindness, and grant success so we should merit the rebuilding of the Temple, speedily in our times, Amen.

8. Rosh Yeshivat Paecha Ya'acov, Rabbi Levy Nachmani: Since the conquest of Jerusalem, the requirement to build the Temple and to bring sacrifices has been renewed. There is a special requirement of the Bet-Din (Rabbinate) of the generation and the Kohanim. Negligence in building the Temple will bring punishment. The commandment of conquering the Land of Israel cancels Shabbat and therefore cancels the prohibition of impurity. It is therefore worthy of every man and woman to go up to the Mount and show a constant Jewish presence and thus prove the ownership of Am Yisrael over the Temple Mount can even without going to the mikvah. The one who does up to the Temple Mount after going to the mikvah is even better. Hashem should allow us to witness speedily the full sovereignty of the People of Israel over the Temple Mount, the Temple built in its place and the sacrifices renewed speedily in our times, Amen.

9. Grandson of Rav Kook, Rabbi Eliyahu Shlomo Ra'anan: I, hereby, join the call from the Rabbis recommending to go up to the Temple Mount, into permitted areas, because it is clear without any shadow of a doubt. My grandfather, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook never said the "aliyah" to the permitted spots is forbidden. It is surely a great mitzvah to free the holiest site from the goyim, bud done in the proper way.

C. Permitted Places

Most of the previously mentioned Rabbis talk about the "permitted places." This phrase is taken directly from the Rambam (Maimonides), Laws of the Temple, Chapter 7, Law 7. The Rambam rules, "even though the Temple is destroyed ... a Jew is obligated to revere the Temple as if it were built. Only enter the permitted places and do not sit in the 'Azara' (Temple Courtyard) ... as it says, 'guard My Sabbath and revere My Temple', just as the Sabbath is forever, so too is the reverence for the Temple eternal, even though it has been destroyed."

The opinion of the Rambam not withstanding, there remains the question the Rabbis pose, "How do we know where the permitted areas are?"

Today, the Temple Mount is three times its original size. Most of what is deemed the Temple Mount in our time is, in face, no different than any other part of Jerusalem. The extreme northern and southern parts of the Temple Mount are, according to all opinions, not part of the actual Mount. Almost all opinion maintain that the extreme western side is not part of the Mount (which means that the Western Wall is not the wall of the Temple nor is it part of the Mount). All opinions state that the Temple stood in or near the center of the Temple Mount.

Should one decide to take *all* Rabbinical opinions into account (although some contradict another) one would remain with the majority of the land mass which constitutes the Temple Mount today, as "permitted places". Of the actual Temple Mount, only a small section of is housed the Temple and the Temple courtyards. The following quotation from the Rambam, Laws of the Temple, Chapter 7, Law 15: "the Temple Mount is holier that it [Jerusalem] as zavim, zavot, nidot, and yoledet (impure people who require a clean week and ritual immersion to become pure) do not enter. You are permitted to bring a dead body onto the Temple Mount, and there is no need to even mention that a person impure from contact with a dead body can enter." Tractate Sota 20b.

If a person purifies himself by immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath) or natural spring, he may enter without any reservation the area of the

D. Conquest

Perhaps the most important aspect of the Temple Mount issue deals with the concept of "conquest". That is to say, gaining and maintaining control over the Temple Mount. The Rabbis maintain that the law on entering only the permitted places applies during normal circumstances. However, the Rabbis rule that there are times when this law is nullified by more important considerations. There are situations mandating that a person enter the holiest of places in the Temple despite the fact that he is neither a Kohen nor spiritually pure. As an example of this idea our sages tell us: to build the Temple, to make repairs and continued maintenance, or to remove something impure all constitutes positive reasons for entering the forbidden areas of the Temple. (Tractate Eruvin 105a, Torat Kohanim Emor 3,11 and the Rambam's Laws of the Temple 7,23, etc.)

The rationale behind permitting impure people the entrance to the holiest areas of the Temple Mount is quite simple. A person entering these areas in order to fulfill one of the above-mentioned tasks is doing so for the sake of the entire people, not for his own self- aggrandizement. Therefore, service in the Temple for the sake of the nation nullifies any impurity that the person may have. This rule also applies to other commandments connected to serving the people of Israel.

There remains little question that the law of conquest applies as one of the reasons for entering the holy ares while impure. In order to conquer the Temple Mount from the hands of the enemy, the impurity is nullified. This idea was mentioned in the decree by Rabbi Levi Nahmani concerning the verse, "My Sabbaths you shall guard and My Temple you shall revere ..." (Vayikra 16:30)

Both the guarding of the Sabbath and the revering of the holiness of the Temple appear in the same verse; we therefore draw a connection between the two. As we know from the book of Joshua 5:15, the Jews conquered Jericho on the Sabbath (to teach us that conquest takes precedence over the Sabbath). The same rule, therefore, applies to the Temple Mount. The act of conquering that which Hashem has instructed supersedes that which can be attained or adhered to another time. There is no act of purity or impurity as long as the Temple Mount remains out of our hands. Conquering the Mount takes precedence over impurity.

The reader may pose the following: "Since the Temple Mount has already been conquered from the hands of the enemy, there is no longer a commandment to conquer the area." In other words, the impurity of the soldiers who conquered the Mount during the Six-Day War was nullified as is the impurity of the soldiers and police who continue to guard it, but an ordinary Jew, not in uniform, will not be fulfilling the commandment of conquest simply by entering the Mount.

To answer this question properly we must first fully understand the concept behind the commandment of conquering the Land of Israel. The Ramban (Nachmanides) in the Sefer Mitzvot states that the conquest of the Land of Israel is the fulfillment of the commandment to settle the land. It is not enough, according to the Ramban, for a Jew to merely live in the land; he must remove the enemies from within it. Rashi, in his commentary on the verses Bamidbar 33:52-53, writes that to live in the Land of Israel you must first conquer and expel the enemy.

Thus, we find in the Book of Joshua 3:10 as the Jews stand poised to enter the waters of the Jordan River, the words of Joshua to the Jewish Nation: "Hereby you shall know that the living G-d is among you, and He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaani, the Hitti, the Hivvi, and the Perizzi, and Girgashi, and the Emori and the Yevusi [all inhibitors of the Land]."

In the Tractate Gitten 8b, the Rabbis permitted a Jew to tell a gentile to write a deed of sale on Shabbat in order for the Jew to buy the land of the gentile in Israel. The Rabbis justified this undoing of a Rabbinic prohibition because of the performance of the great mitzvah of "settling the Land of Israel". Rashi adds: "for the sake of settling the Land of Israel, to expel the gentiles and to settle the Jews in place of them." The Ribash (a contemporary of the Ba'al Turim) wrote in a responsum on this gemara: "the Jew who buys a field from a gentile is better than the one who goes to live in the Land, because the aliyah is only for himself and for the here and now ... but settling the Land (buying the field) is a deed that holds merit forever and serves the purpose of the entire People of Israel in order that the Holy Land not remain in the hands of the impure."

Finally, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook was once asked why we do not make a blessing on aliyah to Israel. His answer was: "the fundamental purpose of the commandment to settle Israel is to redeem the land from strangers and the gentiles ... for this reason there was not enacted a blessing for aliyah as is only the first step and not completion of the commandment." (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Maimon, 5734, page 427)

As our Rabbis have demonstrated, the Jewish people has failed in the performance of the obligation of settling the Land as long as Arabs control any part of Eretz Yisrael, let alone the Temple Mount. When the Temple Mount, the place where G-d reveals His majesty to His People and the entire world, how is it possible that the Jewish People allow a continued foreign occupation? Indeed, we find that the commandment of conquest is incumbent on every Jew, whether a soldier, a policeman, or a concerned Jew. Every act of removing foreign ownership, possession, and sovereignty over any part of Israel, especially the Temple Mount, is an act of conquest.

All those who venture up to the Mount soon realize that it is the Arabs, under the auspices of the Moslem religious council, that are in virtually complete control of our Holiest Site. Jews are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount. Jews are forbidden to perform any Jewish rituals on the Temple Mount. Jews are forbidden to walk freely on the Temple Mount. Jews are not permitted the same freedoms the tourists are given while on the Temple Mount. Is the very act of ascending the Mount, wearing a skullcap or hat and tzitzit, in themselves, acts leading to conquering the Mount and redeeming it from the hands of the enemy?

There are two ways of answering this question. First, this question should be approached from an aspect of Jewish Law. The question arises in the Tractate Baba Batra 100a. In this gemara the Rabbis debate the issue of demonstrating ownership. Can a person show ownership by walking over the area in question or are other acts required? It is apparent from the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 192) that the law is similar to that where the Rabbis hold to show ownership an individual must do more than merely walk on a piece of land. However, the Rabbis do concur with Rabbi Eliezer concerning the path of the grape pickers (i.e. a public path). The Meiri points out that the public shows possession over a path by simply walking. Since any Jew ascending the Temple Mount is not trying to attain personal ownership of the land, but is reclaiming the ownership for the entire Jewish People, the actual walking on the Mount is an act of conquest; Second, mere common sense dictates that if masses of Jews were simply to go up to the Mount we would express our desire for Jewish Sovereignty.

E. Historically

For almost 1500 years after the destruction of the Second Temple there are historical accounts of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. The following are citations from the Sefer Har HaBayit by Shaul Shefer, pages 341-345:

1. 363 C.E. Julian Caesar, the Byzantine, returns Jerusalem to the Jews in the days of Hillel the third and allows them to build a Temple. An earthquake destroyed the building materials stored in Solomon's Stables.

2. 640 C.E. Kalif Omar Ibn-Chatub cleans and repairs the Temple Mount, allows 7 Jews to settle there and build a yeshiva.

3. 940 C.E. The Karaite writer, Solomon Ben-Yerucham, writes about a synagogue on the southern side of the Temple Mount and the arguments between the Rabbis and Karaites caused the Jews to lose their foothold on the Mount.

4. 1000 C.E. Rabbi Avraham Berachia wrote about a synagogue and yeshiva that the Jews built on the Temple Mount.

5. 1165 C.E. The Rambam visits Jerusalem and prays on the Temple Mount.

6. 1287 C.E. The Meiri writes that he heard that the custom is to enter the Temple Mount.

7. 1476 C.E. Jews enter el-aqusa for a hearing about the Ramban synagogue.

These accounts disprove the contention of the Rabbis and common knowledge. The reason Jews have refrained from entering the Mount for the past several hundred years is that of the prohibitions of the Turks and Arabs. It is disgraceful that an anti-semitic decree has been turned into a self-imposed Rabbinic prohibition.

F. The Punishment (Kareit)

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, as well as the Rabbis of the Eda Charedit, have stressed their fear of Jews entering the Mount while impure and risking the punishment of "Kareit" (cutting off of the soul). As has been stated above, if a Jew ascends the Mount to fulfill the commandment of conquest or other public duties concerning the Temple or sacrifices, the impurity is nullified. For this reason, there is no punishment of "Kareit". Moreover, there remains a doubt as to whether an impure person who enters the Mount not for the sake of the public or conquest will be punished with "Kareit". The Rambam does not state anywhere that entering the forbidden areas while the Temple is destroyed will be punished with "Kareit". The Meiri, also, makes this point as does the Migdal David.

It is ironic, though, that these same Rabbis are not concerned about the risk of "Kareit" resulting from not sacrificing the Passover offering. It is clearly stated in the Torah that a ritually pure person who knowingly does not bring the Passover lamb on the 14th day of Nisan is punishable by death. Of course, the Passover offering can be brought even when the entire nation is impure from the contact with the dead, as is the case with every public offering.

G. What is Wrong with the Rabbis?

How can one explain the inaction of the Rabbis who agree that we can enter the Temple Mount? How can one explain those who distort the truth and prohibit entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount? After 2,000 years of prayers asking that G-d return Zion and speedily rebuild the Temple, what excuse could there be for preferring the Wall of Tears over the House of G-d?

The best possible answer can be found in the book, "Em HaBanim Smecha" written by Rabbi Yisachar Teichtel. Rabbi Teichtel was a chassid who lived in Hungary and perished in the holocaust. While on the run from the Nazis, he wrote a powerful book quoting sources from memory. He confronts the question that haunts many Jews, "why were so many religious Jews and Torah scholars killed during the holocaust?" His answer is unequivocal, the religious Jews and Torah scholars watched the secular Zionists return to Zion; and they did not learn from their
actions. Jews who prayed thrice daily for the return to Zion should have immediately realized that if secular Jews are leaving the exile, how much more so they. By turning their backs on the Land of Israel, Rabbi Teichtel writes, their fate was sealed. G-d hates hypocrisy and punishes those who invoke His name in vain.

Many religious Jews yet maintain that the Temple will fall from heaven when G-d deems it proper. This belief is akin to those who maintained that while sitting in exile there would appear the wings of an eagle which would scoop them up and whirl them off to the Land of Israel.
Obviously, the latter never happened and the former is less likely to occur.

It is not the purpose of this work to delve into the intricacies of the failings of contemporary religious and Torah thought. It is enough we realize that this thought has caused the Torah world to miss the opportunity to define the meaning of the return to the Land as it ought to be defined, in Torah terms. They turned their back on the building of a nation and of an army while leaving it in the hands of the secularists. To add to the disgrace, the Torah world has now left the Temple Mount in the hands of secularists who have turned it over to the enemy. Our Temple remains in ruins while an alien building sits in its place.

H. Conclusion

There is but one way to redeem the Temple Mount and but one way to renew the sacrifices and build the Temple. Action! Sitting in a state of atrophy will not only allow the status quo to continue, it will cause needless and unimaginable suffering to the Jewish People. Just as we witnessed the destruction of six million Jews because of inaction concerning the return to Zion, so will we endure terrible tragedy should we opt for the same inaction concerning the Temple Mount.

The fate and destiny of the Jewish People and their redemption are in the hands of each and every Jew. All that is required is will and faith of Jews to enter the Temple Mount until we have the numbers to demand its return to its rightful owners. If every one would make the commitment needed to redeem the Mount it will surely be speedily in our hands.


ISRAELI POLICE FEAR CHRISTIAN SUICIDES AT TEMPLE MOUNT

Israeli police are preparing for the possibility that messianic Christians will attempt to commit suicide on the Temple Mount as the millennium approaches, according to the Jerusalem police commander Yair Yitzhaki.

Yitzhaki confirmed that 10 members of a Denver doomsday cult, Concerned Christians, had arrived in Israel. Cult members sold their belongings and left the Denver area in October.

Cult experts have warned that cult members might head to Israel on orders from their leader, Monte Kim Miller. Miller has said he will die in Jerusalem in December 1999 and be resurrected three days later.

Al Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in the Islamic world. In biblical times, the first and second Jewish temples stood there.

The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, is in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war. It is considered the most sensitive spot in the Mideast conflict.

Some Christian cults believe the destruction of the mosques will lead to the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, hastening the end of the world and the second coming of Christ.

The Israeli government has allotted $12 million to upgrade security at the Temple Mount amid concerns that Jewish or Christian extremists might attack the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques at the site. The additional money would pay for the deployment of 400 policemen and security devices such as closed circuit cameras and sensor pads, Israel radio said.

Israel expects millions of Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Land during the millennium. The government's anti-terrorism adviser, Meir Dagan, has proposed security measures to deal with extremists. (By Jack Katzenell, AP, November 23, 1998)

(Editor's note: It is unfortunate that all Christians will tend to be judged in Israel by the actions of some pseudo-Christian cults. Bridges for Peace continues to actively work building bridges of reconciliation between Christians and Jews. In the light of the actions of extreme groups such as "Concerned Christians," it is vital that our work continue as we work to break down centuries-old walls of misunderstanding between Christians and Jews.)

Bridges for Peace (BFPIsrael@compuserve.com)
Clarence H. Wagner, Jr., International Director - Jerusalem
November 27, 1998


ISLAMIC VERDICT ON RELIGIOUS UNIFICATION

added November 21, 1998


Published Monday, October 19, 1998, in the San Jose Mercury News

Jewish movement to rebuild ancient temple gathers steam

Once-radical cause enters mainstream of Israeli politics

BY LAURIE COPANS
Associated Press
JERUSALEM

AT THE foot of the Temple Mount, dozens of people waving Israeli flags and blowing rams' horns crowded around a man with a knitted skullcap shouting into a bullhorn. The time has come to rebuild the Jewish Temple destroyed two millenniums ago, said Gershon Solomon of the Temple Mount Faithful, a group that advocates razing two of Islam's most sacred sites of worship, the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques, which were long ago built on top of the site where Judaism's sacred temple once stood.

``We came to say to the whole world that the Arab occupation of the Temple Mount is finished forever,'' Solomon said before leading his followers up a ramp to the mosque compound's Moghrabi Gate during a rally recently. Underscoring his point, Solomon brought along a flatbed truck carrying a 4 1/2-ton marble ``cornerstone'' for a new temple. Israeli police blocked Solomon at the Moghrabi Gate and prevented the truck parked about 200 yards away from unloading its cargo.

Only a decade ago, people like Solomon were dismissed as eccentrics on the fringe of Israeli society. Most observant Jews avoided the Temple Mount, heeding rabbis' rulings not to tread on such holy soil unless they have undergone an extensive ritual of purification. However, in recent years Jews seeking to reclaim the Temple Mount have moved increasingly into the mainstream, winning support from some rabbis and prominent politicians.

A Jerusalem convention of the movement in September drew an enthusiastic crowd of 1,000, double last year's turnout. Musicians in biblical costumes coaxed wailing sounds from silvered trumpets like those played at ceremonies in the ancient Jewish Temple before it was razed by Roman soldiers. A large oil painting depicted a fantasy scene of modern Jewish pilgrims filing out of tour buses into a new shrine. Experts who track extremist groups warn that the movement's growing popularity could encourage violence. Israeli police reportedly beefed up their watch over the Temple Mount recently amid warnings that Jewish militants were plotting attacks on Muslims worshipers. The slightest confrontation could trigger violence at the spot, known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary. When rumors spread one day in October 1990 among Muslims that Solomon and his followers planned to take over the mosque compound, riots erupted among Palestinians. Israeli police stormed the site and killed 17 Palestinians. Sheik Ahmed Yassin -- leader of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement -- predicted that an attempt by Jewish militants to seize control of the Islamic shrines would lead to a blood bath.

``They will start a fire in which they shall perish,'' Yassin warned. The Temple Mount is in the walled Old City, which was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war. Immediately after the war, then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan handed Muslim clerics from the Islamic Trust, or Waqf, autonomy in administering the mosques. Jews could enter the compound, but could not pray. Dayan did not want to provoke the Muslim world by taking control of the Temple Mount. And because of the rabbinical ban on Jews visiting the site, he faced no domestic opposition.

The 1967 war planted the seeds for the movement to reclaim the Temple Mount for the Jews. Israel's capture of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem -- part of the biblical Land of Israel -- was seen by some as a sign from God that the messianic age of redemption was drawing near, a time to rebuild the Jewish Temple. At first, there were just a few firebrands, such as Solomon and Yehuda Etzion, who served four years in prison in the 1980s for plotting to blow up the mosques. Occasionally, such militants would try entering the compound. Police would bar them and they would disband or, sometimes, get arrested. But in recent years, the movement to reclaim the Temple Mount has gained a new respectability.

In 1995, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then the opposition leader, asserted the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. At the temple movement's September convention, Deputy Education Minister Moshe Peled sent videotaped greetings. ``Without a doubt, there is an increase in numbers,'' said Hanan Porat, a legislator in Netanyahu's coalition and a patron of the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank and Gaza. Porat said he and Peled were helping to lend greater legitimacy to the movement.

The immediate goal, he said, is to get permission for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, until the day ``when, with the help of God, the Waqf won't be there.'' Ehud Sprinzak, an academic who studies right-wing groups in Israel, said that as long as Jerusalem's future is uncertain, Jewish radicals will probably not feel compelled to take action. However, this would change if Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat goes ahead with plans to declare a Palestinian state in May, with east Jerusalem as its capital, or if the Israeli government agrees in a future peace agreement to give up parts of the city, Sprinzak said. Porat and others who encourage the temple radicals are playing with fire, said Menachem Friedman, a sociologist at Bar Ilan University. ``No one can be sure where it will end.''


1. CORNERSTONE BLOCKED BY POLICE

I arrived at the Western Wall Plaza at 9:20 am this morning just in time
to see the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement's procession
arrive within yards of the Temple Mount entrance. About 50-75 of the
movement's supporters were singing and waving flags and placards while
waiting for the cue from the rally's organizer, Gershon Salomon to ascend
up the narrow path that leads to the entrance of the Temple Mount. It was
clear that even before the marchers attempted their ascent that they
would not be permitted by police who had previously barricaded the
entrance to prevent any disturbances. Surprisingly, the actual
cornerstone was nowhere near the group's procession and remained
relatively unnoticed on a flatbed truck outside the Dung Gate in an Arab
parking lot covered by an Israeli flag. The group did approach the
Mugrabi Gate's entrance but was immediately halted by security police and
told to leave. The marchers soon after turned back and quietly dispersed.

In contrast just a short distance away, the Western Wall was packed with
thousands of Israelis who came to the Wall in order to hear the annual
Aaronic benediction from (Numbers 6:24-26). This ancient blessing is
recited by a Cohen (priest) during the fourth day of The Feast of
Tabernacles over the people and nation of Israel. Ironically, most people
at the Wall seemed unaware or unconcerned of the Temple Mount and Land of
Israel Faithful Movement's attempt at bring the cornerstone of the Third
Temple up to the Temple Mount.

Gershon Saloman, the leader of the Temple Mount Faithful told reporters,
"We know that we are living in a special and exciting time of the
redemption of the people an the land of Israel, the Temple Mount and
Jerusalem. We are doing and shall continue to do everything that the
Third Temple will soon be built in our lifetime for the honor of the God
of Israel". (Bradley Antolovich-NRFJ)

October 7, 1998 ~ Tishrei 17, 5759
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NO AUTHENTIC THEOLOGICAL REASON WHY MOSLEMS SHOULD NOT RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS THE CAPITAL OF THE JEWISH STATE OF ISRAEL

by Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi

JERUSALEM, July 10, 1998, Root & Branch: From an Islamic point of view, is there any fundamental reason which prohibits Moslems from recognizing Jerusalem both as an Islamic Holy Place and as the capital of the State of Israel?

I realize that a negative answer to the above question is taken for granted by popular opinion. My approach, however, is not based on popular opinion or the current political situation, but on a theological analysis of authentic Islamic sources.

JERUSALEM IN THE KORAN

The most common argument against Moslem acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is that, since al-Quds [Jerusalem] (1) is a Holy Place for Moslems, Moslems cannot accept that it is ruled by non-Moslems, because such acceptance amounts to a betrayal of Islam.

Before expressing our point of view on this question, we must reflect upon the reason for which Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa [the Al Aksa mosque] hold such a sacred position in Islamic faith.

As is well known, the inclusion of Jerusalem among Islamic holy places derives from al-Mi'raj, the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad to heaven. The Ascension began at the Rock, usually identified by Moslem scholars as the Foundation Stone of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem referred to in Jewish sources.

Recalling this link requires us to admit that there is no connection between al-Miraj [the Ascension] and Moslem sovereign rights over Jerusalem since, in the time that al-Miraj took place, the City was not under Islamic, but under Byzantine administration. Moreover, the Koran expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays for Jews the same role that Mecca does for Moslems.

We read:

"...They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qiblah), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other's direction of prayer..." (2)

All Koranic commentators explain that "thy qiblah" [direction of prayer for Moslems] is clearly the Ka'bah of Mecca, while "their qiblah" [direction of prayer for Jews] refers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

To quote only one of the most important Moslem commentators, we read in Qadn Baydawn's Commentary:

"Verily, in their prayers Jews orientate themselves toward the Rock (sakhrah), while Christians orientate themselves eastwards..." (3)

In complete opposition to what "Islamic" fundamentalists continuously claim, the Book of Islam [the Koran] - as we have just now seen - recognizes Jerusalem as the Jewish direction of prayer.

Some Moslem commentators also quote the Book of Daniel (4) as a proof for this.

After reviewing the relevant Koranic passages concerning this matter, I conclude that, as no one denies Moslems complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view - despite opposing, groundless claims - there is no reason for Moslems to deny the State of Israel - which is a JEWISH state - complete sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom,
Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
Rome, Italy

-------------------------

NOTES

1. Arabic name of Jerusalem, from the root q-d-s, meaning "holiness." It is an abridged form of Bayt al-maqdis, "the sanctified House" or "the House of the Sanctuary", an exact equivalent of the Hebrew Beth ha-mikdash. The name originally referred only to the Temple Mount, and was afterward extended to the City as a whole. This extension of meaning became common among Arabs from the tenth century C.E. onwards. Earlier Islamic sources use the name Iliyia, an adaptation to Arabic pronunciation of the Roman name Aelia.

2. Koran 2:145.

3. M. Shaykh Zadeh Hashiyyah 'ali Tafsir al-Qadn al-Baydawn (Istanbul 1979), Vol. 1, p. 456.

4. Daniel 6:10

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, of Rome, Italy, is Moslem Co-Chairman of the Root & Branch Association's Islam-Israel Fellowship, which encourages a positive Moslem attitude towards Jews and Israel based on a re-examination of the authentic teachings of Mohammed as revealed by the Koran and Hadith (Islamic oral tradition). Dr. Asher Eder of Jerusalem, Israel, is the Jewish Co-Chairman of the Islam-Israel Fellowship.

Prof. Palazzi is also Secretary General of the Italian Muslim Association, an Imam (spiritual teacher) of the Italian Islamic Community, and holds a Ph.D in Islamic Sciences by decreee of the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


THE TEMPLE AS AN ECONOMIC CENTER

by Rav Elitzur Segal

(translated by Aharon Halamish, halami@inter.net.il)

[first article in a series]

We principally think of the Temple as a spiritual center.

However, there is another side, which we normally disregard, that the Temple was also a very powerful economic center, through which a tremendous amount of money passed. As an economic center, it bought and sold agricultural produce - plants, spices, wine, metals, woven materials and also animals. The center also dealt with problems of employing workers, including strikes, medical insurance, the devotion of workers and their good name, and also put out tenders for suppliers, transferred money and expensive materials in guarded caravans, was damaged by thieves and all kinds of robbers, and employed many means of collecting debts applied against those who refused to pay.

a) Constant income - the half shekel

The financial year of the Temple commenced on the first of the month of Nissan. According to the Mishna, in the Shkalim tractate, on this date they started using income from the new year and financial surpluses from the previous year were transferred for other uses.

Which income arrived on the first of Nissan?

Every Jewish male from the age of thirteen years and one day and above was obligated to pay half a shekel to the Temple. The value of this coin is about between seven and ten grams of pure silver. At today's prices - about ten NIS. In the year 1984, the government company for medallions and coins issued, with the blessing of the Chief Rabbis of that time, the Rav Shlomo Goren and the Rav Ovadia Yosef, a coin, a remembrance of the half shekel, which compared with the ancient coin of half a shekel. This coin is made from ten grams of pure silver and about two additional grams of another metal, and its price is 75 NIS, not because of the value of the metal, but because of its neumistic value in following years.

Women and minors are not obligated to pay the half shekel. However, if they gave it, it is received from them. A minor, whose father began giving the half shekel on his behalf for one year, is not permitted to stop giving, and must continue to give on his behalf.

Gentiles are not permitted to participate in the half shekel. Even if they gave voluntarily, it is not received from them, because this money is dedicated to public sacrifices for the whole of Israel.

However, a gentile is permitted to give a sacrifice in the Temple of the type "Olat Nedava" (a voluntary sacrifice). He can also make a sacrifice even today to the Almighty anywhere where he builds a platform, this being, however, forbidden for Jews. This is because Jews are only permitted to make sacrifices in the Temple, as I explained in a previous articles in "Yibane Hamikdash" and in "Tchumin".

This amount is, of course, relatively small and it was sufficient only when the organization for collection was very extensive, or when other incomes flowed to the temple. At the beginning of the period of the second temple, this amount was in fact not enough and therefore, for the purpose of the half shekel, a Persian coin was given. This was the "drachon", whose values was four times that of the value of the shekel appearing in the Torah. Over a period of time, the sum was gradually reduced, until the half shekel returned to its original value. For the purpose of the half shekel, all members of Israel are equal. That is to say, no one can say "I shall give a whole shekel or more". He can only give the amount which he is obligated to give. Even during the period when all Israel gave more than half a shekel, an equal amount was given even by women and minors, for whom the giving of half a shekel was voluntary. They are not permitted to add to or to reduce from this amount.

This is because these moneys are dedicated to obligatory sacrifices in which every man from Israel is equal, and no one has a greater privilege than another in the sacrifices.

From this, we learn that the equality of the giving has the meaning that we, Israel, when coming before the Almighty, are all equal in His eyes, with no distinction between a rich or a poor person. Everyone is desirable to the same extent.

It is worthwhile adding, that the individual can not bring, on his own behalf, the permanent sacrifice which is sacrificed every day, for the same reason: everyone from Israel has the same part in the constant sacrifice and no one has preference over anyone else.

On the first of Adar, the announcements were made regarding the obligation to give half a shekel to the Temple for the new year. Even in our period, we read in the Torah, on the Sabbath preceding the new moon of Adar, the portion concerning the half shekel in the Torah, as a remembrance of the Temple. On the 15th of Adar, the money changers in the Temple began setting up their tables - the collection points - in many places. Even in our time, we have the custom of giving charity on the eve of Purim, and this is called "half a shekel", as a remembrance of the Temple.

On the 25th of Adar, the central treasury in the Temple was opened and from this date it began to employ collection methods against those who had not yet paid. The collectors came to the house of the person who had not paid, and took articles as a pledge, in order to guarantee the payment on time of the half shekel. However, the messengers were not permitted to enter the house. The owner of the house would select an article and give it to them as a pledge. If the owner of the house refused to give a pledge to the representatives of the court, they were required to return to the court in order to obtain explicit permission to remove a pledge.

Means of collection were not employed against Cohanim, because of reasons of peace, despite the fact that they were also obligated to give half a shekel, since they themselves were sacrificing the sacrifices. It was enough to apply moral pressure on them.

In general, there was a lack of coins of half a shekel. As a result, the treasurers collected a payment for changing larger coins into the smaller coins of half a shekel. One who gave a coin of a whole shekel and received from the treasury two coins of half a shekel in exchange, was obligated to pay for the exchange process. He paid with a small coin called a "colbon". Even in the case where two people gave a whole shekel for both of them, they were obligated to give a "colbon" to the Temple in addition to the shekel that they gave. However, if someone gave a shekel for himself and for another person who was not obligated by law, he was not charged an extra "colbon". If a man gave a shekel for himself and for his wife, or for himself and for his small child, he did not have to give a "colbon" to the Temple.

After the treasurers collected all the amount that the inhabitants of a particular region were obligated to pay, they sent the money to the Temple in Jerusalem. At this stage, the coins of half a shekel were exchanged for coins of greater value to facilitate transporting them. The messengers carrying the shekels to Jerusalem were considered to be "paid guards". It seems, that the economic center of the Temple had a security company - therefore, as paid guards, they were obligated to report cases of theft and loss and were free of responsibility in the case where it was not their fault. A ship that sank in the sea, for example, or an armed robber, were considered cases of duress. The "security company" whose employees were paid watchmen, were required to take an oath. However, the question arose, to whom were they required to swear, to the treasurers or to the inhabitants of the town, who had contributed the money?

In addition, there was a question of under which conditions would the economic office of the Temple be required to bear the loss and under which conditions would the inhabitants of the region, that had sent the half shekel, have to pay for the loss?

"Three times in a year, the economic office were contributing". In other words, the economic office issued money to the treasurers for current expenses, such as the purchase of animals for sacrifices, Levona, incense, wood, wine, oil, flower, woven material, etc., required by the Temple. How did they take out money for the treasurers?

Three times in a year, money was removed for the office: on the first of Nissan, on the 24th of Iyar and on the 29th of Elul (always 15 days before a festival). They put three boxes into the office, each box having a volume of three "Se'in" (about 9 liters), and they filled it with coins. If the money provided by those who gave half a shekel had been transported by a ship, for example, from Zor to Jerusalem, and unfortunately the ship was sunk or was robbed on the 2nd of Nissan, the "security company" was obligated to swear to the treasurers, since on the first of Nissan, money had already been removed from the office. In other words, those who had sent the money had calculated that the money would arrive for the first transfer (on the first of Nissan) and that all the money would have arrived as a contribution to the office before money was transferred from the office to the treasurers. The money that had already arrived and the money that had not yet arrived despite the fact that those who had given it thought that it would arrive on time, are already considered to be money belonging to the office. This is the principle. Therefore, the loss was caused to the Temple, and the security company had to swear to the treasurers.

However, if the ship had sunk or had been robbed before the first of Nissan, it was considered as if it had not yet been sent to the Temple and had not yet entered the treasury of the Temple, even if it was on its way there. According to this principle, the security company had caused damage to the inhabitants of the town because it had not brought their money to the Temple on the correct date. They therefore had to swear to the inhabitants of the town that they had not carried out a crime, and the inhabitant of the town were obligated to bear the damage and send alternative money to the treasury of the Temple.

We see here an interesting method of solving the problem of claims of negligence. An oath - placing a person against his conscience. Had he been negligent in his guarding. Even today, under suitable conditions, this method of investigating claims of negligence is preferable to the methods employed in law courts, which cause prolongation of cases and blocking of the legal system.

When the moneys arrived at the Temple, they were reconverted into coins of half a shekel and deposited in the central treasury.

It is interesting to note, that according to the New Testament, when Jesus the Christian went up to Jerusalem and saw the money changers in the Temple court, who exchanged the money of the pilgrims for the money required for purchase of the various types of the sacrifices, and the sellers of pigeons who sold pigeons to women who had given birth and were obligated to bring them as a sacrifice, he saw this as profanation of holiness and caused a great commotion in the Temple court. Here we see the tremendous difference between us and Christianity. What he saw as a profanation of holiness, we consider to be greater holiness. Making money and materialism subservient to holiness is the greatest form of holiness.

The half shekel was intended for public sacrifices and money was not deducted from it for other purposes, such as building the walls or making repairs to the Temple. Only at the end of the financial year were the surplus amounts transferred for other purposes.

b) Varying incomes

In addition to the half shekel, the Temple received other amounts on a non-permanent basis. If there was not enough money in the boxes of the half shekel, the other amounts were re-allocated for the purpose of purchasing sacrifices.

What were these moneys?

In the central collection point in the Temple, there were 13 trumpets. These were boxes built in the form of a trumpet, broad at the bottom and narrow at the top. Each box was intended for a different payment of the Temple expenses. The boxes were constructed in this shape so that it would be impossible to steal from them. A person would be unable to put his hand into the box in order to give money, as it were, and at the same time remove a coin of a larger value than that he had given. There were 13 trumpets of this type at all the collection points, that were set up at various places (the tables).

One of the trumpets was for the half shekels of the current year and another for the half shekels of the previous year.

One trumpet was intended for the use of women who had given birth. Such a woman was obligated to bring a pair of doves as a sacrifice, one as an "olah" and the second as a sin offering. The sages referred to this pair of doves as a "nest". Some of the women who had given birth used to come to the Temple in order to see how their sacrifice was being made. However, not all the women who had given birth, even if they lived in Jerusalem, were able to do so. Therefore, a woman who had given birth, who had placed the price of a pair of doves into the box in the Temple - i.e., into the appropriate trumpet - could be sure that by the evening her sacrifice would have been made. In other regions of the country, women who had given birth gave the appropriate amount of money to the Temple treasurers, who made sure that the money was transferred to Jerusalem and used for making sacrifices on behalf of the women.

Another trumpet was used for providing a gold coating in the Temple. Those who had contributed gold for coating the house of the Holy of Holies with gold, gave the gold in the appropriate box. There was no need for daily work using this gold. It was not stored in the treasury, but instead a golden vine was made for it, having leaves, berries, and bunches. This was placed on the entrance to the Temple, apparently because David compared the people of Israel to a vine, in the book of Psalms. When there was need, some of this gold was taken for maintenance work in the Temple.

This vine greatly impressed visitors to the Temple. A Roman historian relates, that he did not know what the Jews worshipped and there were those who believed that they worshipped the God of wine, because of the vine which was placed on the entrance to the Temple. However, he did not believe this, since the ritual to the wine god was accompanied by rejoicing, but the Jews were always very sad - presumably since drunkenness amongst Jews was considered by him to be sadness.

There were other trumpets into which contributions were given for additional purposes, such as wood, incense, etc.

Families who had the franchise for the supply of wood to the Temple, made those days when they went up to Jerusalem to give the wood, into special rejoicing days, which were called "the days of the sacrifice of the wood".

There were also contributions, not made through the trumpets. Contributions were made to the Temple even of such things as building materials. It is related of Rabi Hanina, that all the inhabitants of his town brought sacrifices to the Temple and he did not have anything to give. He took a stone, engraved it, and wished to take it up to Jerusalem, but did not succeed in hiring workers at a price which he could afford. The Almighty arranged five angels for him in human shape, who only requested five "Sla'im", whose value today is about 20 NIS, and they took his stone up to Jerusalem. When he wished to pay their wages, they vanished. They told him in the hewn stone chamber: it appears that the serving angels brought your stone to Jerusalem. He gave to the sages the money that he had wished to pay to the angels.

There was also an office for vessels in the Temple, where vessels contributed to the Temple were stored. Every 30 days, the treasurer entered and examined the vessels. Vessels that were needed for the Temple, were put into current use. Vessels that were not needed, were auctioned every month - the person who offered the greatest amount bought it.

In general, the Temple operated in a way that today we would call correct administration. Everything that had been dedicated but was not required immediately, was auctioned - the person who made the greatest offer bought it.

It should be emphasized, that the Temple itself was also obligated to participate in these auctions and it would make the first offer. The minimum price that it was permitted to offer was four Prutot - at today's prices a coin of ten Agorot. The reason was, that if the owners themselves redeemed the article, they had to give an additional fifth. Therefore, in order that there would be significance to the fifth, they had to offer a price for which the additional amount was one Pruta.

This is the place to point out that the Halachic fifth was an overall fifth, which included the amount paid. That is to say, a quarter. For example: the fifth of a shekel is 25 agorot and not 20 agorot. This is because the fifth is calculated as a fifth of 125 agorot, that is to say, a fifth of 125%. In the language of the sages, "a Malbar fifth", from outside.

All the amounts, apart of course from those that were dedicated to voluntary sacrifices, were used for renovation of the Temple - that is, for the maintenance work of the Temple. Surpluses were used for improving the appearance of Jerusalem, and repairing and renovating roads, used by the pilgrims when going up to Jerusalem.

The obligatory sacrifices were financed only from the half shekels - no one from Israel was able to say that his contribution to the obligatory sacrifices was greater than anyone else's.

In addition, the Temple also dealt with social security. It had a special office, where money was contributed for charity. The treasurers from this office looked after poor people of a good background, secretly. In the following articles, we shall see the deep involvement of the Temple in the social welfare policy of the entire country. (MIKDASH-BUILD, 8 Adar 5758, Volume II, Number 9).


THE TEMPLE AS AN ECONOMIC CENTER

Second Article: The Temple Treasury as a Political Factor

by Rav Elitzur Segal

(translated by Aharon Halamish, halami@inter.net.il)

The treasury of the Temple was used not only for the direct purposes for which it was intended - for current expenses and renovations of the Temple - but was also indirectly a form of national saving fund used by the government in times of emergency. The enemies of Israel attempted to gain control of this treasury, from time to time, as part of their attempt to gain control of Yehuda.

A. The treasury of the Temple during the period of the first Temple

During the whole period of the first Temple, the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries appear as one unit. It is always written that in peaceful periods, the kings deposited money and the equivalent of money in the Temple treasury and in periods of emergency used it.

Three conquests of Jerusalem took place in the period of the first Temple and during all three of them the treasuries of the Temple of G-d and the royal treasuries are referred to as a single unit, as part of the loot of the conquerors.

During the period of Rechav'am, the son of Solomon, Shishak, the king of Egypt, conquered Jerusalem for a short period, and amongst the loot that he took, it is stated that he removed the treasuries of the Temple of G-d and also the treasuries of the royal house.

Yo'ash, the king of Israel took all the silver and gold and all the vessels which were found in the Temple and in the royal treasuries.

Nebuchadnezzar took the treasuries of the Temple and the royal treasuries, both after the first conquest in the period of Yehoyachin, and also after the destruction in the days of Zidkiyahu.

It is related that four kings used the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries, in order to bribe foreign kings and to get out of danger.

Assa removed silver and gold from the Temple treasury and from the royal treasuries and sent them to Ben Hadad from Damascus, in order that he would fight against Ba'asha, the king of Israel, and would save him. This bribe succeeded in removing the threat of the king of Israel from Yehuda.

Yo'ash, the king of Yehuda, used the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries in order to bribe Haza'el, the king of Aram, who conquered Gat, in the land of the Philistines, and wanted to also go up to Jerusalem. Haza'el changed his plans and returned to Aram and left Jerusalem alone.

Achaz sent the silver and gold in the Temple and the royal treasuries to Tiglat Pil'eser, the king of Ashur, in order that he would save him from the siege placed upon him by the king of Aram and the king of Israel. In this case also, the bribe succeeded and the king of Ashur went up to Damascus and Shomron and conquered them.

Hizkiyahu took all the silver and gold in the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries and gave it to Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, in order that he would not go up to Jerusalem. For this purpose he even chopped off the doors of the Temple, which were coated with gold, and sent them to the king of Ashur. We have not found such a thing in the case of any other king. Before his time, no king dared to make use of part of the Temple itself. Actually, the sages said that in this matter the sages did not agree with Hizkiyahu, even though he was a righteous king. This act, as opposed to what his predecessors had done, did not succeed. The king of Ashur took the treasures, but despite this went up to Jerusalem.

Perhaps these things are really interconnected. Since Hizkiyahu damaged the Temple itself, the Almighty influenced the heart of the king of Babylon so that he would not accept his present, and would go up to Jerusalem. This was in order to teach Hizkiyahu that despite all the importance of political international considerations, the Almighty is, however, the ruler of them all, and Jerusalem was saved from the threat of conquest not because of the statesmanship of Hizkiyahu but through a miracle.

However, we have not found criticism in the Bible or in the words of the sages regarding the use of the Temple treasures during times of emergency for the people and the country, or an allegation that this is embezzlement of holy things of the Temple. Perhaps the explanation is that the Temple treasury was a kind of national emergency treasury for use during periods of emergency and the holy treasury was originally intended for this purpose. This was so, even though parts of the Temple itself were apparently forbidden to be used.

b) The Temple treasury during the period of the Second Temple

We have no source in the Bible for use made of the Temple treasury for state purposes during the period of the Second Temple. We have to rely on evidence appearing in the external books - the books of Hashmonaim and the books of Josephus Flavius.

At the beginning of the period of the Second Temple, the money was used for current expenditures for the needs of the Temple and surpluses had not yet accumulated. Not only this, but the building of the Temple was only enabled as a result of massive support from the Persian government, when Coresh and afterwards Daryavesh and Artachshasta allocated tremendous amounts of money to the construction of the Temple and the safeguarding of the current work in it.

However, it appears, that immediately after the beginning of the period of the Greece government, the situation changed and the kings of Greece began collecting money from the Temple treasury. During the period of the rule of Yehonatan, the brother of Yehuda the Maccabi, one of the pretenders to the throne, Selvacius, attempted to draw the Hashmonaim to his side. Amongst other promises, he promised Yehonatan not to make further deductions from the Temple treasury of five thousand silver shekels, which from the first years had been deducted from the Temple income every year. (On a rough estimate, with today's values, we are talking of a sum of about 50,000 NIS). It appears, that this was a tax that was paid considerably earlier than the period of the evil Antiochus. However, we do not know when this tax was first deducted from the money of the Temple treasury. It is likely, that the tax was applied immediately after the beginning of the Greek period, and that they found a tax that had already existed since the end of the Persian period. In any case, we have not found a source which says that the application of a tax to the Temple treasury caused bad relations between the Jews and the Greeks.

However, the relations between the Jews and the Greeks became very bad during the period of the father of the evil Antiochus, Selevcus, who attempted to confiscate the Temple treasury.

The crisis arose from an internal conflict in the Jewish leadership and not as a result of external pressure. One of the important inhabitants of Jerusalem had an argument with the High Priest regarding the management of the market. It can be assumed that the subject of the dispute was so marginal that the people who made the account did not bother to describe it at all, or perhaps they did not know what it was about. After that particular person did not succeed in overcoming the High Priest, he applied to King Selevcus, and informed him that tremendous treasures were found in the Temple treasury, and it would be advisable that they be confiscated and sent to the royal treasury. Selevcus sent a representative called Heliodus, who announced that he had come to pay a routine visit.

After he had examined the Temple treasury, he announced to the High Priest that he had come for the purpose of confiscating all the money and transferring it to the king. After tremendous excitement was caused by this act in Jerusalem, Haliodus in the end left the treasures and did not take them with him. He informed the king thatif he had an enemy that he wanted to get rid off, it would be a good idea to send him to Jerusalem.

From this historical event we have learnt two principal things. The first is the tremendous treasures stored in the Temple treasury, and the second concerning sources of the treasure:

The Temple treasury at that time amounted to 400 cicars of silver and 200 cicars of gold.

The weight of a cicar is about 30 Kg. Therefore, in the Temple treasury there was at that time 12 tons of silver and 6 tons of gold. At today's values, this amounts to about 12 million NIS of silver and about 100 million NIS of gold. The sources of the silver of the treasury were generally from deposits, of orphans and widows, and the rest came from the deposits of a very rich person called Horkanus Ben Tuvia.

Therefore, it appears, that the Temple treasury acted as a kind of bank, which provided guarding services to people who deposited money there, even though it is not related whether this guarding was done for payment or not.

This conclusion, that internal disputes cause national crisis, continued throughout the entire period of the second Temple: the revolt of the Hashmonaim occurred during the period of the son of Selevcus, who attempted to rob the Temple treasury. This was Antiochus the fourth, Epiphanes, who is known to us as Antiochus the Evil. The revolt did not commence at once, but was proceeded by many provocative acts.

Antiochus appointed a High Priest called Menelaos, because the latter promised him 300 silver cicars. Menelaos returned his debts by means of robbery in general, and specifically the robbery of the Temple vessels. This act caused commotion in Yehuda. An open revolt against Menelaos took place while Antiochus was fighting in Egypt. After returning from there, he thought that the revolt was against him, and therefore put it down with great bloodshed. He conquered the Temple and robbed all its treasures and vessels, that came to a total of 1800 cicars. At today's values we are talking about 540 million NIS.

This robbery was the catalyst for the revolt of the Hashmonaim, which occurred a little later. Here also, we should remember that Antiochus was drawn into an anti-Jewish policy as a result of the internal disputes amongst the Jews. It should be assumed that were it not for Menelaos and his Helenized friends, the Jews could have worshipped the Lord quietly, without attracting the hostile attention of the evil king.

During the period of the revolt and the reconstruction period which followed it, the Temple treasury was emptied. According to the sages, we know that the Hashmonaim did not have the money to make a golden Menorah, and therefore made it from simple metal. When they became richer, they made it from silver, and only afterwards, from gold. However, as was the case before the revolt, after a lot of money had become accumulated at the Temple, the Temple treasury once again became a factor in the internal and external policy of the people of Israel.

After many years, and as a result of an internal dispute, the Temple treasury was once again damaged.

The sons of the queen Shlomzion, Horkanus and Aristoblus, fought one another for the kingdom. A war of this type invited a crisis. However, in this case, in addition to the internal crisis, an external one occurred. Pompius, the Roman, arrived with his legions in Asia. When he came to Antiochia (in modern times, Antakia in

Turkey), he informed the two brothers who were fighting one another that they should come to him and he would decide who would rule over Yehuda. Pompius decided in favor of Horkanus. The supporters of Aristoblus did not accept this decision and Pompius conquered Jerusalem by force. It is clear that Pompius and his legions did not come to the region in order to take a breath of fresh air, but without the extreme internal crises, perhaps they would have come to an arrangement with him, that would have been better for the Jews and their country.

When Pompius conquered Jerusalem, there were in the Temple treasury 2000 cicars of silver of the holy moneys, apart from the Temple vessels. At today's prices we are talking of about 600 million NIS. Pompius, as a careful statesman, avoided touching them, in order not to arouse unnecessary resistance. Flavius gives this as a fine example of righteousness, despite the fact that at the time of his reception, Pompius entered the house of the Holy of Holies.

However, the Temple treasury was not saved for a long time. One of the Roman leaders, Craseus, wished to go to war with the Partheans. In order to finance this war, he came to Yehuda and took the Temple treasury that Pompius had left there, amounting to 2000 cicars, and also took an ingot of gold of 300 mana (a mana is about half a kg). That is to say, the ingot weighed 150 Kg of gold, which are equivalent to about 2,000,000 NIS. In Flavius's words, the value of the rest of the Temple vessels was then 8000 cicars, which is almost 3 milliard NIS, apart from the treasury(!). They were saved after giving the gold ingot covered with wood which was used for supporting

the curtains of the Temple. After the robbery of the Temple, Craseus set off to the war with the Partheans and he and all his army were destroyed there.

The Temple treasury is mentioned again at the time of the destruction. Flavius relates, that at the time of the destruction itself, the Roman set fire to the offices where tremendous sums of silver, heaps of the Priest's robes, and many other valuables were deposited. This was a place where, in practice, all the riches of the Jews were accumulated, because the rich people transferred all their valuable property there.

One priest, who received from Titus a promise under oath that he would be saved on condition that he would remove the Holy valuables, gave two Menorot that were similar to those placed in the Temple, tables, chalices and bars, all made from pure gold and very heavy, and also the curtains and the robes of the High Priest, together with precious stones and many ancillary vessels, which were used for the work in the Temple. The treasurer of the Temple, Pinchas, was also taken prisoner and he gave to the Romans the cloths and the robes and much purple and scarlet cloth that was deposited there for safety for the purpose of repairing the curtains, together with a tremendous amount of other forms of incense, that the priests mixed together and offered as incense every day to the Lord, and many other valuable articles, including holy decorations. As a result, he was awarded an amnesty intended for those fleeing, despite the fact that he was forcibly captured.

It is therefore not surprising, that after the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, the value of gold throughout Syria dropped to half its previous value.

Apparently, even after the destruction of the Temple, the Jews continued to collect money and valuable materials for the Temple treasury and hid them in many safe secret places. One of the Roman Ceasars even made a coin to commemorate his success in uncovering such hidden treasures, and it appears that their collection continued until after the period of the revolt of Bar Kochva.

This review of the history of the Temple treasury in the period of the first and second Temples, teaches us that the Temple treasury was not only a financial source for the current functioning of the Temple, but also formed a kind of national saving fund for periods of emergency for the kings, and also provided protection services for the general public.

The desire of enemies to rob the Temple treasury performed an important political function, and was the principle catalyst for the revolt of the Hashmonaim and the revolt of the destruction.

The conclusion arising from the history of the Temple treasury is, that it is impossible to be a rich and weak people. Without the capability of power to defend the treasure, it is impossible to be rich.


CHILDREN WANTED FOR THE FUTURE TEMPLE SERVICE

An ultra-orthodox Jewish sect is searching for parents willing to hand over newborn sons, to be raised in isolation and purity in preparation for the rebuilding of the Biblical Temple in Jerusalem.

Only members of the Jewish priestly caste (Kohanim) need apply,according to a report in the Haaretz newspaper, dated March 1st.

The Movement for Establishing the Temple wants to keep the children in a secluded compound in the hills of Jerusalem.

"The idea is to raise a child, who from the moment of birth will nottouch the dead, not be under the same roof with the dead, and will not even be in a hospital...where the dead are also found,'' Yosef Elboim, the rabbi assigned to finding willing parents, told Haaretz.

Once the boys turn 13 they will be able to slaughter and burn a sacred red heifer, literally a holy cow, and sprinkle its ashes on people, in a purification ritual last performed in Biblical times.

The ritual is meant to cleanse those who have come into contact with the dead and prepare them for the reconstruction of the Temple destroyed in 70 AD. "Today, when there is no one undefiled who can prepare the ashes in a state of purity, there is a problem, which we intend to solve with the help of priestly children," Elboim said.

Even if willing parents step forth, the sect will still face a majorproblem -- finding an unblemished red heifer. (Reuters)

IINS News Headlines <http://www.iinsnews.com> March 2, 1998.. 4 Adar 5758.. Volume III, Number 397


ARAFAT''S MUFTI CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF U.S.

For the second time in two months, a senior Palestinian Authority official, appointed by Yasser Arafat, has called for the destruction of the United States. The PA's Islamic mufti, Ikrama Sabri, made the remarks during his Friday (September 12) sermon delivered at the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem. The sermon was broadcast on the official PA radio station VOICE OF PALESTINE, immediately after the station carried a 10-minute address to Palestinians by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Excerpts follow: "Oh Muslims, we must raise our voices against America, its ally Britain and all the infidel nations and say that Israel is stealing our land and establishing illegal settlements ...Why does America support settlements in Israel? Are the settlements not terrorism? And therefore, America is the chief of the terrorists. Oh Allah, destroy America, her agents and her allies!

"Cast them into their own traps, and cover the White House with black! Oh Muslims, our brothers in faith everywhere, the purpose of the American Secretary of State's visit to Palestine is to support the Israeli position regarding deceitful security and fanatical settlements...The strategic covenant between Zionism and the Crusaders [Muslim reference to Christians] is a satanic alliance hostile to Islam and the Muslims and we expect no good from it. The Muslim masses in Palestine and the world over condemn Albright's declarations issued today and in the past two days. The masses condemn America's pro-Israeli stance, which demonstrates that global forces, the heretics, the terrorists and those filled with hate are forging an alliance against Islam and Muslims ... Oh Allah, destroy America, her agents and allies! Allah, raise the flag of Islam over the Al-Aksa mosque, Jerusalem and Palestine..."

According to the Israeli government press office, the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (September 7 1997) has reported that the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation -- under whose auspices the VOICE OF PALESTINE operates -- has received US government funding.


SHEIKHS INCITE TO VIOLENCE IN FRIDAY SERMONS

In the weekly Friday sermon delivered at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ismael Nohaba stated on July 18, 1997: "Jihad (Moslem Holy War) is a commandment which we are obligated to carry out. Only when this nation launches a Jihad against the Zionist thieves and the hate-filled settlers, will we fulfill our obligation towards Allah. The Children of Israel were enemies of Islam from the outset and continue, to this day, the fight against it with all the means at their disposal... Our battle against them is a religious war." IMRA reports that in the previous week's sermon, PA appointed "Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine" Sheikh Ekrima Sabri said: "Oh Allah, destroy America, for she is ruled by Zionist Jews... Allah will paint the White House black!.. Allah shall take revenge on behalf of his prophet against the colonialist settlers who are sons of monkeys and pigs....Forgive us, Muhamad, for the acts of these sons of monkeys and pigs, who sought to harm your sanctity." Both weeks' sermons were broadcast on the PA's official radio station, Voice of Palestine. (Arutz-7 News: Wednesday, July 23, 1997)


MOST JEWS WANT JEWISH PRAYER ON TEMPLE MOUNT PERMITTED

By: Aaron Lerner

The following are the results of some survey questions relating to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The face-to-face survey of a representative sample of 1,500 adult Israeli Jews was carried out before and after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research. >  The results were provided to IMRA by Amnon Ramon of the Jerusalem

Institute for Israel Studies. Ramon told IMRA that "the results >indicate just how important the Temple Mount is to Israeli Jews. The Palestinians should be aware of these results so that they can appreciate just how great a sacrifice an Israeli compromise on the Temple Mount would be for the Israeli public."

1) The Temple Mount is very important to me as a part of Jerusalem: 93% of total sample, 82% of Tel Aviv residents, 65% of non-observant.

2) The Western Wall is very important to me as part of Jerusalem: 99% of total sample

3) It is important to me that should be able to pray on the Temple Mount: 84% of total sample, 73% of non-observant.

4) Are you ready to consider giving the Temple Mount to the Wakf? 70% Not prepared

5) 79% Do not seriously consider Palestinian sovereignty on the Temple mount in return for Palestinian recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall.

(Dr. Aaron Lerner, IMRA imra@netvision.net.il 24 July, 1997)


COURT ALLOWS PRAYER ON TEMPLE MOUNT

A Jerusalem court has made a revolutionary decision regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. The chief judge of the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, Amnon Cohen, ordered the police this afternoon to permit the head of the Temple Mount Faithful, Yehuda Etzion, to pray on the site. The prayer will take place without a prayer book, prayer shawl, phylacteries, or minyan (prayer quorum), and in silence. Judge Cohen also canceled the longstanding restraining order which had prevented Etzion from entering Jerusalem's Old City. The prosecution announced that it would appeal the decision, and the judge ordered that his decision not be carried out before Sunday in order to allow the police to prepare for the prayer. Yehuda Etzion declared that this was an historic decision. (Arutz-7 News: Thursday, July 24, 1997)


WAQF REFUSES TO PAY MILLIONS IN TAXES

The Muslim Waqf, responsible for the Temple Mount and Moslem affairs in eastern Jerusalem, has decided not to pay its debt of millions of shekels to Israeli income tax authorities. Adnan Husseini, head of the Waqf, has even threatened that any attempt by the authorities to physically collect the debt will be met with a "violent" response. He said that Israel is a "conqueror," and he does not recognize its authority to collect taxes. (Arutz-7 News Brief: Friday, July 25, 1997)


WESTERN WALL DIGGINGS COMPLETED

The archeological excavations at the Kings Valley project near the Western Wall of the Temple Mount have been completed. The excavations took three years at a cost of 55 million shekels. Among the discoveries at the site: remnants of Herodian edifices towards the end of the Second Temple and from the period of the destruction of the Second Temple. In addition, drainage canals and ritual baths used by pilgrims to Jerusalem were also found. The Antiquities Authority declared that the excavations at the Kings Valley site are among the most important ever conducted in Israel. The site will soon be opened to visitors, and it is estimated that a half a million tourists will visit it each year. (Arutz-7 News: Monday, July 28, 1997)


ISLAMIC LEADERS: NO PRAYER FOR JEWS ON TEMPLE MOUNT

The Chairman of the Islamic Endowment in Jerusalem, Adnan Al Husseini, has warned that Islam will never, under any circumstances, agree to Jews praying on the Temple Mount. In an interview with Voice of Palestine Radio, Husseini threatened to use violence against Jews if they attempt to pray on the Temple Mount. He accused the rabbis of Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) of being responsible for the attempts by Jews to pray on the Mount. Additionally, the sheikh in the Al-Aqsa mosque attacked the decision by the Supreme Court to allow Yehuda Etzion to pray on the Temple Mount in last Fridays sermon. "We will not stand idly by," threatened the sheikh, "and we refuse to obey the decisions of this racist court. The rabbis will not enter the Al-Aqsa mosque, not over our dead bodies and shrouds." His speech was broadcast live on Voice of Palestine Radio.


Red Heifer Web sites

1. Ashes of the Red Heifer

The birth of a red heifer in Israel is being hailed by religious Jews as a sign from God that work can soon begin on building the Third temple in http://www.yfiles.com/ashes.html - size 5K - 10 Jun 97

2. Cloning the Red Heifer

An exact duplicate red heifer(s) can be produced at any time. The timetable for the temple may not be the year 2000. With cloning any time after the year http://www.yfiles.com/ashes1.html - size 5K - 10 Jun 97

3. The Mystery of the Red Heifer Sacrifice

A link discovered between Jesus and the Red Heifer sacrifice. http://www.yfiles.com/ashes2.html - size 6K - 10 Jun

4. Prophecy Central: Red Heifer

Key Scriptures Current Events and Links See Also: The Temple. Key Scriptures. http://www.bible-prophecy.com/redheifer.htm - size 14K - 12 Jun 97

5. What the Bible Says About Heifer

When used as sacrifice, must be without blemish and must not have come under the yoke, Num. 19:2; Deut.21:3. http://bibleanswers.logos.com/BibleAnswers/r3601.htm - size 3K - 16 Aug 96


from The New Republic, April 28th 1997

IF I FORGET THEE: DOES JERUSALEM REALLY MATTER TO ISLAM?

by Daniel Pipes

The architects of the Oslo peace accords understood Jerusalem's power. Fearing that even discussing the holy city's future before less combustible issues are resolved would detonate the fragile truce between Israelis and Palestinians, they tried to delay this issue to the end. But they failed: riots met the opening of a new entrance to an ancient tunnel last September and now the building of apartments on an empty plot in eastern Jerusalem has brought the negotiations to a halt. As it becomes clear that the struggle for Jerusalem will not wait, the outside world must confront the conflicting claims made by Jews and Muslims on the city that King David entered three millennia ago.

When they do, they will no doubt hear relativistic cliches to the effect that Jerusalem is "a city holy to both peoples," implying a parallel quality to the Jewish and Islamic claims to Jerusalem. But this is false. Jerusalem stands as the paramount religious city of Judaism, a place so holy that not just its soil but even its air is deemed sacred. Jews pray in its direction, mention its name constantly in prayers, close the Passover service with the wistful statement "Next year in Jerusalem," and recall the city in the blessing at the end of meals.

What about Jerusalem's role in Islam? Its significance pales next to Mecca and Medina, the twin cities where Muhammad lived and which hosted the great events of Islamic history. Jerusalem is not the place to which Muslims pray, it is not once mentioned by name in the Qur'an or in prayers, and it is directly connected to no events in Muhammad's life. The city never became a cultural center and it never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state. Jerusalem has mattered to Muslims only intermittently over the past 13 centuries, and when it has mattered, as it does today, it has done so because of politics. Conversely, when the utility of Jerusalem expires, the passions abate and its status declines.

In A.D. 622, the Prophet Muhammad fled his home town of Mecca for Medina, a city with a substantial Jewish population. On arrival, if not earlier, he adopted a number of practices friendly to Jews, such as a Yom Kippur-like fast, a synagogue-like house of prayer, and kosher-style dietary laws. Muhammad also adopted the Judaic practice of facing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during prayer; "He chose the Holy House in Jerusalem in order that the People of the Book [i.e., Jews] would be conciliated," notes At-Tabari, an early Muslim commentator on the Qur'an, "and the Jews were glad." Modern historians agree: W. Montgomery Watt, a leading biographer of Muhammad, interprets the prophet's "far-reaching concessions to Jewish feeling" as part of his "desire for a reconciliation with the Jews."

But Jews criticized the new faith and rejected Muhammad's gestures, leading Muhammad to eventually break with them, probably in early 624. The most dramatic sign of this change came in a Qur'anic passage (2:142-52) ordering the faithful no longer to pray toward Syria but toward Mecca instead. (The Qur'an and other sources only mention the direction as "Syria"; other information makes it clear that "Syria" means Jerusalem.)

This episode initiated a pattern that would be repeated many times over the succeeding centuries: Muslims take religious interest in Jerusalem because it serves them politically and when the political climate changes, their interest flags.

In the century after Muhammad's death, politics prompted the Damascus-based Umayyad dynasty, which controlled Jerusalem, to make this city sacred in Islam. Embroiled in fierce competition with a dissident leader in Mecca, the Umayyad rulers sought to diminish Arabia at Jerusalem's expense. They sponsored a genre of literature praising the "virtues of Jerusalem" and circulated accounts of the prophet's sayings or doings (called hadiths) favorable to Jerusalem. In 688-91, they built Islam's first grand structure, the Dome of the Rock, on top of the remains of the Jewish Temple.

In a particularly subtle and complex step, they even reinterpreted the Qur'an to make room for Jerusalem. The Qur'an, describing Muhammad's Night Journey (isra'), reads: "[God] takes His servant [i.e., Muhammad] by night from the Sacred Mosque to the furthest mosque." When this Qur'anic passage was first revealed, in about 621, a place called the Sacred Mosque already existed in Mecca. In contrast, the "furthest mosque" was a turn of phrase, not a place. Some early Muslims understood it as metaphorical or as a place in heaven. And if the "furthest mosque" did exist on earth, Palestine would have seemed an unlikely location, for that region elsewhere in the Qur'an (30:1) was called "the closest land" (adna al-ard).

But in 715, the Umayyads built a mosque in Jerusalem, again right on the Temple Mount, and called it the Furthest Mosque (al-masjid al-aqsa, or Al-Aqsa Mosque). With this, the Umayyads not only post hoc inserted Jerusalem into the Qur'an but retroactively gave it a prominent role in Muhammad's life. For if the "furthest mosque" is in Jerusalem, then Muhammad's Night Journey and his subsequent ascension to heaven (mi`raj) also took place on the Temple Mount.

But, as ever, Jerusalem mattered theologically only when it mattered politically, and when the Umayyad dynasty collapsed in 750, Jerusalem fell into near-obscurity. For the next three and a half centuries, books praising the city lost favor and the construction of glorious buildings not only stopped, but existing ones fell apart (the Dome over the rock collapsed in 1016).

"Learned men are few, and the Christians numerous," bemoaned a tenth-century Muslim native of Jerusalem. The rulers of the new dynasty bled Jerusalem and its region country through what F. E. Peters of New York University calls "their rapacity and their careless indifference."

By the early tenth century, notes Peters, Muslim rule over Jerusalem had an "almost casual" quality with "no particular political significance." In keeping with this near-indifference, the Crusader conquest of the city in 1099 initially aroused a mild Muslim response: "one does not detect either shock or a sense of religious loss and humiliation," notes Emmanuel Sivan of the Hebrew University, a scholar of this era.

Only as the effort to retake Jerusalem grew serious in about 1150 did Muslim leaders stress Jerusalem's importance to Islam. Once again, hadiths about Jerusalem's sanctity and books about the "virtues of Jerusalem" appeared. One hadith put words into the Prophet Muhammad's mouth saying that, after his own death, Jerusalem's falling to the infidels is the second greatest catastrophe facing Islam.

Once safely back in Muslim hands after Saladin's reconquest, however, interest in Jerusalem dropped, to the point where one of Saladin's grandsons temporarily ceded the city in 1229 to Emperor Friedrich II in return for the German's promise of military aid against his brother, a rival king. But learning that Jerusalem was back in Christian hands again provoked intense Muslim emotions; as a result, in 1244, the city was again under Muslim rule.

The psychology at work here bears note: that Christian knights traveled from distant lands to make Jerusalem their capital made the city more valuable in Muslim eyes too. "It was a city strongly coveted by the enemies of the faith, and thus became, in a sort of mirror-image syndrome, dear to Muslim hearts," Sivan explains.

The city then lapsed back to its usual obscurity for nearly eight centuries. At one point, the city's entire population amounted to a miserable four thousand souls. The Temple Mount sanctuaries were abandoned and became dilapidated.

Under Ottoman rule (1516-1917), Jerusalem suffered the indignity of being treated as a tax farm for non-resident, one-year (and so very rapacious) officials. The Turkish authorities raised funds by gouging European visitors, and so made little effort to promote Jerusalem's economy. The tax rolls show soap as the city's only export item. In 1611, George Sandys found that "Much lies waste; the old buildings (except a few) all ruined, the new contemptible."

Gustav Flaubert of Madame Bovary fame visited in 1850 and found "Ruins everywhere." Mark Twain in 1867 wrote that Jerusalem "has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village."

In modern times, notes the Israeli scholar Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, Jerusalem "became the focus of religious and political Arab activity only at the beginning of the present century, and only because of the renewed Jewish activity in the city and Judaism's claims on the Western Wailing Wall." British rule over city, lasting from 1917 to 1948, further galvanized Muslim passion for Jerusalem. The Palestinian leader (and mufti of Jerusalem) Hajj Amin al-Husayni made the Temple Mount central to his anti-Zionist efforts, for example raising funds throughout the Arab world for the restoration of the Dome of the Rock. Arab politicians made Jerusalem a prominent destination; for example, Iraqi leaders frequently turned up, where they demonstrably prayed at Al-Aqsa and gave rousing speeches.

But when Muslims retook the Old City with its Islamic sanctuaries in 1948, they quickly lost interest in it. An initial excitement stirred when the Jordanian forces took the walled city in 1948 as evidenced by the Coptic bishop's crowning King Abdallah as "King of Jerusalem" in November of that year. But then the usual ennui set in. The Hashemites had little affection for Jerusalem, where some of their most devoted enemies lived and where Abdallah himself was shot dead in 1951. In fact, the Hashemites made a concerted effort to diminish the holy city's importance in favor of their capital, Amman. Jerusalem had served as the British administrative capital, but now all government offices there (save tourism) were shut down.

The Jordanians also closed some local institutions (e.g., the Arab Higher Committee) and moved others to Amman (the treasury of the Palestinian waqf, or religious endowment).

Their effort succeeded. Once again, Arab Jerusalem became an isolated provincial town, now even less important than Nablus. The economy stagnated and many thousands left Arab Jerusalem. While the population of Amman increased five-fold in the period 1948-67, Jerusalem's grew just 50 percent. Amman was chosen as the site of the country's first university as well as of the royal family's many residences. Perhaps most insulting of all, Jordanian radio broadcast the Friday prayers not from Al-Aqsa Mosque but from a mosque in Amman.

Nor was Jordan alone in ignoring Jerusalem; the city virtually disappeared from the Arab diplomatic map. No foreign Arab leader came to Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, and even King Hussein visited only rarely.

King Faysal of Saudi Arabia often spoke after 1967 of yearning to pray in Jerusalem, yet he appears never to have bothered to pray there when he had the chance. Perhaps most remarkable is that the PLO's founding document, the Palestinian National Covenant of 1964, does not even once mention Jerusalem.

All this abruptly changed after June 1967, when the Old City came under Israeli control. As in the British period, Palestinians again made Jerusalem the centerpiece of their political program. Pictures of the Dome of the Rock turned up everywhere, from Yasir Arafat's office to the corner grocery. The PLO's 1968 Constitution described Jerusalem as "the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization."

Nor were Palestinians alone in their renewed interest. "As during the era of the Crusaders," Lazarus-Yafeh points out, many Muslim leaders "began again to emphasize the sanctity of Jerusalem in Islamic tradition," even dusting off old hadiths to back up their claims. Jerusalem became a mainstay of Arab League and United Nations resolutions. The formerly stingy Jordanian and Saudi governments now gave munificently to the Jerusalem waqf.

As it was under the British mandate, Jerusalem has since 1967 again become the primary vehicle for mobilizing international Muslim opinion. A fire at Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 gave Faysal the occasion to convene twenty-five Muslim heads of state and establish the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a United Nations for Muslims. Lebanon's leading Shi'i authority regularly relies on the theme of liberating Jerusalem to inspire his own people to liberate Lebanon. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran's one-rial coin and 1000-rial banknote have featured the Dome of the Rock. Iranian soldiers at war with Saddam Hussein's forces in the 1980s received primitive maps marking a path through Iraq and onto Jerusalem.

Ayatollah Khomeini decreed the last Friday of Ramadan as Jerusalem Day, and the holiday has served as a major occasion for anti-Israel harangues.

Since Israeli occupation, some ideologues have sought to establish the historical basis of Islamic attachment to Jerusalem by raising three main arguments, all of them historically dubious.

First, they assert a Muslim connection to Jerusalem that predates the Jewish one. Ghada Talhami, a scholar at Lake Forest College, typically asserts that "There are other holy cities in Islam, but Jerusalem holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Muslims because its fate has always been intertwined with theirs."

Always? Jerusalem's founding antedated Islam by about two millennia, so how can that be? Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations explains:

"the Muslim attachment to Jerusalem does not begin with the prophet Muhammad, it begins with the prophets Abraham, David, Solomon and Jesus, who are also prophets in Islam." In other words, the central figures of Judaism and Christianity were really proto-Muslims.

Second, and equally anachronistic, is the claim that the Qur'an mentions Jerusalem. Hooper (and others) argue that "the Koran refers to Jerusalem by its Islamic centerpiece, al-Aqsa Mosque."

But this makes no sense: a mosque built a century after the Qur'an was delivered cannot establish what a Qur'anic verse originally meant.

Third, some Muslims deny Jerusalem any importance to Jews. Abd al-Malik Dahamshe, an Arab member of Israel's parliament, flatly stated last month that "the Western Wall is not associated with the remains of the Jewish Temple." A fundamentalist Israel Arab leader went further and announced that "It's prohibited for Jews to pray at the Western Wall." Or, in the succinct wording of a protest banner: "Jerusalem is Arab."

Despite these deafening claims that Jerusalem is essential to Islam, the religion does contain a recessive but persistent strain of anti-Jerusalem sentiment. Perhaps the most prominent adherent of this view was Ibn Taymiya (1263-1328), one of Islam's strictest and most influential religious thinkers. (The Wahhabis of Arabia are his modern-day successors.)

In an attempt to purify Islam of accretions and impieties, Ibn Taymiya dismissed the sacredness of Jerusalem as a notion deriving from Jews and Christians, and from the long-ago Umayyad rivalry with Mecca. More broadly, learned Muslims living in the years following the Crusades knew that the great publicity given to hadiths extolling Jerusalem's sanctity resulted from the Countercrusade-that is, from political exigency-and treated it warily.

Recalling that G-d once had Muslims direct their prayers toward Jerusalem and then turned them instead toward Mecca, some early hadiths suggested that Muslims specifically pray away from Jerusalem, a rejection that still survives in vestigial form; he who prays in Al-Aqsa Mosque not coincidentally shows his back precisely to the Temple area toward which Jews pray.

In Jerusalem, theological and historical claims matter, serving as the functional equivalent of legal documents elsewhere. Whoever can establish a deeper and more lasting association with the city has a better chance of winning international support to rule it. In this context, the fact that politics has so long fueled the Muslim attachment to Jerusalem has two implications. First, it points to the relative weakness of the Islamic connection to the city, one that arises as much from transitory considerations of mundane need as from the immutable claims of faith.

Second, it suggests that the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else. Jerusalem will never be more than a secondary city for Muslims.

In contrast, Mecca is the eternal city of Islam, the place where Muslims believe Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac's brother Ishmael and toward which Muslims turn to pray five times each day. Non-Muslims are strictly forbidden there, so it has a purely Muslim population. Mecca evokes in Muslims a feeling similar to that of Jerusalem among Jews: "Its very mention reverberates awe in Muslims' hearts," writes Abad Ahmad of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey. Very roughly speaking, what Jerusalem is to Jews, Mecca is to the Muslims. And just as Muslims rule an undivided Mecca, so Jews should rule an undivided Jerusalem.

Daniel Pipes is editor of the Middle East Quarterly and author of The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy (St. Martin's Press).


JERUSALEM: CITY OF PEACE, CITY OF WAR

by Clarence Wagner, Jr.

"We shall not, at any cost, accept the Jewish plan to continue their occupation of Jerusalem," said Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, in an interview with Saudi Arabia's daily newspaper "Okaz" last October. "Jerusalem is, and will forever be, the national capital of the Palestinian state," he said, emphasizing that Jerusalem should be surrendered to the Palestinians in accordance with U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338.

How can one city be the capital of two peoples?

Obviously, Jerusalem can't stand as capital of two states, and if the Palestinians persist in their drive to declare a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, they are headed on a collision course that will embroil Israel and the Moslem world in a future war.

Har Homa has become a Symbol

The conflict over Israel's building the new Har Homa neighborhood in southern Jerusalem has once again raised the issue of Jerusalem to the forefront of world affairs. It has now become a symbol of the struggle for the city of Jerusalem. Palestinian statements, which are issued almost daily, never fail to describe this site as "a new Jewish settlement" in "Arab East Jerusalem."

For those of us who live here, this is obviously a propaganda ploy to create an image in the minds of the world that somehow "poor defenseless Palestinians" who have been living peacefully on their property for thousands of years have been wrestled off their land by the "mean 'ol Zionist Jews." Nothing could be further from the truth. This is an uninhabited hillock adjacent to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo being developed for housing units for Jews and Arabs in a growing city. But how would the world know when they constantly hear the erroneous Palestinian description of the project.

Let's examine both of these statements:

1) The Palestinians say, "Har Homa is a new Jewish settlement."

No, it is not a settlement. It is a new neighborhood within the city limits of Jerusalem, built in the same manner as other new neighborhoods in Jerusalem, such as Gilo, East Talpiot, French Hill, Ramot, Neve Yaacov, etc. It is being built on an uninhabited hillock of 465 acres which is 75% Jewish-owned and, located adjacent to the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem. Additionally, the government did not just take the land, but paid handsomely for the land from the Jewish and Arab landowners. The project is not a new town or settlement in the West Bank, as the Palestinians claim, but a neighborhood housing development in the existing capital city of Israel: Jerusalem. 20,000 new housing units are being planned for the Jewish sector and 8,500 for the Arab sector - a ratio comparable to that of the Jewish and Arab populations in the city, e.g. 350,000 Jews and 150,000 Arabs, respectively. Furthermore, it is legal and permissible within the framework of the Oslo Accords, signed by the Palestinians.

2) The Palestinians say, "Har Homa is in Arab East Jerusalem, the part of Jerusalem that historically has had a majority Arab population."

No, this is not true either. Eastern Jerusalem comprises the Old City and the early neighborhoods built just outside the walls. This area was the ONLY Jerusalem until this century; there was no east or west. As far back as 1820, the Jewish community was the largest group in the city. Since 1875, there has been a Jewish majority in Jerusalem overall. The development of the city, due to the Zionist venture to restore the land of Israel, attracted large numbers of Arabs to Jerusalem as well. For example, the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina in the northern part of Jerusalem was a village under the British mandate, containing some hundreds of inhabitants. Today, it is a modern urban center of over 15,000 Arabs.

Jews and Arabs have always lived together in Jerusalem. The only time that Jews were not living in the Old City and areas in the eastern part of Jerusalem, was between 1948-1967, when the Jordanian army killed or evicted the Jews and destroyed over 53 synagogues and Jewish religious institutions. Jewish property was then confiscated by the Arabs, Jewish tombstones were used as paving stones and lining stones for Jordanian army latrines, and Islam overshadowed and marginalized the Christian institutions that remained (See next article for details).

Certainly, there is genuine frustration on the side of the Palestinians who have been indoctrinated by their leaders to strive for a dream that can never be realized, i.e., a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other country except Israel and the Jewish people. Even when the Moslems ruled in this region, their capital city was Ramle on the coastal plain near Israel's Ben Gurion airport. Yet, Palestinian leaders still tout this impossible dream of Jerusalem as their capital, which can never be if they want to co-exist with Israel.

Even the Palestinian Authority's concept of their state is much more than just Gaza and part of the West Bank. They see it, and official PA maps show it, as extending all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Even the most moderate among the Palestinians, who might be happy with a limited state in the West Bank and Gaza, see this as being "Judenrein" (without Jews). This is certainly unrealistic, considering that one million Arabs live in Israel who aren't being asked to move. Why should Jews who live in the West Bank and Gaza move from their homes?

As long as the Arab leadership continues to sell their expansionist Islamic vision, the Arab masses will riot and work violently to stop any activity that will create co-existence and genuine peace between Jews and Arabs.

If anything, Har Homa could be a symbol of peace, with Jews and Arabs living in close proximity, working together for a better future.

However, what this controversy has shown is the Arab desire to keep the Jews out of Jerusalem. A PA spokesman made it clear in an interview on CNN, when he said they did not want the Har Homa neighborhood because Jerusalem is an Arab capital, and they did not want to deal with more Jews.

Islam's Goal

An inevitable war with the Islamic world over Jerusalem is coming into view over the horizon.

In fact, according to a poll published on April 3rd, most Israelis believe another war with Arab states is on its way if the crisis in the peace process is not defused. The poll shows that 59% percent of people questioned believe there is a "strong possibility of conflict" between Israel and the Arabs; and that faith in the peace process is on the wane in Israel, following violent Palestinian protests against the construction of the Har Homa neighborhood.

The Arab/Moslem reaction is far out of proportion to the scope of the project. It has become another symbol to provide the Arab/Moslem world with opportunity to squeeze more concessions out of Israel.

One of Islam's main goals is the acquisition of "Islamic territory."

Regarding Israel, they believe all the land comprising the State of Israel, from the Jordan River to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, is Islamic territory. Therefore, for them, the "Peace Process" is a process of claiming territory for the Arab/Moslem world, not a real process of reconciliation and compromise that we understand and work to achieve in the Western world. The Western concept of "peace," as "to bury the hatchet and resolve the conflict" is a totally foreign concept in the world view of Islam.

Islam defines the world into two parts, the "Dar es-Salaam," the "House of Peace;" and the "Dar el-Gharb," the "House of War." All non-Moslems, including Israel, Jews, Christians and the Western world, are in the House of War, and therefore outside the realm of reconciliation with the Islamic, House of Peace.

While no one in Israel really wants a war or even this ongoing conflict, it is thrust upon Israel and the West by the Moslem world which sees war as a natural option to achieve their goals.

Furthermore, the Moslem world fully understands the Western concept of compromise to achieve peace, and that peace is preferred to war. This is not the case in the Moslem world, and they see our desire to compromise as a weakness.

The Arab/Moslem world is using the "Peace Process," which has become an idol to the West, as a tool to achieve their own goals. Just look at the "Peace Process" thus far, and you will see that when the Arabs are not getting enough concessions, they invoke the following formula: 1) take an issue and create a "mountain out of a molehill;" 2) spark terror and riots; 3) make war-like pronouncements, and then, 4) watch the Western powers and the UN run in and force Israel to concede territory and sovereignty, "for the sake of peace."

The Moslem world has our number and they are dialing it regularly!

This Spring we have seen three more suicide bombings in Israel; petrol bombs thrown at vehicles, one forcing a bus full of Israeli soldiers over a ravine; mass riots in the territory under Palestinian Authority control; the Arab League adopting a resolution calling on the Moslem world to re-establish the boycott against Israel; denunciations by Arab leaders against Israel; war-like pronouncements from Egypt and other Arab leaders; a trip by King Hussein to Washington; and then the ritual visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, to get scolded by the U.S. government about building on Har Homa and then coerced to give the Palestinians something else they really want.

The Inevitable Conflict

Israel is always the one being severely criticized by the media and by world leaders for exacerbating the situation in the Middle East and jeopardizing the "Peace Process"-never the Palestinians who are attacking or their leaders who are inciting. Now, Israel is being accused of bringing the world to the brink of war over Har Homa by insisting on Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. However, the crux of the conflict is the fact that a sovereign Jewish state in the middle of the Islamic world is seen as an affront by Islam. The Islamic world can never reconcile itself to Israel and sooner or later it will come to a head.

Avraham Tal, a columnist for Israel's "Ha'Aretz" newspaper, wrote on April 2, 1997:

"It is easy to claim that the Netanyahu government is responsible for the crisis in relations with the Palestinian Authority. If it had refrained from sending the bulldozers up to Har Homa and had offered a more generous phase to the Palestinians, the attacks and the riots would not have occurred; the investors and the tourists would continue to arrive; and life would go on-more or less-as normal. It is easy to claim this, because it is true. But the question is whether the crisis would have been avoided or just merely postponed, only to come upon us in the not-too-distant future, with or without Netanyahu.

"The drafters of the Oslo Accord erred in assuming that negotiations and concessions would lead to reconciliation and to concessions on the other side. The opposite is true: they gave rise to increased expectations and more forcefulness in the demand to implement them. The current crisis can be eliminated at the price of halting construction on Har Homa and promising a generous second phase. The confrontation can be postponed in the coming months through significant concessions in implementing the rest of the interim agreement. However, every crisis that is prevented will only be postponed to the next stage of negotiations; and in every crisis the threat of terrorism will hover over us, riots will take place at roadblocks, and the Arab states will stand united behind the Palestinians and exert political and economic pressure, as they are doing in the wake of the Har Homa crisis.

"In retrospect, there is a link between the pace of Israel's concessions on territories and authorities and the amount of tension in relations with the Palestinian leadership. As long as Israel fed the process with concessions, tension and conflicts were prevented. This would hold true in the future as well: continued calm in the process is conditional on Israel's readiness to continue feeding it with withdrawals and other concessions.

"The events happening now enable us to see what is anticipated, like in a crystal ball. It is possible that the Netanyahu government brought the confrontation closer, but if so, it only brought closer the inevitable. From Israel's standpoint, the question is when, and from what lines, is it preferable to arrive at the moment of truth."

Where will this all end? Surely the climax of the Arab-Israel conflict will be over Jerusalem-two opposing forces want the same territory, and now, the same capital city.

The Battle for Jerusalem

The battle for Jerusalem is now very real. At the height of the riots, subsequent to the start of the Har Homa building project, my family and I were eating dinner with CNN on in the background. We saw the scenes of rioting youths, tear gas, gun fire, Israeli troops, and Palestinian police all caught in a web of violence. However, unlike you, all of this was happening just over the hill from our house. It was rather surreal as we sat eating dinner in an envelope of apparent peace and tranquillity, watching violent scenes that seemed a continent away - yet knowing it was all happening just over a mile away.

The Bible is not silent on the subject. Read the prophet Zechariah 12:2-9, and see the prophecy of the future war over Jerusalem, complete with UN sanctions as all nations work together to lay siege on Judah and Jerusalem to force concessions from the Israeli government. However, the Messianic promise is that God will prevail, His people Israel and Jerusalem will survive, and God will judge those who came against His people Israel and His plan for His nation (see Zechariah 14).

The injunction to " "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem"" (Ps. 122:6) is needed now, more than ever-not for a man-made peace, but for God's peace to prevail.

CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH RIGHTS UNDER JORDAN: 1948-1967

In 1990, liturgical church leaders in Jerusalem remarked that "the integrity, cultural and religious autonomy of the Christian, Armenian and Moslem Quarters of the Holy City" had been "honored by all previous rulers of Jerusalem." History reveals that it was terrible for the Jews and not at all good for Christians under Jordanian Moslem rule.

The church leaders did not mention the integrity of the Jewish quarter, because it was destroyed. After 1948, the Jordanians attempted to obliterate the Jewish presence and signs of Jewish identity from the Old City, including the destruction of 53 synagogues along with Jewish academies and libraries. They built a road through the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and used Jewish gravestones as paving material and lavatory seats in Jordanian camps. The Jordanians even evicted the Jewish residents of the Old City and subsequently prevented Jews and Israeli Moslems from entering the Old City to pray at their respective holy sites.

As for the Christians, in 1965, a Jordanian ordinance was enacted curtailing the further acquisition of land or property by Christian institutions in Jerusalem. Prior to this, Christian schools had to be closed on Fridays (the Moslem holy day), and they were required to have their Christian students taught the Koran by Moslem teachers. Mosques were built next to churches to prevent the expansion of the Christian churches. Even the members of the Order of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher were ordered to become Jordanian citizens in a law passed in 1958, although they had maintained their Greek citizenship since the Order was founded in the 5th century.

Clarence H. Wagner, Jr.
Bridges for Peace
International Headquarters
Jerusalem, Israel
May 9, 1997


Islamic-Christian conference blasts Israel

by LISA PALMIERI-BILLIG
Jerusalem Post Web Site

ROME (March 30) - An Islamic-Christian [ed: Roman Catholic] conference on Jerusalem held at Rome's Grand Mosque - the largest in Europe - concluded yesterday with an appeal by delegates against the "Judaization" of Jerusalem.

Israeli construction at Har Homa was the main point of contention in the two-day discussions. Khalil Tufakji, a building expert from the Society of Arab Studies, said when the project is completed, eastern Jerusalem will be isolated from the rest of the West Bank.

Hamid Ahmed Rifai, associate secretary of the Moslem World Congress, warned that Israel was losing a golden opportunity for peace by insisting on changing the demography of Jerusalem, "claiming the city as its eternal political and religious capital and intending to rebuild the Temple on the site of Al-Aksa Mosque."

The Vatican's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Monsignor Jean-Louis Tauran, received the conference delegates, who included politicians, academics, and religious leaders from the Vatican, Arab countries and Jerusalem. Messages of support were read from a number of Arab leaders, including the kings of Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.


IN THE NEWS (AND ALSO ON THE PARSHA)

HOLY COW!

The birth of a red heifer (cow) in a farm in the religious youth village of Kfar Hasidim (near Haifa) has excited sectors in the religious community. A delegation of some 25 experts, including Rabbis Yisrael Ariel and Yoseph Elboim, visited the farm last week to examine the six-month old cow, and concluded that it is in fact an acceptable red heifer, according to Torah requirements. However, the cow must be at least two years old before it can be used. Until then, the cow will be carefully watched to ensure that nothing occurs to invalidate its status. According to Biblical law, the cow's ashes are used for purification from certain forms of impurity, and is therefore a prerequisite for the renewal of Holy Temple service. (Arutz-7 News: Tuesday, March 18, 1997)

RED HEIFER SIGNALS THIRD TEMPLE

The birth of a red heifer in Israel is being hailed by religious Jews as a sign from God that work can soon begin on building the Third Temple in Jerusalem. A team of rabbinical experts last week confirmed that the animal, born six months ago on a religious kibbutz near the north Israeli port of Haifa, meets the correct Biblical criteria for a genuine holy cow. According to the Book of Numbers (XIX: 2-7), the animal is needed for an ancient Jewish purification ritual.

"Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke,"

says the fourth book of the Old Testament, also part of Jewish holy scripture, the Torah. The heifer will be slaughtered and burned, and its ashes made into a liquid paste and used in a ceremony which religious Jews believe they must undergo before they can enter the old Temple site in Jerusalem to start building a new structure.

Since Herod's Temple was destroyed by the Roman emperor Titus in AD 70, no flawless red heifer has been born within the biblical land of Israel, according to rabbinical teaching. The birth of the animal, to a black-and-white mother and a dun-colored bull, is being hailed as a "miracle" by activists who want to rebuild the Third Temple and prepare the way for the Jewish messiah's entry to Jerusalem.

The faithful will need to wait until the heifer is at least three before it can be used in a ritual sacrifice. That would enable religious Jews to start the new millennium (a Christian event, but still regarded as portentous) in a state of purity. News of the red heifer's appearance, however, will not be well received by Muslims. The site of the old Jewish temples in the Holy City is now occupied by one of Islam's holiest shrines, the Dome of the Rock. Jewish extremists want to destroy the Dome and the adjoining Al-Aqsa mosque to make way for a new temple. In 1985 a group of Jewish terrorists were jailed in Israel for planning to destroy the Dome with high explosives.

But Jewish activists say they regard it as their divine mission to build a new Temple. "We have been waiting 2,000 years for a sign from God, and now he has provided us with a red heifer," said Yehudah Etzion, the ringleader of the Eighties' plot to blow up the Dome, who was present at last week's inspection of the red heifer at Kfar Hassidim. "There were a couple of little white hairs which worried us, but the rabbis are satisfied that it is the red heifer referred to in the Bible," said Mr. Etzion. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (London) 3/16) (Quoted in THE MID-EAST DISPATCH, DAILY NEWS FROM ISRAEL - ISSUE 237 - 16th March 1997)

Noted Added from Christian Discussion Group: Of all the sacrifices offered under the Law of Moses there was none quite like the Red Heifer. In its limitations and parallels, the Red Heifer provides valuable insights into the redemption which God has provided in Christ Jesus. A study of the Red Heifer inevitably leads to a greater appreciation of the words of the Apostle Paul.

It was God Himself who chose to portray aspects of His great work of redemption through the Red Heifer. The writer to the Hebrews makes this apparent:

"For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. " ( Heb. 9:13,14, RSV).

The Red Heifer Its significance:

a) The significance of the sacrifice: The red heifer was a sacrifice designed to remove defilement through contact with human death. It is significant that the children of Israel had suffered the death of 14,700 rebellious Israelites by a plague (Num. 16:49 ). Under hot desert conditions the bodies would require immediate burial in graves. It was at this time that God gave the instructions to Moses and Aaron regarding the red heifer. The significance of the red heifer to cleanse from the defilement of death came at a most impressive time the connection between sin and death could hardly be more apparent!

b) The uniqueness of the sacrifice . In all of the sacrifices prescribed by the Mosaic Law, there was none quite like the red heifer. Note the following:

i. It is not listed with the other offerings in Leviticus or Exodus, but in the book of Numbers.

ii. It was a special sin offering. A sin offering was for a sin - i. e., a transgression, but the red heifer was a sin offering when no transgression had been committed. It was offered for contact with the dead whether purposeful or accidental.

iii. It was a sin offerings but it was not offered in the same way as the other sin offerings. The animal was slaughtered outside the camp, and the blood and the skin and the dung were all burned outside the camp. In the other sin offerings ( e. g. Lev. 4 ) the animal was slain inside the camp, the blood poured out at the base of the altar, and then the carcase was removed and burned outside the camp.

iv. It was the only sacrifice which could be used more than once. Its ashes were used repeatedly until depleted.

The instructions regarding the Red Heifer were given immediately after the plague in which 14, 700 Israelites died. The association between sin and death was apparent. The nation was to bring the heifer, therefore it was a national offering. When the Lord returns, Ezekiel 39 tells us that it is going to take seven months to bury the dead bodies. Thus it would seem that the latter day offering of a Red Heifer by the Messiah will be to provide cleansing for the nation as they work at cleansing their land from all the dead bodies in it. (Thanks to Larry Ellison, lellison@concentric.net)


YESHA RABBIS SUPPORT TEMPLE MOUNT PRAYER

The Council of Yesha Rabbis has issued a call to "all rabbis who permit it" to encourage their congregants and students to visit the Temple Mount. This is the first time that the Council has taken such a position. Rabbi Daniel Shilo of the Council explained that in light of the recent Arab moves to eradicate all Jewish presence on the Mount, and their increased presence there, and their turning of Solomon's Stables into a mosque, it has become more urgent to make the Jewish presence felt there. He said that for the last few months, the Council had been attempting to remedy the scene with "quiet, behind-the-scenes" activities, but that they did not bear fruit. The Council statement emphasized that the ascent to the Mount must be made with the proper Halachic preparations, and only to the permitted areas. (Arutz-7 News: Tuesday, February 18, 1997)

TEMPLE FEAST

Nearly 1000 people participated in a unique dinner last night in honor of the Jerusalem Temple and Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. Samples of music and instruments that may have been sounded by the Levites in the Temple were played, and speakers described how Jews would ascend to the Temple with their sacrifices. Rabbi Dov Lior explained that many rabbis permit the ascent to the Temple Mount even now, after proper halachic preparations have been made (ritual immersion, knowing the permitted locations, etc.). MK Rabbi Benny Elon bemoaned the fact that the Temple Mount is effectively not under our control. He said, "How can we not cry when we hear the police cheerfully report on the Moslem Ramadan prayers at the site of our Holy Temple?"

Announcing a new web site:

Machon HaMikdash (The Temple Institute) http://www.temple.org.il

New: 1. The Temple Institute has a sample Mizbeach (altar) for Kohanim to practice going up on. 2. A Red Heifer was born in Kefar Hassidim.

The Institute for Temple Studies, Exhibition of Temple Vessels, Yeshivat Bet Habehira, and Beit Hauman Ha'ivri are found on the above web pages. Find out about the latest developments about what is being done to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash and order books about the Beit HaMikdash.


REBUILDING OF THE BEIT HAMIKDASH
AND THE COMING OF MASHIACH

by Rav Hayim Yisrael Shteiner

(originally published Yibane HaMikdash, issue 110)

 

I. IS THE STUDY OF THE COMING OF MASHIACH A SUBJECT FOR SERIOUS STUDY?

The Rambam (Rabbi Moshe Maimonides) in his introduction to "HaChelek" (the last chapter in Tractate Sanhedrin) enumerates thirteen fundamentals, the twelfth being the coming of Mashiach (David King, Messianic redeemer). In "Hilchot Teshuva" (Laws of Repentance) 9:2, "Hilchot Melachim" (Laws of Kings) chapters 11-12, and in "Igeret Teiman" (Yemenite Letter) he wrote in great length regarding the details of the events of that era and the mitzvah (commandment) to believe in Mashiach and wait for his coming. Implied from such a lengthy explanation is that we should study it in detail in order to fulfill the principal, "I believe with complete faith in the coming of Mashiach, and even though he may tarry, I will wait for him every day to come."

Contrary to this, the Rambam himself instructs us to lessen our dealing with this subject. In "Hilchot Melachim" 12:2, he brings down a dispute regarding the order of events. There is a biblical verse (Malachi 3:23) that states that Eliyahu will come "before the Great and Awesome Day of Hashem." This day is the day of the war of Gog and Magog. The dispute is whether Mashiach arrives before Eliyahu comes (as the Rambam concludes) or if Eliyahu arrives first, awaiting Mashiach and the war of Gog and Magog. The Rambam continues:

People will not understand these and related ideas until they happen, and they are hidden by the prophets. The Sages also do not have a tradition in these ideas but decided by weighing the biblical verses. Therefore, there is dispute about these things. In any case the order of events is not a principle of our religion ... One should not make these things the main thing, as their study does not bring fear and love of G-d, and one should also not calculate the end.

The Radbaz also writes on this: "Since these things do not effect Halacha (Jewish Law), AND DO NOT UPHOLD A PRINCIPLE OF FAITH, it is not proper to be exacting in them, as Our Rabbi writes. However, if he tarries wait for him because he will surely come, and he will reveal the hidden things.

It appears that the Rambam's restriction is only going on the order of events-Eliyahu, Mashiach, and the War of Gog and Magog, which are subject to dispute. But the belief in the coming of Mashiach includes all the components that THE RAMBAM HIMSELF DEALT WITH AT LENGTH, which are: the role of Mashiach, the essence of the Days of Mashiach, the mitzvah to await his coming, the explanation why Mashiach has not yet come, identifying and certifying Mashiach, and related topics. Similarly, one should deal with subjects about the Beit HaMikdash and its rebuilding, included the question of whether the mitzvah of building it applies before Mashiach comes.

Here, we will deal with some of these topics, especially the connection between Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, based on words of the great rabbis of the generations.

 

II. THE REDEMPTION OF "I WILL SPEED IT UP" CAN COME ANY DAY

In the Talmud (Rosh HaShannah 11b), there is a disagreement as to which month the Jewish people will be redeemed-according to Rabbi Eliezer in Tishrei, and according to Rabbi Yehoshua in Nissan. The "Turei Even" commentary finds this difficult because another passage in the Talmud (Eruvin 43b) states, [if someone says] "I am a nazir from the day that the Son of David comes, he is permitted to drink wine on Shabbat and holidays but prohibited on weekdays." How can every weekday be fit for Mashiach to come if the Redemption is to take place in Nissan or Tishrei?

In his book "Gevurot Ari", he also asks from the Talmudic passage (Ta'anit 17a) that brings down an opinion that Kohanim are forbidden to drink wine, since the Beit HaMikdash can be rebuilt any day, so he should be ready to perform the Temple Service (which requires the Kohen not to be intoxicated). If the Redemption will only take place in Nissan or Tishrei, why should the Kohen be prohibited from drinking wine the entire year?

He resolves the contradiction between the passage in Tractate Rosh HaShannah and the passage in Tractate Eruvin in the "Turei Even" based on the Talmudic passage (Sanhedrin 98a) that quotes the Biblical verse (Yeshaya 60:22), "In its time, I will speed it up." Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi says, if the Jewish People deserve, "I will speed it up"; If they do not deserve it, the redemption will only come "in its time". According to him, the dispute of whether the redemption will occur in Tishrei of Nissan deals only with the redemption "in its time", but the redemption of "I will speed it up" is possible any day. Therefore, if someone takes upon himself to be a nazir on the day that the Son of David comes, he is forbidden to drink wine every weekday, since the Son of David could come every day in the situation of "I will speed it up". (See also the Chatam Sofer's responsa collection "Likutei Shut Chatam Sofer" section 98.)

In his book "Gevurot Ari", he resolves the contradiction between the Talmudic passages in Tractates Rosh HaShannah and Ta'anit in two ways: The first is just like he resolved the previous contradiction, that since in a situation of "I will speed it up", the redemption can take place any day, a Kohen is prohibited from drinking wine every day in order that he should always be ready to perform the Temple service.

 

III. THE REBUILDING OF THE BEIT HAMIKDASH
WILL PROCEED THE DAVIDIC KINGDOM

The Jerusalem Talmud's opinion

The second answer, which the author of the "Gevurot Ari" preferes, is based on a passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aser Sheni 5:2) The Mishnah states Rabbi Yose's opinion regarding the rabbinic injunction not to redeem kerem reva'i (grapes of the fourth year of the vine, automatically sanctified to be eaten only in Jerusalem and in purity unless redeemed) within a radius of one day's journey from Jerusalem, but to bring the fruit itself to Jerusalem, in order to adorn Jerusalem's markets. When the volume of fruits increased, the injunction was canceled, and people were once again allowed to redeem the fruit even right outside Jerusalem, but the Rabbis stipulated that, when the Beit HaMikdash is rebuilt, the original injunction will again be in force. The Jerusalem Talmud states: "Rav Acha says, this implies that the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt before the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, as it is stated, (Davarim 32:14) 'and thou didst drink wine of the pure blood of the grape' and you say when." (see the Ridbaz's explanation, brought down by the students of the Vilna Gaon) Implied in Rabbi Yose's words, that when the Beit HaMikdash is rebuilt there will be reason to renew the original injunction because there will be a lack of fruits, it is possible to prove that the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt before the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, since once the Davidic Kingdom is restored, there will be enough fruits, as it is stated, "and thou didst drink wine of the pure blood of the grape," and they will no longer need to make injunctions for supply of fruit. On this line, he writes in "Gevurot Ari" that the dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua on the timing of the redemption is dealing with the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, but the Beit HaMikdash can be rebuilt any day, and that is why a Kohen cannot drink wine the entire year.

According to this explanation, the difference between "In its time" and "I will speed it up" only applies to the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, but the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, which will proceed it, is not tied to this differentiation and can happen any day, even if the Davidic Kingdom is renewed "in its time".

The Jerusalem Talmud's opinion that the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash will proceed the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom is also apparent in the Babylonian Talmud, (Megilla 17b), where it explains why the blessing "Bone Yerushalyim" (who rebuilds Jerusalem) proceeds the blessing "Et tzemach David Avdecha Mehera Tatzmiach" (speedily renew the Davidic Kingdom). "Once Jerusalem is rebuilt, David will come, as it is stated, (Hoshea 3:5) 'After the Jewish People return, the will seek Hashem their G-d and David their King.' Rashi explains, "after they will return to the Beit HaMikdash, they will seek Hashem their G-d and David their King." The term "Jerusalem" here also refers to the Beit HaMikdash, as we see in Brachot 29a in the wording of the Abbreviated Prayer parallel to the Eighteen Benedictions: "Veyismechu tzadikim bevinyan irecha UVETIKUN HEICHALECHA uvitzemichat keren ledavid avdecha uva'arichat ner leven yish'ai meshichecha" (The righteous shall rejoice in the rebuilding of Your City and fixing of Your Sanctuary and restoring the horn of David Your Servant and the setting of the candle for the son of Yish'ai Your Anointed." Thus, it is explicit that the Beit HaMikdash will be built before the Davidic Kingdom.

The Tosafot Yomtov (Ma'aser Sheni 5:2 "Utenai...") concludes, like the Jerusalem Talmud, that the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt before the Davidic Kingdom. The Malbim also writes (on Daniel 12), relying on historical facts:

It is known that permission was given from the Ceaser to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem, and it was built by the Jew by order of Julius Ceaser at a great expense. And in the year 4349 (589 ce) there was an uproar throughout the world, and the Beit HaMikdash that they built fell, and the next day a great fire came from Heaven and melted all metal in the building, and many Jews were burnt."

Additionally, Rav Kook writes in his article on Zionism (printed also in "Otzrot HaReiya", vol. II, p. 929) "The words of Our Sages instruct in an endless number of sources, and it is explicit in the famous piece from the Jerusalem Talmud in Ma'aser Sheni, 'this implies that the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt before the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom.'" He also writes in "Mishpat Kohen", section 94, after he discusses the possible problem in rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash in present times, "In any event, according to my humble opinion, if there will be a desire that we rebuild the Beit HaMikdash, even BEFORE MASHIACH COMES, and prophecy will be revealed and they will see wonders, there will not be such an obstacle."

The Opinion of the Babylonian Talmud in Tractate Sanhedrin

It appears at first glance that according to the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 20b), the Beit HaMikdash will be built after the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, since according to the Talmudic passage there, the order that Rabbi Yose chooses in a Braita is:

"The Jewish people were commanded three mitzvot to perform when they entered the Land:

1. To appoint a king

2. To eradicate the descendants of Amalek

3. To build the Beit HaMikdash"

The order is specific: King, Amalek, Beit HaMikdash. Thus, the Rambam rules in Hilchot Melachim 1:2, "Appointing a king proceeds the war of Amalek ... and eradicating the descendants of Amalek proceeds building the Beit HaMikdash ..."

The Rambam also writes, (ibid. 11:1) "The Melech HaMashiach will restore the Kingdom of David to its original rule and BUILD THE BEIT HAMIKDASH and gather the Jewish exiles."

In halacha 4, reiterates:

"If a King from the House of David, understanding the Torah and performing mitzvot like David his father, according to the Written and Oral Torah, will arise and force all Jews to live by it and to finance it and fight the Wars of Hashem, he is assumed to be Mashiach. If he succeeds and builds the Beit HaMikdash in its place and gather the Jewish exiles, he is definitely the Mashiach."

It is perplexing that those mentioned above (the author of the "Gevurot Ari", Tosafot Yomtov, the Malbim, and Rav Kook) rely on the Jerusalem Talmud against the ruling of the Rambam, who rules like the Babylonian Talmud, that a apppointing king proceeds the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash.

Additionally, it is problematic that the Jerusalem Talmud is based on Rabbi Yose's statement in the Mishnah. From his words, Rav Acha deduces that the Beit HaMikdash will be built before the Davidic Kingdom, and in the Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Yose is the one that says that three mitzvot were commanded, and the mitzvah appointing a king proceeds the mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash.

The Rambam's ruling is also problematic, since he usually decides like the Jerusalem Talmud(1), so why does he decide like the Babylonian Talmud here? Furthermore, if building the Beit HaMikdash is just for Mashiach to do, why does the Rambam write in length eight chapters in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah about constructing the Beit HaMikdash? Furthermore, why does the Rambam omit this important detail in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah? On the contrary, the Rambam includes in the mitzvah of "and let them make me a sanctuary" (Shmot 25:8) all the Temples built throughout the generations, which WERE NOT BUILT BY THE DAVIDIC KINGDOM (except for the First Temple in Jerusalem).

To the discussion of Mashiach mentioned above, the Rambam adds (Hilchot Melachim 11:1):

"Anyone who does not believe in him or does not await his coming not only denies other prophets, but denies the prophecy of Moshe Rabeneinu, as the Torah testifies of him, as is stated, (Devarim 30:3) 'that then Hashem thy G-d will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations ...'"

He further brings proofs from the Torah portions of Bil'am and the Cities of Refuge and from other prophets. But here he does not mention any source that the Mashiach will rebuild the Beit HaMikdash.(2)

 

IV. EVERY KING IS COMMANDED TO BUILD THE BEIT HAMIKDASH

It appears that the requirement that appointing a king must proceed building the Beit HaMikdash does not just refer to a king of the Davidic dynasty, but appointing any king will suffice. The source for this Talmudic statement is from the Biblical verse (Shmot 17:16) "because Hashem has sworn by His Throne that Hashem will have war with Amalek ..." This verse refers to Yehoshua, who was not from the tribe of Yehuda, but was nevertheless called a king for the puprpose of these three mitzvot that the Jewish People was commanded-to appoint a king, to wipe out the descendants of Amalek, and to build the Beit HaMikdash. Thus, the mitzvah to appoint a king, as well as the order of events, does not only refer to a Davidic king, but also to king from other tribes.(3)

It is also apparent from the Rambam in Hilchot Melachim 1:2, where he learns the halacha that appointing a king proceeds wiping out Amelek from KING SHAUL. In Halacha 3, he learns (based on the Sifri) that appointing a king requires a court of 71 judges and a prophet from YEHOSHUA. In Hilchot Beit HaBechirah he states "We do not add to Jerusalem or to the Temple Courtyard, except by a king ... and MOSHE was a king." He also writes in Hilchot Channuka 2:1, "They appointed a king from the KOHANIM, and the kingdom returned to Israel for more than 200 years ..."

We see that the mitzvah to appoint a king means ANY Jewish king, not just from Davidic descent or from the tribe of Yehuda. Accordingly, the laws in Hilchot Melachim apply for all generations, and certainly while we return from Exile, a kingdom could arise, before Mashiach comes, as specified in most of the chapters in Hilchot Melachim. The Mashiach, however will be a descendant of David and Shlomo, and his characteristics and deeds are spelled out in the LAST chapters of Hilchot Melachim.

Additionally, in "Igeret Teiman", where the Rambam describes the appearing of Mashiach, he brings down that at the first stage he will arise without people aware of his lineage. "People will not know of his arising."

A similar description of the End of Days is brought by the Tosafot Yomtov in his commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:2), "It comes out that until the Davidic Kingdom, our enemies will have a little bit of rule over us, as was in the beginning of the Second Temple period." Here is where he deals with the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash (as we brought previously), and according to this a limited Jewish kingdom, even not fully independent, is good enough to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash, as was the case in the time of Ezra.(4)

It also appears that according to the Ramban (Rav Moshe Nachmanides), in his commentary to the Torah (Bamidbar 16:21), that the mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash does not just apply to a Davidic king. According to him, the plague in the time of King David after counting the People "was a punishment on Israel for delaying building the Beit HaMikdash, that the Ark went from tent to tent like a stranger in the land, and the Tribes did not wake up and say, 'Let us seek Hashem and build a house for His Name.'" The Kingdom of Israel was limited in the era of the Judges, before King David was anointed. As we said, the Rambam rules accordingly in the beginning of Hilchot Melachim, that the mitzvah is upon any king, not just a king from the Davidic Dynasty, to build the Beit HaMikdash.

It is also apparent from the Rambam's discussion in the "More Nevuchim" (Guide to the Perplexed) (vol. 3, chap. 45) that the precedence of appointing a king before building the Beit HaMikdash applies to appointing any king, not just from the David Dynasty. "To this comes the mitzvah that the Beit HaMikdash will not be built before establishing a king to command the building of the Beit HaMikdash and to remove dispute, as we explained in Sefer Shoftim." The role of a king is to prevent civil war in Israel over the rule of the Temple Mount, and thus only after a king is appointed does the mitzvah to build the Beit HaMikdash apply. This obligation, to prevent civil war, applies to any king, even appointed before Mashiach comes from the Davidic Dynasty. According to this, it is possible that the Beit HaMikdash can be built before Mashiach comes, according to the opinion of the Jerusalem Talmud.

Nevertheless, it is true that the Rambam writes in Hilchot Melachim 11:1 that the MASHIACH KING will build the Beit HaMikdash. This is only if, G-d forbid, the Beit HaMikdash is not already built by his predecessors, who are also commanded to build the Beit HaMikdash. The Rambam continues (Halacha 4), "A king from the Davidic Dynasty, wise in Torah and performing mitzvot like his father David, according to the Written and Oral Torah, will force all of Israel to walk in it and strengthen it, and he will fight Hashem's wars ..." He is only ASSUMED to be Mashiach, but is not DEFINITELY Mashiach. He only acquires the title of Mashiach "if he succeeds and REBUILDS THE BEIT HAMIKDASH in its place and gathers the Jewish exiles." Apparently, this is against what we said, but only the Mashiach can build the Beit HaMikdash, and not his predecessors. However, it appears that the intent is a negative understanding. Since Mashiach may only be ASSUMED to be Mashiach, it is inconceivable that he could have a status of DEFINITELY Mashiach without the Beit HaMikdash. But it is possible that the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt before he comes, and the turning into DEFINITELY Mashiach will come about by fighting Hashem's wars and gathering the Jewish exiles .

The Rambam adds a stage. Even if the king is recognized as definitely Mashiach, it is possible that he is not Mashiach (according to the manuscript of Igeret Teiman in "Rambam La'am", Mosad HaRav Kook, and additional versions)

If he does not succeed until that point, or he is killed(5), it is clear that this is not the one that the Torah promised us, but he is like all other kosher Davidic kings who have died, and Hashem place him to test the people.

This means that there could be a situation where a king, who is later decided not to be Mashiach, has already fulfilled the conditions to be definitely Mashiach, including rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash. There is no possibility of "definitely Mashiach" without rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash, but there is a possibility of rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash before Mashiach comes, in the hands of a previous kingdom.

This resolves a difficulty we mentioned earlier. The Rambam specifies every detail of building the Beit HaMikdash in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah without mentioning that the obligation rests on Mashiach, since the mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash rests upon the Jewish People, even before Mashiach comes, when it is possible, even by a Jewish government not descended from David. The Rambam does not rule against the Jerusalem Talmud, and the Tosafot Yomtov, the Gevurot Ari, and Rav Kook are correct to rule like the Jerusalem Talmud.

Accordingly, there is no room to use the Rambam as an excuse to passively wait until the Mashiach rebuilds the Beit HaMikdash. This is a mitzvah on the Jewish People throughout the generations, and everyone must pressure the government to organize the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, at least as mush as they pressure the government for much less important issues. The belief in Mashiach will be stronger when the entire community, out of a feel for redemption, will engage in the subject of the Beit HaMikdash in both academic and practical matters.

Notes:

(1) The Vilna Gaon writes accordingly in he commentary on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 335:3, 436:3; Yore De'a 63:1, 317:18. The Maharik also writes this in principal 100. This is explicit in the Raavad's dissensions, Hilchot Kriyat Shema 3:6. (See the Migdal 'Oz there and on Hilchot Shofar 1:5, stating that the Rambam rules like the Jerusalem Talmud.)

(2) Possibly, there is a source for this that the Rambam brings in Hilchot Teshuva 9:2: "... and the nations will come to hear him, as it is stated, (Yesha'yahu 2:2) 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Mountain of *Hashem's House* shall be established on the top of the mountains ...'" Nevertheless, it is conceivable that the intention is not the Beit HaMikdash, which we are commanded to build, but that the "Mountain of Hashem's House" is an expression for the spiritual center of the entire world. If the intention is the actual building, it is possible that the role of the Mashiach is to build the Beit HaMikdash if it is not previously built. Any way in Hilchot Melachim, the Rambam does not use any Biblical verse to prove this function of Mashiach. (See Rav Yehuda Shaviv's article, "Mitzvat Mikdash BeHilchot HaRambam" Techumin 8, p. 488-496, which distinguishes the mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash upon a king and the mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash upon the community.)

(3) The opposite is true according to the Talmud (Baba Batra 123b), which states that the sons of Esav (Amalek) only fall in the hands of Rachel's sons. Accordingly, Yehoshua, Shaul, Mordechai, and Esther, were all prodigy of Rachel. The Talmud continues to state that David, who battled Amalek, only did so with the merit of the leaders of the Menashe tribe, descended from Yosef.

(4) Another source, which I saw in a letter from the kid Uri Shachor, is the Malbim's commentary to Micha 4:8. "The former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem." A small government will come, and its leadership will be like Israel had in its first days before a king reigned of Israel, when the Judges were their leaders, and afterwards will Kingdom of the Daughter of Jerusalem come, which will be the permanent Davidic Kingdom, and only then will Mashiach rule permanently.

(5) The implication is that he does build the Beit HaMikdash, but he is killed! (from MIKDASH - BUILD, 7 Adar I 5757, Volume I, Number 20)



Meaning of the words "Beit HaMikdash"

Some...have written asking about the etymology of the term "Beit HaMikdash". "Mikdash" means "holy place" and refers to the Tabernacle built by Moshe and which served in the Desert for 39 years and in Gilgal for 14 years, the roof-less building in Shiloh, which stood for 369 years, the interim structures in Nov and Giv'on, which stood for 57 years, the First Temple in Jerusalem built by Kings David and Shlomo, the Second Temple in Jerusalem built by Ezra and Nehemia and expanded by Herod, and the Third Temple, to be built speedily in our days. The term "Mikdash" appears in the Torah. "And they shall make for me a MIKDASH and I will dwell among them." (Shmot 25:8) This commandment is to build the Temple and all its vessels. (See Rambam Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, chapter 1) "Beit" means "house", and the "Ha" prefix means "of the". The Temple built by Kings David and Shlomo built a permanent place for the Shechina (Divine Presence) to rest, so what they built was the "house" for the "Mikdash", or "Beit HaMikdash."

REBUILDING THE BEIT HAMIKDASH
ACCORDING TO RAV KOOK'S TEACHINGS, part I

by Rav Elitzur Segal
(originally published in Yibane HaMikdash, issue 91)

"The force of vitality for the Jewish Soul is the great yearning for the building of the Beit HaMikdash and returning its splendor, with the purpose of ideal perfection. Only this expectation elevates the spirit of all generations to know that there is an exalted purpose to their lives and a historical continuation. In this high point is hidden the Tree of Life of the connection of the Nation to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), and all the commandments dependent on the Land, however they apply, guard the moisture of this fundamental dew." (Ginzei HaReiyah, p. 154)

Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook in a profound way is the Rabbi of all who foresee the Salvation and await the Redemption in our generation. Therefore, a precise and comprehensive study of his opinion on the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, speedily in our days, is of great implication. This study relies on his known writings and not traditions and explanations not explicitly written.

I. GENERAL BACKGROUND

With the British conquered Eretz Yisrael (then called Palestine), the Zionist Union started a complicated campaign to helped the British acquire a Mandate over Eretz Yisrael on the one hand, and on the other hand, to get from the same Britain promises to further Zionism.

This campaign was not easy for the Zionists or for the British. Even with all the power Britain had then, ruling over a quarter of the world, she could not hide from strong powers opposing this goal. These powers were the Arabs, who wanted an independent state without Jews, the Vatican, who wanted to rule over Jerusalem, and France, who did not want Britain to be powerful in the Middle East and who were worried that a British Mandate over Eretz Yisrael would strengthen Britain's influence over the region and weaken France's.

In the framework of this struggle, the British turned to the various Jewish leaders in order to get promises of acceptance of their mandate and to know what they need to promise to get their support, in order to know which policy to s struggle for the Jews in the international scene.

Naturally, the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash was among the subjects discussed. The British wanted to know if accepting the mandate obligated them to struggle in the international scene for the building of the Beit HaMikdash on the Temple Mount. They wanted to know if this demand would come up immediately or in the future, and what weight in the Jewish community the people demanding building the Beit HaMikdash carried in the Jewish community. Were they willing and able to start and armed struggle for this purpose, or should they hope for a peace agreement.

Understandably, the answers to these questions were important factors in Britain's decision as to which policy to adopt, and whether to even accept the mandate. Clearly, there was a danger that Britain would decide that such an undertaking was not worth the trouble, and they would close out the possibility of a Jewish homeland. Because of this complication, it was written in the Letter of Mandate that its purpose was to establish a national homeland for the Jews without infringing upon the rights of non-Jewish religions and residents in Eretz Yisrael. The contradiction between these two clauses supplied many investigative committees that Britain sent to Eretz Yisrael.

Before the Mandate, Eretz Yisrael was governed by military rule. Most British generals in charge in the Middle East, including Eretz Yisrael, Cyprus, Egypt, Malta, Gibraltar, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, saw the obligation from their government to the Zionists as a burdensome and superfluous task that was better to do without. One of the most outspoken proponents of this position was the military commander of Eretz Israel, General Y. Louis Boles, whose role in the military council in Eretz Yisrael was parallel to the role of Prime Minister today.

Rav Kook wrote to this general on 13 Sivan 5680 (1920 CE) and specified in it his position and demands regarding the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and the Beit HaMikdash. This letter was publicized at the end of the book "Yoman HaKotel HaMa'aravi" by Rav Ya'akov Orenstein (Jerusalem 5728 [1968 CE] page 459. See also M.R.T. Neriyah's book "Mo'adei HaReiyah," p. 484). It appears from the letter that it is only a sample from an ongoing correspondence, most of which is not available.

II. LETTER TO GENERAL Y. L. BOLES

The Honorable Chief Administrator General Y. L. Boles.

Dear Minister,

I was honored that to receive such a dignified response to the letter I wrote an the first of the month regarding the Holy Western Wall by the Great Colonel. I would be honored to note to your honor a few notes regarding the general relationship of our People to this holy place, particularly to the Western Wall.

1. All of Israel believes with complete faith that this holy place and the entire Temple Mount is the eternal holy place of the Jewish People. Even if it will be under the rule of other for a long period, it will ultimately come to our hands, and the Hand of G-d will reveal the great wonder that on it our Holy Temple will be built in it great splendor as our Prophets have promised, in particular Yehezkel the Prophet whose entire vision was about the Third Temple that we believe will be built, speedily in our days.

2. The fact that we do not enter beyond the Wall does not lessen our rights and attachment to this holy place. However, it is because our attachment is so great to it and to its exalted holiness. It is because we recognize that the Glory of Hashem our G-d fills it, and its holiness is still there, as much as when the Beit HaMikdash was standing, and we do not have the religious means to prepare ourselves, until the time will come when we will have all that is necessary to prepare ourselves to stand in this holy place that we are tied to with all our souls...

In this letter, we see the policy of pragmatic activism that Rav Kook chose. Rav Kook again and again emphasizes that we want the place of the Beit HaMikdash. He firsts refutes the claim that, if this mountain is yours, why do we not enter it by saying that we do not have the religious means to enable us to enter. It is important to note that Rav Kook is particular not to say that a supernatural event must occur to build the Beit HaMikdash. With this, Rav Kook understood well that in that time it was pointless to struggle for the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash. He therefore does not forcefully demand its rebuilding, but he does not forego the demand itself.

III. A LETTER TO THE ZIONIST LEADERSHIP

Another letter on this matter is found in "Igrot HaReiyah" (vol. 1, letter 127 - page 121), dated 29 Tevet 5682 (1922 CE) and addressed to the Zionist leadership. The reason for this letter was an article that appeared in the English newspaper, which said that a yeshiva for studying the laws of the Beit HaMikdash was started. The Zionist leadership was concerned that this would translate into a tough Arab and British response, and they sent a letter of clarification to Rav Kook. (only the relevant excerpts are brought down here)

Honorable Zionist Leadership,

In response to the honorable letter that came to my hands with the article from the Christian, English newspaper about the founding of the yeshiva called "Ateret Kohanim", I would be honored to tell you these details:

3. The foundation of national vitality must be, despite the secular opponents, based on its holy source, which is the beckoning of the nation to return to tacts of holiness and the eternal beckoning to build the Beit HaMikdash, speedily in our days, and must stand out in strait heartedness and great faith, constantly without stopping or weakening.

4. Our faith is strong that the days will come when all nations will recognize that the place that Hashem chose for eternity, the place of our Beit HaMikdash, must return to its rightful owners, and on it the Great and Holy House will be built, that we will make a House of Prayer for All Nations, by Hashem's word.

Even though this institution is for pure Torah study, it hints to the entire world that the nations should not think that there is even one moment of giving up, G-d forbid, or of forgetting our ties to the memories of the Beit HaMikdash, which is the cornerstone of all holy places. This is after I was already officially asked by the British Committee (Segal: I am not sure what Rav Kook meant. It could possibly refer to the correspondence with General Boles, of which one letter which was quoted above???) what my opinion is on how we relate to the place of the Beit HaMikdash. I told them that, just as we see our rights to the land in general, even though the general public opinion is far for this, the Divine providence has arranged that reasons which were far to come close, and we are confident that this enlightenment will continue, until all nations will recognize that our rights to our holy land our written in the Holy Torah. Likewise, the days will come when they will recognize our right to the place of the Beit HaMikdash, and they will all know and accept that the vision of the prophet that said about this holy place, "... because My house will be called a House of Prayer for all Peoples" will come true only when this Great and Holy House is rebuilt by its original owners, the eternal owners, the Jewish People. Here also, we see the tactics that Rav Kook chose. He was particular to say at every opportunity, and also in front of the British, that we are intersected in building the Beit HaMikdash and are not conceding on its place. He also goes to great length to emphasize that our not entering the place is not a concession on our rights to the place of the Beit HaMikdash. Rav Kook is careful not to tie the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash with a supernatural cause, but he stipulates its rebuilding only on natural developments in the national and international specter. Despite this, he is careful not to demand the right to build the Beit HaMikdash immediately, in order not to lose what had been gained so far.


THE STRUGGLE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT

by the late Chief Rabbi, Rav Shlomo Goren
(Yibane HaMikdash, issue 110, originally in Darchei Torah)

With the first military deployment in the liberated and united Jerusalem, I decided that the time has come to establish facts on the ground, and I started to organize Jewish prayer services on the Temple Mount, in areas permissible for those defiled by contact with the dead to enter.

In these great days, I could not free myself from the thought that, from a historical perspective, the designation of the Western Wall Plaza for Jewish prayer is only the result of Jews being banned from the Temple Mount by the Crusaders and by Moslems together. Hence, an intolerable situation has been created, that even after the liberation of the Temple Mount, the Moslems remained up on the Temple Mount, and we stayed down below, them inside and us outside.

Prayer by the Western Wall is a sign of destruction and exile, and not freedom and redemption, since Jewish prayer by the Western Wall started only in the 16th century. Before that, Jews had prayed on the Temple Mount for centuries, and when they were expelled, they prayed on the Mountain of Olives, across from the Eastern Gate. Jews have been praying by the Western Wall for only about three hundred years.

In the framework of the function of the Military Rabbinate, we held organized study and prayer on the Temple Mount -- Shacharit (morning service), Mincha (afternoon service), and Ma'ariv (evening service), and Torah reading on Shabbat, Monday, and Thursday on the Temple Mount Plaza itself, inside the Mugrabi Gate, near our study center. Once, the Waqaf people tried to close the Shevatim Gate, on the northeastern end of the Temple Mount, from a gathering of officers of the Military Rabbinate that was held on the Temple Mount. We broke through the gate and entered. That taught them the Temple Mount is ours officially and practically.

On the 9th of Av, 5727 (1967 CE), I held a Mincha service for a small group on the Temple Mount Plaza across from the steps going up south of the Dome of the Rock, a place that is permissible to enter according to all Halachic authorities. This Mincha service on the 9th of Av on the Temple Mount raised many reactions in the media in Israel and abroad. Jewish writers hostile to religion in the State started incitement against our efforts to renew Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.

HANDING THE KEYS TO THE WAQAF

In the midst of deliberations, in both governmental and religious frameworks, about renewing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and building a permanent synagogue on the open southern plain, the Minister of Defense told me, to my great surprise, that he decided to pass the auspices and responsibilities for all arrangements on the Temple Mount to the Islamic Waqaf. He ordered me to take the Torah study center of the Military Rabbinate down from the Temple Mount and to remove all officers of the Temple Mount. From then on, according to him, the Military Rabbinate has no responsibility for the arrangements there, and I should stop organizing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. I accepted the order with anger and pain, and I told the Minister of Defense that this is likely to bring about a third destruction, since the key to our sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is the Temple Mount.


WAQF BUILDING ON NORTH TEMPLE MOUNT

The Waqf has begun construction activity within the boundaries of the Temple Mount, adjacent to the northern wall, between the Gate of Forgiveness and the Afel Gate. Journalist Nadav Shragai reports that the Waqf did not request a permit for the building. Members of the Chai Vekayam organization, who photographed the construction, are planning to petition the Supreme Court to require the Jerusalem municipality to dispatch a building supervisor and police officers to the site. (Arutz-7 News: Thursday, December 26, 1996)


PRACTICAL STATUS OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT

by Yehuda Etzion

(originally printed Yibane HaMikdash No. 109)

A. CURRENT STATUS

1. THE FACTS

Who Rules


The Islamic Waqaf has controlled the Temple Mount several years, and it is easy to understand his growing self confidence to actually instruct the police as to who can and who cannot enter and who is to be removed. The police always listen and only keep up the appearance that they are running the show. In practice the Israeli Police act as a "service police" to the Islamic Waqaf and act according to his will.

The accords signed between the Israeli government and the PLO have made the Waqaf and integral part of the Palestinian Authority. His boss, Hasan Tahbub, is the Palestinian Minister of Religion, and the P.A. has even appointed a new Mufti, Akrama Sabri, who has pushed out the Jordanian Mufti, and the Jordanian control as lessened. Recently, Arafat has announced that he will soon appoint Hamas supporters in the Waqaf's office.

A serious breach of the Oslo Accords has thus been committed. "Government offices" of the P.A. act in the heart of Jerusalem, in the offices at the Majlis Gate of the Temple Mount. The Israel government accepts this "as a matter of sensitivity", and the Supreme Court, as an institutional stance, refused to give an opinion.

To sum it up, the Temple Mount stands today as a mini Palestinian State within Israel with the support of Israeli government and its security forces.

The Freedom To Visit

At all the gates there are "joint guard posts" of Waqaf agents and the police. (Many of the police on the Temple Mount are also Arabs, neighbors and friends of the Waqaf.) Moslems are given free entrance from all gates and are generally not checked. Tourists generally only enter via the Mugrabi Gate and are given a "light inspection".

Religious Jews are never allowed to enter the other nine gates. There they are rigorously checked and asked to present their identity cards, and they wait, sometimes a long time, until the joint patrols are free to escort them. They are only allowed to enter as individuals or in pairs, and Jews can almost never walk in groups.

The police justify the tight guard for security reasons, as if they are guarding those entering. The real intention, however, is to ensure that they do no pray on the Temple Mount.
The hours the Mount is open of non-Moslem visitors are set by the Islamic Waqaf. While Moslems can enter any time, the Mount is open to Jews, with the above restrictions, only in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.

The Freedom to Worship

There is no freedom of worship on the Temple Mount. There is a vigorous suppression of any attempt by a Jew to pray. If one even mutters on his or her lips or stops walking to concentrate, he or she will be threatened and dragged away, in order to keep order and to tear the prayer. The Waqaf people will also yell at the policemen who will always deal with the "criminal" and kick him or her off the Mount and often arrest him or her. He or she will later have to stand trial for "Improper Conduct in a Public Area" and additional false accusations. Several of these worshipers are already in judicial proceedings.

Serious complaints have been filed and are documented with photographs. The Waqaf people are of course not dealt with, as they have immunity as sovereign rulers of the Temple Mount. Therefore, the violent behavior is "legitimate", even thought there excessive force has sent many people ascending the Temple Mount to intensive care in a hospital!

2. LAW AND GOVERNMENT

Although "Freedom of Worship" is not explicitly mentioned in either the Law of Protection of Holy Places in 1967 or the Basic Law "Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel", it is definitely implied. The Basic Law of "Human Dignity and Freedom" creates a legal status preventing the government from infringing on freedom of movement and freedom of worship.

Thank G-d, there is no law on the books explicitly forbidding prayer on the Temple Mount.

The Supreme Court has often ruled that the right to pray is a recognized, central, and important human right. Recently, (in a response to a query by the Temple Mount Faithful) they ruled that this right is a "right of first order, a LEGAL RIGHT". The trouble is that the Supreme Court has left the actualization of this right up to the discretion of those exercising authority, in this case the government and police, who "run away" from carrying out the law as if they are under fire...

The legal status remains cloudy. The government has the ability and the authority to immediately allow prayer. There is no need for any new legislation, but the government abstains fromr action and provides three justifications.

1. Fear of disrupting public tranquility by Moslem opposition.

2. A government decision from 1967 (no. 761) which prohibited Rav Goren from making a minyan.

3. A series of decisions which presumably uphold its authority.

This legal "cloud" causes almost daily confrontation between would-be worshipers and the police, who act brutally, even though there has been no legislation and no general government decision prohibiting Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.

Another issue is the legal authority of the Waqaf. He has no standing in the open territories of the Temple Mount, as opposed to the Islamic mosques. This is the position that the Supreme Court has decided in several rulings, and this is the position of the State of Israel and the Municipality of Jerusalem (in their affidavits to the Supreme Court).

The Waqaf himself, however, claims that the entire Temple Mount is an "Islamic mosque", and the police support this de-facto even though there is no legal backing for the Waqaf's position.

B. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

1. LEGISLATION

Surprisingly, no new legislation is needed.

The government decision was ad-hoc, a one-time decision that forbade Rav Goren, by Moshe Dayan's request, to conduct services on the Temple Mount on the "Shabbat Nachamu" after the liberation of Jerusalem. In the protocol, it is well emphasized that this is not a permanent prohibition for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, only in this specific situation. (The documentation of the cabinet meeting can be found in Nadav Shragai's book, "Har HaMeriva" pages 31, 37-38.)

A series of decisions by the Supreme Court provide an excellent base for a government decision to allow prayer. There are two sides to the coin. Just as previous governments have exercised their authority to forbid prayer, this government could exercise its authority and allow prayer. As we said, the legal foundation has already been laid by the Supreme Court, and all that is needed is to accept the challenge of ending the policy of evasion and oversight.

THEREFORE, THE MINISTER OF RELIGION IN THE NEW GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO TWO COMPLIMENTARY ACTIONS.

1. HE SHOULD INCLUDE THE TEMPLE MOUNT IN THE LIST OF HOLY PLACES ACCORDING TO THE "LAW OF HOLY PLACES". (Currently, other than the Western Wall, only grave sights are on the list.)

2. HE SHOULD TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO ORGANIZE JEWISH PRAYER ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT.

The government's failure to do so has been used by the police as an excuse for the refusal to allow prayer, and the lack of action was of course part of their calculated policy.

2. IMMEDIATE CHANGE OF STATUS

It is clear that the police and GSS will scare the new government and Prime Minister with warnings of "boiling territory" and a "general Islamic uprising" against allowing Jewish prayer. The submission of the government all these years has increased the chutzpah of the Moslems, and they have complicated the situation more and more. I suggest a quick series of decisions, which will broadcast confidence and non-submission to panic. The security forces will have to adapt to the new government, and they will succeed.

Additionally, the police must be instructed to stop being the Waqaf's subjects, and to deal with all wildness and interference, and to implement the following policy:

1. Increase the hours that the Temple Mount is open to Jews.

2. Allow and secure Jewish groups to enter from all gates, even if they are wearing a kippa.

3. Remove the Waqaf's "guards" from all gates and place only policemen there. The Waqaf's people must only be allowed to continue to standing in the mosques and by their entrances.

4. Groups should be accompanied by police and not by the Waqaf's people.

5. Individual Jews wearing tallit and tefillin should be allowed to pray where they wish, except near the entrance to mosques, so as not to disturb the Moslems from entering and leaving.

6. Groups wishing to pray in a minyan (quorum of ten Jewish men) will be brought to a designated area. The recommended area is on the south- eastern section, near the HaShevatim Gate, near the Eastern Wall. This place will no interfere with Moslems from entering the Temple Mount, and it fits halachic (Jewish Law) specifications. (Rav Yitzchak Shilat's ruling in "Techumin", volume 7, "Building a Synagogue on the Temple Mount")

This arrangement of separate prayer areas will be essentially a copy of the separation-arrangement which was recently implemented in the Cave of the Patriarchs, recommended by the Shamgar Commission. Since the Temple Mount is much bigger than the Cave of the Patriarchs, it is technically easier to implement.

C. THE FUTURE

In this north-eastern area, building a synagogue should be considered, in order to enable reading the Torah and prayer also in the winter.

Since this article deals with immediate changes for the new government, there is no need to go into details about building a synagogue, and it will be left as a future goal.


CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT IN JERUSALEM

by Uri Tzvi Greenberg

One day in the year 5684 (1924 CE) I was privileged to go up to Jerusalem and step with my bare feet on the Temple Mount. Words cannot express the emotions, the primortal atmosphere, and all that my body and soul went through when I was fortunate to have such an awesome experience. I had much joyous song but few words. Forty years later I wonder at my inability to express the appearance of the Temple Mount, the source of my vitality and my breath. All beautiful sight belong to G-d, and the light of the stars shine upon them. There is no place free of G-dliness; however, the aura of the Temple Mount is greater than anything I have ever seen. This is definitely the place which G-d chose to intensely dwell, apparent from the Great Light that shines there. Even these words do not even "nearly" describe the taste of the sight of this light. I myself would wonder a G-dly wonder. Suddenly I felt that I came here in ancient times with my father to celebrate the pilgrimage holidays and to bow down by my father side. Suddenly, I knew to say that Jerusalem is the Heart of the Universe, not just the spiritual universe but hinted in the passing way of the Heart of Israel.

"In the beginning of G-d's creating" (Bereishit 1:1) Where did He stand when He created the world. It is if it is written, "here, on the Temple Mount," the exalted among mountains, measured by hidden wisdom; the mountain that the Creator has since chosen as His home, the house built on it forever even after the destructions, even when the House is not physically built on it, and even when no Jew's foot steps there. Its light is from the Seven Days of Creation. Here He commanded, "Let there be light." These is the unsubstituted light that extends from one end of the universe to the other. I remember I was not only short on words but short on thoughts. Silence was there, as if the clock for all generations had stopped ticking.

Until the local Arabs touched me and forever woke me up to our foreign existence. Oy to me and to all Israel for this, then and now, until the redeemers ascend the Mountain.

Since I went down from the Mountain I knew, Jerusalem is ours if only for That Mountain...

From the day I went down from the Temple Mount, I would walk and hear with all my limbs from the voices of the instruments that would be played in the Beit HaMikdash. All the music of beautiful Western instruments sunk in my chimes and was forgotten. It appeared to me that only the tunes I heard in my youth the zemirot we sang at home on Shabbat and holidays, our chanting of the Torah, Ashkenaz and Sfard prayers in synagogue, the pouring out of heart and soul at Kinot and Selichot, the music played at weddings they were all from the tune of the ancient instruments on the Temple Mount. Unfortunately these succeeding generations, there are Jews whose ears do not listen for the voices of our Kingdom and do not taste the tunes that come from here, FROM THE TEMPLE MOUNT.


POLICE WARN OF MOSLEM-CHRISTIAN CLASH

According to yesterdays report in the Yediot Acharonot newspaper, JerusalemPolice are apprehensive of a violent religious confrontation breaking outbetween Christians and Moslems. The violence is expected to erupt because ofthe Moslem Wakfs intention to destroy an ancient Christian building at Solomons Stables. In a classified, internal police document, JerusalemPolice Commander Aryeh Amit urges that the Wakf be severely warned not todestroy the Christian building. (Arutz-7 News: Monday, December 2, 1996)

Editor's Note: if only our police commanders had enough Jewishness and self confidence to protect the Jewish character on the Temple Mount.

(Arutz-7 News: Thursday, December 5, 1996)

COURT TO DECIDE ON TEMPLE MOUNT MOSQUE

The Supreme Court has concluded its debate of a third petition submitted bythe Chai Vikayam movement against the construction of a mosque inSolomons Stables beneath the Temple Mount. President of the Supreme Court,Chief Justice Aharon Barak, announced that the decision will be given at alater date. Several weeks ago, Muslims began quietly using a renovatedprayer hall in the underground compound, despite the case pending in theSupreme Court. Mustafa Tawil, an Islamic court judge, said the opening ofthe mosque underscored the Muslims' autonomy in administering the TempleMount compound. "Israeli authorities have no business with our mosque," he said.

P.S. If you're curious about what we're up against people of a pseudo nation created solely to attempt to block our Redemption and rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, you can look at the following web site to see how ridiculous their statements about Jerusalem are. There, you'll also see a good picture of the Temple Mount. See http://www.pna.org/mininfo/ (From Yirmiyahu Fischer, Virtual Jerusalem, Home of Jerusalem One)


Palestian Authority:

NO EVIDENCE OF JEWISH TEMPLE PERIOD IN JERUSALEM

The following is an excerpt from "Jerusalem, A City Crying Out For Justice" researched and prepared by Walid M. Awad, Director Of Foreign Publications, Palestine Ministry Of Information, as it appears on the Palestinian Authority's official WEB site.

"THE HISTORY OF JERUSALEM

"Jerusalem's name is derived from Or Salem, the city of Salem, a Jebusite deity. Throughout its history the city has suffered from many conquests, destruction and massacres. Any reading of the history of Jerusalem shows that the city took the bulk of its shape, its divine character and historical ambiance since the Muslim Caliph Omar Ibn Al Kattab took Jerusalem without bloodshed in 639 AD. 300 years before that, the city was under the uninterrupted hegemony of Romans converted to Christianity in 313 AD. Under the Omayyad Caliphs (660-750) Jerusalem flourished, and from this period important buildings survive: - Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock above all...

"MANIPULATING JERUSALEM'S HISTORY

"Immediately after Israeli soldiers occupied Arab East Jerusalem back in 1967, the Hebrew University, the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs, anthe Department of Antiquities collectively and individually began a massive excavation campaign in Arab East Jerusalem in a bid to find alocate traces of Jewish existence from the so called 'Temple Mount Era.'

"The fact of the matter is that almost thirty years of excavations did not reveal anything Jewish, no tangible evidence of theirs was unearthed. Much to their chagrin, what surfaced from their underground excavations turned out to be more Muslim palaces, courts and mosques. Other excavations revealed archeological ruins belonging to the Romans, Greeks and Canaanites.

"...Jerusalem is not a Jewish city, despite the biblical myth implanted in some minds. Nothing tangible has been found to give credibility to these claims.

"RELIGION AND HOLY SITES UNDER OCCUPATION

"The white marble circle on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is described in some literary sources and folklore legends as the 'Center of the World.' Jerusalem's centrality however, springs not from geographic or scientific factors, but from spiritual and religious considerations...

"In Jerusalem, Jesus Christ spent most of his public life praying, teaching, preaching, and explaining the essence of Christianity to mankind. In Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built...

"The Palestinian Arab Christian is the nucleus of this religion, and one of its main contributors nurturing it for 2000 years."

WALID M. AWAD
DIRECTOR OF FOREIGN PUBLICATIONS
PALESTINE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION

From: Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
December 3, 1996


THE DOME OF THE ROCK IS NOT A MOSQUE

Originally a Christian church

by James D. Tabor

(originally published in the United Israel Bulletin, Tevet 5754, page 3)

Anyone who has visited Jerusalem is familiar with the striking image of the golden dome of the rock on the ancient temple mount, clearly the most imposing structure in the old city. Most tourists and non-specialists refer to this beautiful shrine as a Moslem mosque. In point of fact, it isnothing of the kind. There is a Moslem mosque on the temple mount, the silver-domed Al-Aqsa mosque, located at the southern edge of the platform, just above the ancient steps and Chulda gates which led up into the Herodian temple in Roman times. This mosque, still used today by Moslems for daily prayer, was built in 710 CE.

The dome of the rock is not a mosque. It is a sacred shrine built over a huge rock, measuring 41 by 58 feet and projecting six feet above the floor of the building. Here according to Jewish tradition, Abraham bound his son Isaac, prepared to sacrifice him at HaShem's command; Jacob dreamed of the ladder which reached to heaven and from this spot HaShem created Adam (Pirkei d' R. Eliezer 35; Yoma 54b) this is the highest point of Mt. Moriah, mentioned in Genesis 22:2 as the place where Abraham went with Isaac, and in 2 Chronicles 3:1 as the site of the First Temple built by Solomon. The Moslems call the whole Temple Mount area Haram esh Sharif, which means "the noble enclosure."

In Moslem tradition, according to the Koran, this is the spot where Abraham was prepared to offer his first born son Ishmael, not Isaac as the Torah states; but perhaps even more important, they believe it to be the spot from which the prophet Muhammad made his heavenly journey riding his winged horse Burak. Relics from the prophet, including the hairs of his beard, are said to be at this spot. Accordingly, the city of Jerusalem, and particularly this rock, has become the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Under the rock is an opening leading to a cave below, which the Moslems call the Well of Souls. Although disputed, many Jewish authorities also believe that this rock is the Even Sh'siyah, the Foundation Stone of the holy temple, where the ark of the covenant rested in the Holy of Holies. It is worth noting that when Moslems pray on the temple mount, they turn toward Mecca, away from Jerusalem, with their backsides facing the holy mount. In middle eastern culture, such symbolic body language has great significance. To pious Jews, this is a daily insult to the holiness of Mt. Moriah.

The Dome's Rock

The origin of this Dome of the Rock is quite interesting. Most reference works will tell you it was built by Abd al Malik of the Omayyad dynasty between 685-705 CE. Inside the structure there is an inscription dating the building to the year 691 CE. The death of Muhammad was in 632 CE, and by 638 Jerusalem and all of Syria and Palestine had fallen to the Arab conquerors. Most assume the moslems put up this shrine shortly thereafter, around 690 CE.

However, there is more to the story and the full facts have some interesting relevance to current Jewish and Moslem disputes over the ancient site of the two Jewish temples. Politics of the early 7th century CE were much more complicated than this general storybook version of the so-called Moslem invasion of the holy land. What most casual readers overlook is the brief period of persian rule from 614-628 CE, just prior to the Arab conquest. In 614, the Persians invaded and captured Jerusalem from the Byzantine Christians, who had ruled Jerusalem since the time of Constantine (320 CE).

Byzantine Christians take over

It was through the assistance of the Jews who lived in Jerusalem that the persians were able to liberate the city. The Jews had been treated horribly under three centuries of Christian rule, like the persians of old, these liberators passed legislation favorable to the Jews. Many Jews were convinced that the redemption was at hand, and that Isaiah 45, which speaks of the Persian king Cyrus as the anointed of HaShem, was being fulfilled in a prophetic way, signaling the time for the rebuilding of the third temple. There was such enthusiasm among the Jews that temple sacrifices were even resumed for a short time of the holy mount. However, this Persian victory was short lived and the Jewish hopes were soon dashed. In 628 CE, just a decade before the Moslem conquest of Jerusalem, the Byzantine Christians were able to regain control of the city. In retaliation against the Jews, and to dash any hopes of redemption, they passed laws forbidding Jews to go up to the temple mount to pray or to come within 3 miles of the city of Jerusalem. They also forbad Jews to assemble and recite prayers. Many Jews were executed and many fled to the desert, to further infuriate the Jews, *they built a small octagon shaped Christian church on the top of the holy mount!* When Jerusalem fell into Moslem hands in March-April, 638, it was that Christian church which was CONVERTED into the Moslem shrine we see today---the Dome of the Rock. This explains why the Dome of the Rock is so different from the three major types of mosques found in the Moslem world- --the Arab or hypostyle type, the Iranian type (four vaulted halls), Or the Ottoman type (all minarets around a soaring dome). As an aerial photo clearly shows, the basic shape of the building is that of an eight sided Byzantine church. Indeed, the Moslems employed the very Byzantine craftsmen who had built the original church to remodel the structure into a Moslem shrine for the rock.

An affront to Jews

This overlooked fact has great symbolic and prophetic significance for Israel and the future of Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is more than an attractive tourist site, or a Moslem holy place. the very structure was put up as an affront to faithful Jews who longed for the redemption in the 7th century CE, hoping at long last for an end to Roman-Christian cruelty and oppression. Indeed, the structure itself fits into a long history of pagan affront to the holy site beginning in December, 167 BCS when Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) dedicated the altar to Zeus Olympus, offered pigs and other forbidden animals, and decreed that a festival of Dionysus be celebrated on his birthday, the 25th of Kislev. This was the beginning of THE SHIQQUTZ MESHOMEM, the "abomination that makes desolate" spoken of by Daniel the prophet. (Daniel 11:31).

After the destruction of the Second Temple, and following the 2nd Jewish revolt against Rome, the emperor Hadrian rebuilt the ruins of the Jewish temple into a pagan temple to Zeus.

Jews were forbidden to even go to this site to pray.although constantine had this pagan Roman temple destroyed, the Byzantine church, built there after 628 CE, essentially continued the same policy---TO SPITE AND CONFOUND ALL Jewish HOPES OF REDEMPTION. That is the historic meaning of this structure. In 1099, when the Christians recaptured the city of Jerusalem, they turned the building back into a church calling it TEMPLUM DOMINI, and erecting a cross at the top. This was removed by Saladin in1194. Maps and drawings from ancient times show that the appearance of the building was once quite different than it is today. The building was restored through massive contributions from Moslem countries from 1958-1964. Currently king hussein of jordan had contributed millions of dollars to refurbish the golden dome.

This article is a gleaning of two source books: Eugene Hoade, Guide to the Holy Land, 9th edition (Jerusalem, Franciscan printing, 1978); M. Avi-Yonah, The Jews of Palestine, (New York: Schocken Books 1976, pg 257-278.) The author, James Tabor, is affiliated with the Bnai Noach movement and is a Professor of Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.


THE HIDDEN VESSELS OF THE TEMPLE

by Moshe Notzar, (Yibane HaMikdash 108, originally published: "Yom HaShishi" 8 Av 5756)

"When the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt" is the source of vitality for Jews throughout the generations.

The first task for the Jews of Israel, upon hearing the Shofar of Mashiach, will be how to find the Vessels of the Temple ASAP. According to our information, the first probable place to look is...

The National Museum in Akkaba, Jordan.

The lost Temple Vessels are not there, but the treasurer of the museum can point the seekers to the scroll that refers to the "Secret Tunnel", that according to Sefer HaHashmonaim, the prophet Yirmiyahu hid the Vessels of the First Beit Mikdash including the Ark, the Alter, and many more Vessels.

Before the first Israeli diplomats arrived at the hotel in Akkaba for the secret meetings with King Hussein, American Jews tried to reach agreements with the National Museum's management that would enable the treasurer of the museum to open the Copper Scroll secretly brought to their treasures by two Bedouin shepherds. They found them on one of the mountainous valleys near Akkaba.

This ties one mountain in Jordan with the lost Temple Vessels. Rav Menachem Borstein, one of the great experts in the subject, reveals that the discussions with the Hashemite Kingdom regarding the Temple Vessels were until now so extensive , that he himself, as well as all involved, are amazed that nothing leaked to the media all those years.

This was another type of "secrecy" regarding the hiding place of the Vessels. "It appears that it was just not meant for this to leak outside," say Rav Borstein.

One of the less known sources about the Temple Vessels is the Sefer HaHashmonaim. There it is written explicitly that the prophet Yirmiyahu hid the First Temple Vessels, the Ark, and the Alter "on the mountain that Moshe Rabeinu saw." This definition has been the subject of investigation for hundreds of years, since Moshe Rabeinu, who saw the mountain, did not write or hint it in the Torah.

Many researchers identify the mountain to be Mount Nevo, and even now one mountain thought to be Mount Nevo has a beautiful entrance with floors that have descriptions and pictures of the Temple Vessels. It appears, according to Rav Borstein, that the heads of this church considered this to be the mountain that Yirmiyahu hid the Temple Vessels.

A HIGHLY PRESSURED JOURNEY

Over the generations, many great Jewish researchers have unsuccessfully searched for the Temple Vessels in Jordan. The first sign of life came twenty-five years ago when two Bedouin shepherds came to the National Museum in Akkaba and told the treasurer about the scroll they found in one of the mountainous caves. The treasurers of the museum received a copper scroll and were afraid to open it and tear up its contents, lest they open it and it would completely disintegrate.

Since the scroll was copper, it was possible to read its lines from its back side. The then manager almost fell from his chair when he read the text. Only two years later had the scroll reached his hands, and he was privileged to announce that in the few lines he was able to read, he had a detailed description of how to get to the.. Jewish Temple Vessels, and that the author gives a detailed design of the Vessels themselves.

Once the scroll was discovered by Jewish scholars, tremendous pressure fell on the Hashemite Kingdom, especially on the management of the National Museum in Akkaba., to open the scroll to Jewish scholars and to allow them, possibly, to go up to the end of the last thread leading to the secret tunnel.

A delegation of Jewish scholars secretly arrived in Akkaba and tried to speak heart to heart to the Jordanians and show them the importance the Jewish People places on the lost Vessels. The Jordanians got the message; they need no explanation. They were aware of the rare treasure that they happened to have, but they tried to convince the Jewish scholars that if they tried to open the scroll, it would crumble in their hands, and no one would benefit.

Jews are Jews, and regarding the Beit HaMikdash, they certainly will forgo no effort to find a solution. Prof. Kandi, an expert for decades in decoding hidden and ancient scrolls, was hired, and he suggest the Jordanians slice it systematically, and he waged his honor in the method's success. In the end, the managers of the Jordanian National Museum entrusted the scrolls to Prof. Kandi. Using a special device, he succeeded to slice the scroll and identify 90% of the text.

DIFFERING OPINIONS

The scroll is 2.40 meters long and 28 cm wide. The letters resembled Ancient Hebrew, and every line guides the readers to the density of the cave with precise description of the Vessels hidden there. The only thing the author did not reveal was ... where the tunnel was.

"Everything was written there, except the exact place of the tunnel," Rav Borstein wrings his hands and testifies, that before the scroll was opened, the Jewish scholars were hoping to find the path to the Temple Vessels. This hope was ended.

Rav Borstein continues and says that the scholars also disagree as to when the scroll was written. Some claimed that the Temple Vessels described there were the Vessels prepared by Bar Kochba for the Third Temple, still to be built. Bar Kochba, who many claimed was the Mashiach, prepared all the Temple Vessels. After he realized that the Beit HaMikdash would not be built in his lifetime, he hid the Vessels and saw fit to document their location in a special scroll that he also hid in a cave, until the Bedouin shepherds found it.

Many scholars attribute the scroll to the Temple Vessels that the prophet Yirmiyahu buried, and the subject is thus the original Temple Vessels. If they succeed in the end to decode from the scroll the location of the tunnel, it will be possible to reach the actual Vessels.

BAGHDAD'S INPUT

Rav Borstein him self has tried his own ways to reveal the Vessels. His system of connections is secretive, but the letter he pulls out shows that they must be extensive.

The letter that he receive 13 years ago is sign by the heads of the National Museum in ... Baghdad. Yes, this is in the Baghdad of Saddam Hussein. According to sources that Rav Borstein found in Cabalistic literature, the First Temple Vessels are hidden in Baghdad. "The most natural thing was that I directly contact the Iraqi National Museum and try to clarify if they know any details of this subject."

To his Rav Borstein's surprise, within a few days he received an important letter which included ... an invitation to visit the museum in Iraq. The treasurer informed him that he has many objects and Vessels for the First Jewish Temple Period, "and I will be very happy if you honor me with a visit to Baghdad to identify the objects," writes the Iraqi treasurer.

When we asked Rav Borstein if he accepted the invitation, he requested to leave the question in "no comment". (from MIKDASH-BUILD, , 4 Kislev 5757 Volume I, Number 10.


MINISTER HASSAN TAHBOUB & HUSSEINI ON TEMPLE MOUNT

Aaron Lerner, 20 October 1996

IMRA interviewed Adnan Al Husseini, the Executive Director of the Waqf, in English, on October 20, 1996.

IMRA: How do you see Jewish activity at the Western Wall when an agreement is finally reached about Jerusalem?

Husseini: We do not want to talk of details but there is something very important: we have to insist that East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian state. If you want real peace you need a strong Palestinian state beside Israel.

IMRA: Do you think that the Jews will be permitted to disturb the Al Aksa services by blowing shofars at the Western Wall like they do today during certain holidays?

Husseini: I do not think so. I think that the governments will have to take care of the extreme people.

The Jews should understand that the Moslems are there at Al Aksa due to God's decision and this is written in the holy book and it is very important to understand the famous visit of Mohammed there. Since then it is God's decision and after that the Prophet. This is from God from the holy book.

Islam respects all the religions and took care of all the holy books and safeguarded the lives of all non-Moslems. We have to respect the factor of time and the new understanding which took place and not look backwards two thousand years. Otherwise there will be no peace forever. The Moslems are there and it is a mosque and they must understand it.

_____________________

IMRA interviewed the Palestinian Authority Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, Hassan Tahboob, in English, on October 20, 1996.

IMRA: When will the new mosque be open in Solomon's Stables in Jerusalem?

Tahboob: It is not a new mosque, it is a prayer space within the Aksa Mosque area. We consider the entire area of the Aksa Mosque to be a mosque. We expect it to open for prayers by the end of the week.

IMRA: How large is the facility?

Tahboob: Very large. It can hold more than 4,000 people.

IMRA: Jerusalem is cold in the winter, will there be heating?

Tahboob: It will be all right. We have carpets on the floor.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
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ISRAELI ARABS RAISE HALF MILLION SHEKEL FOR AL AKSA

30,000 Israeli Arabs attended a rally "to save the Al Aksa Mosque" at the Um Al Fachem stadium and raised NIS 500,000 to continue renovations of the Al Aksa area. ("Haaretz" 13 October, 1996)


FROM THE WRITINGS OF THE RAMBAM

On Tuesday, 4 Heshvan 5026, we left Acre to ascend to Jerusalem midst danger, and I entered the Great Holy Place and prayed there on hursday, 6 Heshvan. These two days... I vowed would be holy days of prayer and joy in G-d and of drinking and drinking. May G-d help me in all these endures and may I be able to fulfill my vow to G-d. Amen. And just as I merited to pray there in its ruins, so may I and all Israel see it consoled speedily. Amen. (Sefer HaCharedim Mitzvat Tshuva Chapter 3)


SPECIAL REPORT:
THE BATTLE FOR THE TEMPLE MOUNT

(Jerusalem Report Cover Story October 3, 1996)

by: Yossi Klein Halevi

For nearly 30 years, an uneasy status quo prevailed on the Temple Mount--- Jordan effectively controlling the site, Palestinians aspiring to it, and most Orthodox Jews considering it too holy to walk upon. Now, though, Yasser Arafat is doing his best to edge out the Jordanians, and an increasing number of Jews are asserting their own historical right. The conflicting claims are threatening to turn what is already the region's most sensitive ground into a real flash point.

THEY WERE BACK AGAIN ON. Tisha Be'av, the summer fast day commemorating the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. As in previous years, a handful of members of the Temple Mount Faithful fringe group gathered near the Western Wall plaza to protest Muslim control of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, shouting into TV cameras about Jewish pride and Arab perfidy and government appeasement. Then, just as predictably, another handful of zealots from the far-right Hai Vekayam group---whose leader, Yehudah Etzion, was jailed in the mid 80s for plotting to blow up the Muslim Dome of the Rock as a prelude to the rebuilding of the Temple were carried off by police after trying to illegally pray on the Mount. Both events received the requisite media coverage, confirming for much of the public that the demand for a formal Jewish presence on theTemple Mount remains a marginal issue even within the Orthodox community, championed only by fanatics and cranks.

And yet later that same day---unreported by the media---a thousand religious Zionists, including rabbis and students from mainstream yeshivahs, silently gathered in the vaulted, tunnel-like entrance to the Temple Mount's "Cotton Gate," intending to pray on the Mount. They were blocked by a tight row of police. And so the mostly young men and women prayed where they stood, asking God to undo Israel's "shame" and restore the Temple: "Just as we've seen it in ruins, let us merit seeing its rebuilding." One man blew into a silver, thin-stemmed sort of trumpet---a replica of an instrument played in the ancient Temple---filling the dark tunnel with piercing, brassy sounds.

In the past, the Temple Mount was indeed a marginal, almost untouchable issue in the religious Zionist community. Preoccupied with settlement-building, and fearful of violating the rabbinical precept against treading on the ground that once held the Temple's inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies, religious Zionists simply avoided the issue, implicitly leaving the resolution of the Temple Mount conflict to messianic times. That passivity suited the Mount's Muslim guardians, who object to all worshipers from other faiths praying there.

BUT NOW THE ORTHODOX Jewish attitude is beginning to change. Partly it's the result of years of educational outreach. Tens of thousands of religious Zionists---including students in state-sponsored religious high schools---have attended lectures and slide presentations by organizations like the Temple Institute, a group funded partially by the government whose Jerusalem museum houses gold and silver replicas of Temple implements (ready for use in a rebuilt Temple), and which sponsored the Tisha Be'av gathering at the Cotton Gate.

The Netanyahu victory has raised expectations of a change in the so-called "status quo"---which grants Jews the right to visit but not pray on the Mount, and which gives Israeli police authority at its gates but Muslim officials control within. Netanyahu's government is the first to include in its coalition guidelines implicit support for Jewish prayer on the Mount, promising to "guarantee the rights of the Jews to pray in all the places holy to them." Already under pressure not to exacerbate tensions with the Palestinians, Netanyahu is unlikely to initiate any changes on the Mount for now. "The government has no intention of altering the status quo," promises Jerusalem mayor and Netanyahu confidant Ehud Olmert. And Temple Mount activists lost a major potential ally in August when justice minister Yaakov Neeman was forced to resign following allegations of wrongdoing. Neeman was the first serving minister ever to participate in prayers on the Mount---joining a small and private afternoon prayer group this past Tisha Be'av in the Makhkema, a building at the southern entrance to the Mount that serves as Border Police headquarters.

But the activists have begun an unprecedented dialogue with the new government. In mid July, Netanyahu adviser David Bar-Illan told them he sympathized with their position, on civil liberties grounds. "People used to smile when they'd mention us," says veteran activist Yisrael Medad. "Now we're taken seriously, and in some religious Zionist circles, very seriously." Activists have presented the government with a list of demands, including establishing a tourist center overlooking the Mount, which would explain the site's significance for Jews; turning part of the Makhkema into asynagogue; and ending the veto power of the waqf, the Muslim Religious Trust, over Jewish prayer. And though none of those demands is likely to be met at this stage, Netanyahu is apparently receptive to allowing Jewish "study groups" onto the Mount, according to Nadav Shragai, a Ha'aretz reporter and author of a recent book on the Temple Mount conflict. "But he wants to be sure the study groups don't turn into prayer groups," says Shragai, adding that Netanyahu intends to include the prayer issue in final-status talks with the Palestinians.

ANY CHANGE IN THE STATUS QUO could result inviolence. The October 1990 Palestinian riot on the Mount, for example, which resulted in 17 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers, began with a false rumor that members of the Temple Mount Faithful were coming up to pray. Muslim authorities do not recognize Jewish claims. "There's no mention at all in Islam that this was the original site of the Temple," says Adnan Husseini, director of the waqf. If Jews were allowed up to pray, warns Hassan Tahbub, the Palestinian Authority's minister of religion, "of course there'd be violence."

Since 1967, all Israeli governments have endorsed the status quo---implemented on June 17, 1967, a mere week after the Six-Day War. Then-defense minister Moshe Dayan removed his shoes and sat on a prayer rug in the silver-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and told Muslim officials they would retain control of the Mount. It was, in effect, the first instance of Palestinian autonomy. By offering exclusive Muslim rights over the Mount, Dayan hoped to prevent the Arab-Israeli conflict from degenerating into a Muslim-Jewish holy war over the region's most sensitive ground.

If the political ban has held all these years without being seriously challenged by Orthodox Jews, that is because it has enjoyed near-total rabbinic support. The conventional reason for the rabbis' ban on entering any part of the Mount was that it prevented Jews from accidentally treading on the Holy of Holies---where the Ark of the Covenant stood and which only the High Priest was permitted to enter, and only then on Yom Kippur. But there were other motives for the caution: the sense that all matters relating to the Temple are the messiah's prerogative; and the fear of bloodshed if Jews prayed on the Mount.

And yet, just as the political constraint against a Jewish presence there may be weakening, so too is the rabbinic taboo. There is a growing sense within the religious Zionist camp that the unqualified ban may be overly stringent. Rabbinic authorities through the centuries unanimously agreed that the Holy of Holies would have been located in what is today the Dome of the Rock---and so, argue activists, walking the parameters of the Mount, and especially the southern area around Al-Aqsa, is spiritually "safe." Privately, some of the most respected rabbinic authorities---including former chief rabbis Mordechai Eliyahu and Avraham Shapira---have allowed followers to go up to the Mount, provided they do so without provocation or demonstrations, and avoid the Dome of the Rock. "They've let it be known to people they consider responsible that they don't want the Mount to be left without Jews," says Medad. And while the current Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau won't endorse "going up," he won't condemn it, and merely cautions against entering forbidden areas---implicitly acknowledging that some parts of the Mount are halakhically accessible.

Though only a small minority of Orthodox Jews ascend the Mount, to do so is no longer considered a violation by many mainstream religious Zionists. In recent months, classes from half-a-dozen hesder, or military, yeshivahs, led by their rabbis (including Yehudah Amital, religious Zionism's leading dove), have quietly gone up. Every Tuesday, a small group led by a 45-year-old hasid named Yosef Elbaum meets outside the Mughrabi Gate, above the Western Wall plaza.After submitting identification to Border Police, who check their names against a list of banned Jewish "troublemakers," they enter the massive, green-painted wooden doors. They are immediately flanked by an Israeli policeman and a sulking waqf official, who watches the lips of Elbaum and his friends to ensure that no illicit prayers slip through. The group---bent on demonstrating a Jewish presence---traverses the perimeter of the Mount, attracting stares from picnicking Arab families under pine trees and boys playing soccer near the Dome of the Rock. A waqf official, recognizing Elbaum, greets him in Yiddish: "Vos macht ir?" he asks with a smile---How are you? Says Elbaum: "There doesn't have to be a war over the Mount. If 10,000 Jews go up, the waqf will appoint 10,000 guards to accompany them and make sure they don't pray. But it will become a part of life."

Winning the right to Jewish prayer is merely the activists' interim goal; the ultimate goal is a rebuilt Temple. For Orthodox Jews, who pray for its resurrection three times a day, the Temple embodies Judaism's attempt to sanctify the material world: Just as Shabbat and the holidays are intended to create sacred time, so was the Temple meant to create sacred space. According to tradition, the Temple was the place where God violated His remoteness and revealed Himself to human beings. "The yearning for the Temple is a longing for the renewal of the dialogue between God and Israel," says the NRP's Hanan Porat, who heads the Knesset's Temple Mount lobby and helped conquer the Mount, as a paratrooper, in 1967. I don't expect the rabbinic establishment to initiate Temple Mount activity, only not to interfere," Porat says. "The Jews will return to the Mount through grass-roots pressure, not through a meeting of rabbis deciding to go up. On this issue, the rabbis will follow the people."


 

COURT REJECTS TEMPLE MOUNT PETITION

Three Supreme Court Justices---Tal, Heshin, and Bach---rejected late this morning an urgent petition on the part of the Temple Mount Faithful organization against the opening of the mosque in the Solomon's Stables area of the Mount. The appellants claimed that the construction of the mosque by the Waqf was carried out in blatant violation of the law, in total disregard of a court order, and was severely harmful to archaeological findings. The Temple Mount Faithful will hold a protest against the recent Temple Mount developments at 4:30 PM on Sunday, opposite the Mashbir in Jerusalem. (Arutz-7 News Brief: Friday, October 11, 1996)

ARABS THREATEN

Islamic officials stated this morning that the mosque will not open this coming Sunday, as originally planned, as "the continuation of the renovations will take up to a week." Head of Religious Affairs in the Palestinian Authority Hasan Tahboub said, "There will be massacres if there is any attempt to stop the opening of the mosque." (Arutz-7 News, Sunday, October 13, 1996)

COURT REJECTS ANOTHER TEMPLE MOUNT PETITION,
BUT LEAVES DOOR OPEN

The Supreme Court rejected this morning a petition by the Chai Vekayam organization against the turning of Solomon's Stables into a mosque. The Court, headed by Chief Justice Aharon Barak, recommended that the petition be revamped and re-submitted within fifteen days. Another petition against the construction, on the grounds that it violated municipal building ordinances, was rejected by the Court on Friday. The current petition is based on a claim that the construction is harmful to antiquities at the site. The political cabinet will convene later this afternoon to discuss the Waqf's intentions to dedicate the new four-dunam mosque. The meeting follows a request by Minister of Absorption Yuli Edelstein that the government discuss the issue. Minister of Public Security Avigdor Kahalani said this morning that he recommended to the Prime Minister not to intercede with the construction of the Temple Mount mosque. (Arutz-7 News, Monday, October 14, 1996)

 

SYNAGOGUE ON TEMPLE MOUNT?

A program to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount was presented today by MK Rabbi Benny Elon and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. They said that archaeologists and historians claim that there once was a synagogue situated on the site. (Arutz-7 News, Tuesday, October 15, 1996)

 

 

REVISED PETITION SUBMITTED AGAINST TEMPLE MOUNT MOSQUE

The Chai Vekayam movement submitted this morning the corrected version of its Supreme Court petition against the Waqf's construction of a mosque on the Temple Mount. Its original petition was rejected on Sunday, at which time the Court said that it would be willing to accept a revised version of the petition within fifteen days that better represented the oral claims that were made during Sunday's hearing. The attorney representing Chai Vekayam, Naftali Wurtzberger, claims that the construction is a violation of "Basic Law: Jerusalem" and affects the status quo on the Temple Mount.


From the Newsletter Published by HaTenu'ah Lechinun HaMikdash
Midash Build Vol I, No 7
P.O. Box 31336
Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 011-972-2-537-1904 Returning the Jewish People to the Holy Temple

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From the editor:

Lema'an Beit Hashem Elokeinu
Brethren and Friends,

Now is the time to speak up about the Mountain ofthe Beit HaMikdash. Here are two recent items which I must speak up against and condemn.

1. Since Sukkot, Jews have been barred from entering the Temple Mount. Although the Kotel has been closed for short periods for security purposes, never has the Temple Mount been closed even for a minute to Moslems. It is a terrible injustice to bar Jews from entering the Temple Mount.

2. Recently, the restraining order against 13 Chai VeKayam activists has been renewed. Please note that although there have been Arabs who have committed violent actions on the Temple Mount, never has one Arab been barred from entering the Temple Mount. These restraining orders are inequitable and unjust and should be removed.

Although a minority of Rabbanim in Israel actually forbid entering the Temple Mount and others are against it (although admitting it is halachically permissible to enter certain areas if one dips in a mikva or ma'ayan first and is aware of the boundaries), the Temple Mount remains our Holiest sight, and barring Jews from entering and praying there is a crime against the Jewish People and against humanity.

If the fate of the place of our Holy Temple concerns you, you can email or fax the following government officials. (If you have additional numbers or email addresses, I would appreciate it.)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Fax: 011-972--2-566-4838
email: prime-minister@likud.org.il

Avigdor Kahalani (Internal Security Minister)
Fax: 011-972-2-628-9243

Yuri Eddelstein
Fax: 011-972-2-618-138


PM Netanyahu, Rise up to the Truth of Hebron and Eretz Yisrael

by Rabbi Eliezer Waldman

The test of leadership is to determine what the truth is and then to expound it openly. It may be necessary to exercise care when setting forth your position, but it is of utmost importance that the content of your position is clear and unambiguous.

The position of a Jewish leader in Israel must be, first and foremost, to assert the Truth that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel. It must be stated openly and forcefully that the Jewish People were given the Land of Israel by a Divine Promise to our Father, Abraham. This promise was made here, in Hebron. As a result of that promise it is our obligation to live in our homeland, to build and develop it, and to maintain Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael. A true leader must be prepared to face hostile challenges to his position. He must believe, with complete faith, in the justness of his cause even if he faces great opposition from powerful forces. He must strongly and courageously espouse Jewish Truth before everyone, friend and foe alike, and then have the conviction to defend that Truth. He must fully believe that only by standing behind that Truth will he succeed.

The basic difference between the Netanyahu government and the previous one is the way it relates to the Jewish homeland. You, Mr. Prime Minister, received the mandate because you expressed the truth of Eretz Yisrael and had the courage to declare it openly to the nations of the world. Now you have the responsibility for the implementation of this Divine Truth. For this you are being attacked by friend and foe alike, from without and within. Now is the time to prove that this truth is genuine and valid. It is our source of life and strength, and, therefore, the only insurance of overcoming our enemies.

It must be understood that the enemies of the Jewish People espouse deceit and falsehood, stand behind their lies, and have no shame or reservations about being consistent with their lies. Therefore, any hesitation on the part of the government to defend the Truth will cast doubt upon the validity of our position and encourage our enemies. Make no mistake, any attempt to present our view by cushioning Truth in diplomatic phraseology will not assure its acceptance, but rather will work in the opposite manner. Such an approach implies uncertainty and actually helps the enemy to weaken our stand and convince the world that Truth is not on our side.

Mr. Netanyahu, Rise up to the Truth of Hebron and Eretz Yisrael!

The roots to our Land are Divine roots. This is what makes Israel the Holy Land. This makes Jerusalem and Hebron our holy shrines which portray their Divine essence. If we fail to refer to the roots of Eretz Yisrael, then our cause is weakened if not lost entirely. Our enemies don't hesitate to espouse their distortions of historical fact and speak about every inch of "Palestine" being holy to them, and that Hebron was always a "palestinian" city. If we reduce our claim to Eretz Yisrael merely to satisfy "security" requirements, we are actually giving legitimacy to the falsehoods of our enemies! We live in Hebron and all of Judea and Samaria, not for "security reasons," rather simply because it is ours. Hebron is the basis for the roots of Jewish values of faith, along with the fact that Jewish life has flourished here continuously for more than two thousand years. Mr. Prime Minister, Hebron will be the litmus test of the success of your leadership. By refusing to compromise on Hebron now, your victory in Jerusalem and all of Eretz Yisrael is assured.

Any weakness in Hebron will endanger the future of the entire country.

The Divine Truth of Eretz Yisrael is eternal, and stronger than all the distortions and lies of our enemies, all of whom are destined to fall. Those who have displayed the courage to continue the Zionist process by renewing Jewish life here, in Hebron, are not intimidated by lies, distortions, or terror. They stand up to all challenges and have succeeded in replanting authentic, flourishing Jewish roots in all parts of our homeland. This proves the everlasting power of this faith and Truth.

Unfortunately we also have opponents among our own people. There are Jews today in the Land of Israel who have rejected their ties to the land. They have found a strange "new truth" such as the "new middle east" or the "new world order" all of which reject Divine Truth. Our misguided brothers consider all religious belief as "primitive." They consider the rejection of the Divine to be "progressive," whereas world leaders respect the strength of our enemies' claims when they are based upon religious precepts. Only when we all return to the genuine roots of Jewish faith and stand united in our Land will we gain the respect of the nations and fulfill our destiny.

I turn to you, PM Netanyahu, Rise up to the Truth of Hebron and Eretz Yisrael! We are all with you. [10/15/96. Nir College Newsletter by Gary Cooperberg (nir@jer1.co.il)].


Collected by Lambert Dolphin, lambert@ldolphin.org


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