Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some truths about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

Today (November 9, 2014), Arab Muslims continue to riot in Jerusalem (“Beit Hanina Arabs Throw Rocks at Light Rail”, Arutz Sheva, November 9, 2014; and, “Watch: Firework 'War Zone' as Arabs Target Police in Jerusalem”, Arutz Sheva, November 9, 2014). Since August, riots and individual attacks have focused primarily on Jerusalem. During the last hundred days, there have been perhaps 15,000 Arab attacks in and around our capital city (“Mayor Reveals Jerusalem Went from 200 to 5,000 Monthly Attacks”, Arutz Sheva, October 27, 2014).

The Temple Mount represents the heart of Jewish Jerusalem. It’s also at the heart of Arab incitement. Since last month, officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA)--and leader Mahmoud Abbas himself – have incited Arab rioters in Jerusalem to attack Jews. In one televised address that was replayed perhaps twenty times by official PA TV, Abbas called on Muslims to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount using ‘all means necessary’, a code phrase for all-out rioting (“Jerusalem Mayor: PA Trying to Create Havoc in Jerusalem”, Arutz Sheva, November 5, 2014).

For the moment, the Temple Mount appears quiet, at least, as of 9pm Israel time tonight, Israel time. Perhaps we can use this lull to consider some important truths about Jerusalem.

The following information comes from an internet reader. This reader writes internet responses to articles using the nickname, “Politics Draiman”.

Take a look at this comment (I have done minor editing):
Jerusalem - For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the [sic] Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem (1948-1967), they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

 In the Jewish Bible, Jerusalem is mentioned over 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem or, sometimes, the Land of Israel) 154 times, for a total of 823 times. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran. Jerusalem is also not mentioned in the Palestinian Covenant.

 King David established the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the whole Land of Israel. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem. Jerusalem remained under Turkish Ottoman Empire rule from 1517 to 1917, and under British rule as trustee for the Jewish people from 1917 to 1948. The British violated that trust and that is part of the reason for the conflict and bloodshed.

 The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the holiest site for Jews. It was the site of the Beit HaMikdash ("Temple") built by King Solomon (950 BCE), which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (587 BCE), rebuilt in 541 BCE, and then destroyed again by the Roman army in 70 CE. That final Roman destruction led to the exile of Jews from Israel. Al Aqsa Mosque and the Shrine of Omar on the current Temple Mount were built at the site of the ancient Jewish Temples. The Arabic name for Jerusalem, "el-KuDS", is derived from the Arabic name, "BeT el-MaKDeS", which is a translation of the Hebrew, "BeiT ha-MiKDaSH", the name of the Jewish Temple.
While I can’t formally vouch for all of his (or her) numbers, I can tell you ‘Politics Draiman’ is, essentially, correct about how many times ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’ are mentioned in the Jewish Tanach. His/her numbers may be off by 10-15 per cent, but the singular inference of the comment is still valid: ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’ are mentioned so many times in the Jewish Tanach because they are important to Judaism. They are not mentioned in the Quran because they are not important to Islam.
Now, I’ve been told that ‘Jerusalem’ is in fact mentioned in the Quran—once or twice. I’ve also been told that Mohammed came once (or, again, twice) to Jerusalem. I’d be happy if someone could confirm that.
Two or four references, however, don’t change anything. The truth is, throughout Jewish history, Jews have placed great importance on ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’. Muslims haven’t.
But in this war, truth is irrelevant. You should remember that. The only ‘truth’ that counts in this war is that Arabs are willing to die to take control of the Temple Mount. Most Jews don’t give a damn.
That indifference could be deadly. If the Arabs have any say in this war, Jewish indifference will become the lever through which Arabs will move the Jew off the Temple Mount.
Here’s another truth for you: if we keep the Temple Mount, we can control Jerusalem. If we lose the Mount, you’ll have to re-think Jerusalem.
You’ll have to imagine the impact of 5,000 Arab rock attacks a month --that’s 166 attacks a day--against Jews in Jewish Jerusalem. What do you think that’ll be like?
The G-d of Israel has a Story for you. It’s the Story of the Final Jewish Redemption. That Story involves a Jerusalem under attack. Our Sages teach that “Arab nations will play a major role in the wars” that precede our Redemption (Yechezkeil, trans. and commentary by Rabbi Moshe Eisemann, The ArtScroll Tanach Series, 2012, 38:6, note, p. 584).
Are these the Arabs the Sages refer to?  
What do you think?




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