Ever since the Day of Atonement the Temple Mount has again become a flashpoint of contention between Israel and the world. The Muslims have raised frantic calls throughout the Islamic world fro them to come and protect their mosques from the Jewish heinous attempts to make Jerusalem Jewish.
The Aqsa Foundation warned of new attempts by “extremist Jews ” to desecrate the Aqsa Mosque this week to commemorate what the Jews call the ” Rambam ascent to the temple mount.” The Foundation said that it views with concern calls by extremist Jewish organizations to desecrate the Aqsa Mosque under various pretexts. These calls come according to the agency after Muslim worshipers foiled attempts in the past by “extremist Jewish groups” to desecrate the Aqsa mosque during Jewish holidays by praying on the mount ( Heaven forefend).
The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour called on the Security Council to condemn Israel for its “aggressive actions” at Temple Mount. In a letter to the assembly Mansour writes, “Israel engaged in violence, provocation, and incitement which threaten to increase mounting tension and harm regional stability.” Jewish groups walking on the Temple Mount and some even mouthing silent prayers, it seems, constituted “violence provocation and incitement”
If it wasn’t so ominous it would be humorous.
The Temple Mount is the holiest location in the universe according to Jewish understanding. It was from there that the world expanded into its present form, and it was there where Hashem gathered the earth used to create man.. The Torah tells us that HaShem chose to rest His Divine Presence, in that location and two Jewish Temples, called the House of G-d, were built there . According to the prophecies of the Bible , the Third Temple will also be located here, and will eventually be the eternal House of Prayer for all nations (Isaiah 1:2-3; Ezekiel . 37:26-28; 40-48;Micah . 4:1-2; Haggai. 2:7-9;and Zechariah 6:12-15; 14:20)
The world , though, and especially the Muslim world have yet to learn to digest, cope and accept that reality.
After the destruction of the Temple, Mount Moriah upon which the temple stood lay desolate for a very long time. Every subsequent ruler forbad the return of the Jews to this holy location. In the sixth century Justinian dedicated a church on the Temple platform.
After the Muslim armies conquered Jerusalem in 638 Omar visited the city and accompanied by Archbishop Sophronius entered the Temple precinct and declared that this was the spot that the Koran describes as the location of the Prophet’s miraculous night journey “from the holy temple in Mecca to the distant temple” .Omar declared that this temple mount was the place of the distant Temple ( as opposed to Medina , which was probably the more historically accurate place )
What followed were bloody wars between the Christians and the Muslims in a frantic passion to control Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The Crusaders held Jerusalem from 1099 to 1187. Saladin captured the Mount in 1187 and Muslims gained control and continued the ban on Jewish worship until 1967.
Since then the Muslim authorities have increasingly denied that the Temple Mount has any biblical significance other than to the Muslims. Azzam Khatib, director of the Islamic Trust that sees itself as the safeguard of the Muslim sites on the temple Mount denied that the hat the site was once home to the First and Second Jewish Temples, calling such claims unsubstantiated myths. He explained that when the Muslims first arrived in Jerusalem 1,400 years ago, the Temple Mount area was barren and empty , and no hard evidence of previous structures exist, making any non-Muslim claims to the mount mere speculation.
As a result Khatib declared that any non-Muslim “who seeks to pray on the mount is really seeking a religious war who further insisted that the Temple Mount is an exclusively Muslim site and that Jews and Christians should not even want to pray there.
As Israel witnessed recently a mini uprising that was fomented by local and international Islamic movements has fizzled out for now. Yet we can expect that we will soon see it rear its ugly head again with even more passion. The battle lines are being drawn and the major portion of the world has set its eyes on this city and on that Holy mount.
Recently The US State Department said Sunday that the future status of Jerusalem could only be determined through negotiations. In a response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proclamation that Jerusalem would always remain under Israeli sovereignty they said that “Jerusalem is a final status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final status issues,”. The United States and the World cannot countenance a Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty.
The United States would be well advised to heed or at least read the words of the prophet Zachariah;
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would try to heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” ( Zechariah 12:2-3)
Yet there are many people in the world that hear a call beyond the noise and din of political correctness. There are many that still hear the call to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem ( psalm 122) ” They also have an intuitive understanding that the Hebrew word for Peace is Shalom. That word is rooted in the concept of being whole and complete ( Shalem) Jerusalem can only be a true vessel of peace if it remains a vessel unbroken and complete.