Judaism begins with the Torah. In Israel, even Haaretz—a well-known anti-religious newspaper—understands that the Torah is the foundational text of Judaism (“What Is Judaism, the Jewish Religion?”, August 25, 2013). But the Torah doesn’t stand alone. It’s part of a larger foundational work, the Tanach, which contains the Torah, the Prophets and Writings.
In Tanach, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem share stage-center with the Torah. If the Torah introduced our Singular G-d to the world, the rest of Tanach explains how the Temple Mount and Jerusalem bring the Life-giving Power of our G-d to us.
The Temple Mount itself connects to the very beginning of Judaism—to the story of Abraham and Isaac. The place called, Har HaMoriah (Mount Moriah), where Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice is, our Heritage teaches, the Temple Mount (The Schottenstein Daf Yomi Edition, Taanit 16a2, note 19). Our Heritage asks, “what is this Har HaMoriah (Mount Moriah)? It is called Moriah because it is the mountain from which Torah instruction went out to Israel (‘Moriah’ is related to the word, ‘to teach’)” (ibid).
The prophet Yeshaiyahu talks about Torah, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem: “…from Zion [The Temple Mount] will the Torah come Forth, and the Word of HaShem [G-d] from Jerusalem” (Yeshaiyahu 2:3). Divrei HaYamim links the Temple, Har HaMoriah and Jerusalem (II Divrei HaYamim, 3:1). On the most fundamental level, our faith—in its most complete form--is built around Torah, the Temple Mount and what happens in Jerusalem.
Judaism can be complete only when we first possess the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Judaism wasn’t complete for 1947 years, since the Temple Mount and Jerusalem were taken from us in 70 CE. Judaism only returns to its completeness when Jerusalem returns to Jewish sovereignty; the Temple Mount is controlled by Jewish Israel; and the Temple is rebuilt.
Since 1948, miracles have happened. But we still fall short partly because our leaders refuse to take full ownership of what has fallen miraculously into our hands: the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.
While Jews perplex over what to do about the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, Mahmoud Abbas works to take them away from us. He does this because his war against Israel is not a war for independence. If that had been the case, there would already be another Arab state. The UN had authorized that state in 1947.
Arab Muslims rejected it. Since then, two Israeli Prime Ministers (Olmert and Barak) have offered up to 98% of what Arabs said they wanted—including the Temple Mount (Avi Isacharoff, “Revealed: Olmert’s 2005 peace offer to Palestinians”, jerusalempost, May 24, 2013). Muslims rejected every offer.
They reject because their goal isn’t statehood; it’s to conquer the Jewish Israel in the name of the Islamic god.
Mahmoud Abbas leads the Palestinian Authority—and the political party called, Fatah. ‘Fatah’ is an Arabic word. It doesn’t mean ‘peace’. It doesn’t mean, ‘independence’. It doesn’t mean, ‘statehood’. It means, ‘victory’ (“Fatah: definition in English”, en.oxforddictionaries, no date, retrieved, May 16, 2017). ‘Fatah’ is also related to the word, ‘fath’, which is connected to ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ (“Fatah Anniversary Celebrates Terrorists; Continues Push for Total Elimination of Israel”, unitedwithisrael, January 3, 2017).
Abbas isn’t the secularist you think he is. His Fatah is about religious victory, not political independence. His goal for the Palestinian national movement is “to extinguish the Jewish national project and to inherit all of Palestine for the Arabs and Islam” [emphasis mine] (historian Benny Morris, as quoted in, Coby Ben-Simhon, “Benny Morris on Why He's Written His Last Word on the Israel-Arab Conflict”, haaretz, September 20, 2012).
The greatest step forward Abbas can make in his war for Islam is to separate the Temple Mount and Jerusalem from Judaism. Abbas knows what these pieces of real estate mean to Judaism. Take both from the Jews, and Islam can claim it’s driven Judaism backwards at least 1900 years. What a win!
This is why the UNESCO vote of May 2017 was so important. It took Jerusalem away from the Jews. It’s why the UNESCO vote of October 2016 was so important: it took the Temple Mount from Judaism.
Those two UN votes have meaning. They mean a US Consulate official in Jerusalem can now announce he won’t help Israel prepare for a Trump visit to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount—because the Temple Mount isn’t in Israel (Mordechai Sones, “Senior Trump official: Western Wall not in Israel”, arutzsheva, May 16, 2017). Step by step, Abbas moves closer to his goal of stripping the Temple Mount and Jerusalem from Jews and Judaism.
The Temple Mount and Jerusalem are bathed in religion, and that means everything to the Islamic Abbas. If the Temple Mount and Jerusalem don’t become ‘Palestinian’, it’s possible the entire Palestinian national cause would collapse (elder of ziyon, “Why Jerusalem Really Matters to the Palestinians”, algemeiner, November 14, 2014). It could collapse because, so long as these two plots of land continue to exist as Jewish entities, Islam fails.
Abbas knows that.