This edition looks at the Muslim “mandate” for Israel to forget about the Third Temple.
SINCE YOU ASKED
The recent reconstruction (2010) of the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s “Old City” has reignited controversy over the Third Temple. Because of the Synagogue’s proximity to the Temple Mount, Muslim politicians and clerics are claiming its reconstruction signals Jewish plans to rebuild the Temple. They are, likewise, calling on the worldwide Muslim community to “Save Jerusalem from the Jewish threat” and to “Save the Mosque of Al Aksa from destruction.” In their view, the Third Temple is a recipe for World War III. The campaign of incitement has been led by the “Islamic Movement” in Israel and “Hamas” in Gaza. The leader of the “Islamic Movement” recently railed, “The Jews have no right to Jerusalem. Every grain of sand in Jerusalem belongs to the Muslims! You who dedicate the Hurva Synagogue today will see it in ruins tomorrow.” Arab Knesset members have repeatedly echoed the warnings regarding Temple construction.
Besides it proximity to the Temple Mount, the other reason the Hurva Synagogue is such an explosive issue is because of a rabbinical prophecy that when it is rebuilt for the third time, it would lead to the building of the Third Temple. It was originally built in the early 1700s but destroyed in 1721. It was rebuilt in 1864, but destroyed by the Jordanian army in the 1848 War of Independence. Its recent reconstruction would mark the second time for being rebuilt, producing the third “version.”
AS I SEE IT
The Third Temple seems to be more of a hot-button issue for Israeli Muslims than it is for the nation’s Jews. Most Israeli Jews appear content to simply dream about the Temple, hoping it was appear supernaturally one day. For Muslims, it’s a big deal, since they claim it’s the third holiest site in all Islam. They maintain this claim despite the fact that Jerusalem is mentioned 632 times in the Old Testament and not once in the Qur’an. Claiming even a part of Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state has no historical basis. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Islamic nation, even when Islam conquered the Holy Land in the 7th Century. Back then, Ramle was the capital. There is no evidence that Muhammad had ever been to Jerusalem, and 25 years after his death, Damascus, not Mecca, was declared the capital of the Islamic Empire.
Muslims have carried their disregard for historical facts to a new level with the recent claim that no Jewish Temple ever stood on that site. This is the position taken by Ikrima Sabri, the Mufti or Muslim spiritual leader of Jerusalem. “There is not a single stone in Jerusalem that bears witness to a Jewish heritage,” declared Sabri last year. Such claims are relatively recent and fly in the face of an English-language tourist guide entitled A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary, known to Jews as the Temple Mount) published by the Supreme Moslem Council in 1935. The guide states that 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 the universal belief, on which David built an altar unto the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”
Despite the evidence and the historical record, Palestinian Muslims have sought to eradicate all Jewish claims to the land ever since Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 War. At the heart of the debate is the issue of the Third Temple. Read more about the Temple.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Actual Newspaper Article:
One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers.