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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER THIRTEEN Part 3 of 3

 

wrote "Holy Place", "Tomb of King David, son of Bechar" on the two doors of the Mosque. On 18 May, a number of soldiers went to the mosque and attempted to occupy it. When the caretaker of the mosque refused to give them the keys, they attacked the mosque and threw stones at its windows;

7. During the afternoon of Thursday, 29 May 1977, the Office of the Military Governor informed the Keeper of the Waqf that the Military Governor wished to meet him at the mosque to discuss an important matter; upon arriving at the mosque, the Keeper found the Vice-Governor accompanied by a dozen or so soldiers. The Vice-Governor asked him to remove the mats hanging inside the mosque so that the Holy Place could be turned into an archaeological monument open to tourists at all times; the Keeper of the Waqf refused to accede to the request; this prompted the Vice-Governor to order his men to forcibly remove the mats. The same day, the assistant to the Governor contacted the Keeper of the Waqf and told him that the Military Governor had issued an order to prevent anyone from entering the mosque pending a final decision in the matter. The Governor had also forbidden the caretakers from closing the doors and had had a post installed on the roof of the building for use by a detachment of Israeli soldiers, on the pretext that it was necessary to maintain order;

8. From 26 May 1977 onwards, the guards prevented Muslims from entering the area of the mosque and from reciting their prayers there;

9. In the evening of Thursday, 2 June 1977, some Jewish settlers arrived at the site by automobile and brought picks, pails and other tools into the mosque, which indicated that they intended to turn the mosque into something else and make repairs with the aim of taking possession of it;

10. On 7 June 1977, a liaison officer named Baroukh, accompanied by two soldiers, went to the offices of the Keeper of the Waqf, carrying the mats and the Korans which had been inside the mosque in order to hand them over to the person in charge, but when the latter refused to take them, the officer left them there. Before leaving, he informed the person in charge that the Military Governor had had them removed because the settlers of Kiriet Arba had demanded that a Torah should be placed in the Jewish monument situated across from the mosque and that the Governor had decided to prevent Jews and Arabs from entering the place and using it;

11. On 23 July 1977, some 20 Israeli soldiers arrived at the site and prevented the caretaker from entering;

12. On 24 October 1977, witnesses saw Jewish workers bringing mason's tools into the place, beginning construction of a zinc and iron structure, and posting notices in the front and rear of the building, forbidding access to the mosque and without the permission of the Military Governor;

13. On 4 June 1980, when the caretaker of the mosque noticed a strange object inside the building, he immediately notified the police. A group of soldiers arrived and discovered that the object was a bomb (which was later detonated). The caretaker indicated that three rabbis had been seen in the mosque the previous evening and that no one else had been there;

14. On 7 January 1981, settlers broke all the windows of the Al-Arbain mosque and threw stones at it;

15. On 9 March 1985, settlers damaged the iron portal of the mosque when attempting to force it open and wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the building;

These acts constitute a flagrant violation of the integrity of one of the Muslim holy places. By his illegal acts, the Military Governor of Al-Khalil encourages the desecration of the holy places of Islam and purposely does nothing to restrain the fanatical elements from the Kiriet Arba settlement. These acts are contrary to the most elementary human rights, freedom of worship and the principle of the inviolability of holy places.

THE CONSPIRACY TO DESTROY AL AQSA MOSQUE AND REBUILD THE JEWISH TEMPLE

The criminal conspiracy to destroy Al Aqsa Mosque and rebuild on its site the Jewish Temple is as old as the Zionist program. Zionists declared that "there could be no Zion without Jerusalem, and no Jerusalem without the Jewish Temple." Zionists have never concealed their criminal objective, and many of their political and religious leaders have declared that to destroy Al Aqsa Mosque and to rebuild the Jewish Temple on its site is one of their most cherished aims.

The following facts are a few of many which conclusively prove the Zionist conspiracy concerning Al Aqsa Mosque.

In a report dated July, 1920, General L. Boiz, Director General for the British Administration in Palestine, stated that the Chief Rabbi in Palestine, Abraham Ishaq Kook, together with the Rabbinate and Mr. Ussichkin, vice-president of the Zionist Organization, officially requested the British Govemment and the British Administration in Palestine to turn over to Jews all the area of Al Aqsa Mosque.

In 1922, Lord Melchett (formerly Sir Alfred Mond), member of the British Cabinet, made the following statement: "The day on which the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt has become very near. I shall dedicate the rest of my life for the reconstruction of Solomon's Temple on the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque."

When the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Sayed Mohammad Amin El-Husseini, protested against this statement, he received the following letter from the Secretary of the British Mandatory Government of Palestine:

His Eminence the Grand Mufti of Palestine Sayed Mohammad Amin El-Husseini

Your Eminence,

With reference to the conversation which your Eminence had with His Excellency the High Commissioner in which you protested the construction of the Jewish Temple on the site of Al Aqsa, I wish to inform your Eminence that His Excellency referred the matter to the proper Authorities in London and received the following answer: "Reference your No. 248 dated the first of July, the statement made by Sir Alfred Mond was as follows: He believes that 'Palestine can again give the world religious inspiration,' furthermore Sir Alfred Mond was very careful about this subject, he stated that it is his 'fervent hope to construct a new huge Jewish Temple on the Site, and instead of the Al Aqsa Mosque. '"(2)

The Chief Rabbi of Romania, Abraham Rosenbach, sent a letter dated November 20, 1930, to his Eminence Sayed Mohammad Amin El-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Palestine, urging upon him the necessity of delivering possession of Al Aqsa Mosque to Jews to enable Jews to practice their religious worship. A similar letter was sent to the Secretary- General of the British Government of Palestine.(3)

The Zionist leader Klosner, President of the Society for the Defence of the Wailing Wall, wrote: "The Al Aqsa Mosque is situated on the sanctuary of sanctuaries in the Temple and it belongs to the Jews."(4)

The Chief Rabbi Ishaq Kook stated in a speech before a Jewish rally in 1929: "Jewish youth all over the world demonstrated their national zeal as well as their Macabi Military strength. They are ready to sacrifice their lives in order to redeem their Holy Temple at present occupied by the Aqsa Mosque."(5)

In 1929, the Zionists claimed new rights regarding the prayer near the Western Wall of Al Aqsa Mosque, named by the Jews as the Wailing Wall, and as a result, disturbances occurred in Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The British Government, as the Mandatory Power, with the approval of the Council of the League of Nations, appointed a commission to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the Western Wall, known as the Wailing Wall. On page 39 of its report to the British Government, which was submitted to the Council of the League of Nations, and published in December, 1930, the Commission stated:

Subsequent to the investigation it has made, the Commission herewith declares that the ownership of the Wall as well as the possession of it and of those parts of its surroundings that are here in question, accrue to the Muslims. The Wall itself as being an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area is Moslem property. From the Inquiries conducted by the Commission, partly in the Sharia Court and partly through the hearing of witnesses' evidence, it has emerged that the pavement in front of the Wall, where the Jews perform their devotions, is also Moslem property.(6)

Consequently Great Britain as the Mandatory Power proclaimed the Palestine (Western or Wailing Wall) Orderin- Council, 1931, which provided in Schedule I the following:

A. To the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seeing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area, which is a Waqf property.

To the Moslems there also belongs the ownership of the pavement in front of the Wall and of the adjacent so-called Moghrabi (Moroccan) Quarter opposite the Wall, inasmuch as the last-mentioned property was made Waqf under Moslem Sharia Law, it being dedicated to charitable purposes.

Such appurtenances of worship and/or such other objects as the Jews may be entitled to place near the Wall either in conformity with the provisions of this present Verdict or by agreement come to between the Parties, shall under no circumstances be considered as, or have the effect of, establishing for them any sort of proprietary right to the Wall or to the adjacent Pavement.

B. The Jews shall have free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times subject to the explicit stipulations hereinafter to be mentioned.(7)

The Chief Rabbi of Palestine declared in 1948 that the capital of the Jewish state would not be Tel-Aviv but Jerusalem, because the Temple of Solomon is situated there and because Zionism is both a political and a religious movement.

Since 1948 Zionists have declared their criminal intentions against Muslim Holy Places by publishing and circulating the photo of the Al Aqsa Mosque under the Zionist flag and emblems, declaring that it should be tom down and the Jewish Temple be built on its site.

Zionists have also published other photos placing Muslim Holy Places and Christian Holy Places under the Zionist flag and emblems. The newspaper Das Yiddishe Folk of New York published a picture of Dr. Herzl, leader of the Zionist movement, in front of Al Aqsa Mosque, calling upon Jewish masses to enter the Jewish Temple, showing Al Aqsa Mosque with the Zionist flag hoisted on its dome.

In spite of the fact that the Western Wall of Al Aqsa Mosque, wrongly called the "Wailing Wall," does not belong to Jews, and is not a holy place, yet the Israeli authorities in occupied Palestine and Jewish organizations throughout the world are conducting a fraudulent world-wide propaganda campaign to deceive world public opinion into believing that it is a Jewish holy place.

Time magazine of June 30, 1967, published an article under the title, "Should the Temple be Rebuilt?" which stated:

Israel's conquest of Jordanian Jerusalem, which sent thousands of devout Jews to pray in freedom before the historic Wailing Wall for the first time in centuries, has raised an interesting theological conundrum. Assuming that Israel keeps the Wall, which is one of the few remaining ruins of Judaism's Second Temple, has the time now come for the erection of the Third Temple?

Since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in A.D. 70, Conservative and Orthodox Jews have beseeched God four times a week to "renew our days as they once were" - a plea for the restoration of the Temple. Although Zionism was largely a secular movement, one of its sources was the prayers of Jews for a return to Palestine so that they could build anew Temple .... Nevertheless, such is Israel's euphoria today that some Jews see plausible theological grounds for discussing reconstruction. They base their argument on the contention that Israel has already entered its "Messianic era." In 1948, they note, Israel's chief rabbis ruled that with the establishment of the Jewish state and the "ingathering of the exiles," the age of redemption had begun. Today, many of Israel's religious leaders are convinced that the Jews' victory overthe Arabs has taken Judaism well beyond that point. Says Historian Israel Eldad: "We are at the stage where David was when he liberated Jerusalem. From that time until the construction of the Temple by Solomon, only one generation passed. So will it be with us." And what about that Moslem shrine? Answers Eldad: "It is of course an open question. Who knows? Perhaps there will be an earthquake."

The Daily News Bulletin of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency of August 19, 1969, published a dispatch from Jerusalem which stated:

Members of a militant French Zionist youth group staged a parade and prayer service on the Temple Mount in Old Jerusalem today in defiance of a government ban on sectarian activities on that site. The youths, wearing the uniform of Betar, the youth organization associated with the Zionist- Revisionists, held their ceremonial in front of Al Aqsa Mosque, a Moslem sacred shrine.

They chanted the "minha" prayer and sang a hymn, but dispersed quietly when police approached. The leader of the groupdeclared, "This is the most holy place of the Jews which is held by aliens. Let the Temple be rebuilt."

Zionists bribe hundreds of fundamentalist Protestant Ministers and evangelists through large contributions from wealthy Jews and Zionist organizations to propagate the false interpretation of the Bible that the Jews are the chosen people, that God promised their "return" to Palestine, and that the Jewish Temple should be rebuilt on the site of Al Aqsa Mosque. Millions of dollars have been collected from various sources for the re-building of the Jewish Temple. These evangelists, such as Mike Evans, Jerry Falwell, Hal Lindsey, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Howard C. Estep, Hilton Sutton, and Tim LaHaye, among others, have published books with millions of copies circulated to brainwash the American people with their false interpretations of the Bible. Some of these books are Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth and The Promise, Tim LaHaye's The Coming Peace in the Middle East, Derek Prince's The Last Word on the Middle East, Hilton Sutton's The Mid-East Puzzle and Mike Evans' The Return. All of these books have one purpose, to convince the American people that the "sacred duty" of the United States is to support Israel all the way, and that in the coming world war the Arabs and the Soviet Union will be the forces of evil and the United States and Israel will be the forces of good. They strongly urge the tJnite&States to totally support Israel politically, militarily, financially and morally as the only trustworthy ally and friend in the world. Their false conclusions contradict the Old Testament and ignore the New Testament. The recent sex scandals and "Holy" wars among evangelists who are engaged in taking over each others' ministries by blackmail and intrigue accurately reveal what genre of "(te1)evangelists" these men really are and have gone a long way to discredit them and their pseudo-religious enterprises.

CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY BETWEEN CHRISTIAN EVANGELISTS AND ZIONIST TERRORISTS TO DESTROY AL AQSA MOSQUE

Some Christian American evangelists and Jewish terrorists have formed an organization with the name The Jerusalem Temple Foundation. It has an address in Los Angeles, California, and in Jerusalem. The Board of Directors of this foundation are the following: Terry Risenhoover, Chairman of the Board, is Chairman of Alaska Land Leasing Inc., of Los Angeles, California; Douglas Krieger, Executive Director of Jerusalem Temple Foundation and of Alaska Land Leasing Inc., of Los Angeles, California; Dr. Charles E. Monroe, President, is President of the Center of Judaeo- Christian Studies, of Poway, California; Dr. Hilton Sutton, Director, is Chairman of Mission to America, of Humble, Texas; Dr. James DeLoach, Director, is Pastor of the Second Baptist Church, of Houston, Texas; and Stanley Goldfoot, International Secretary, of Jerusalem. Mr. Stanley Goldfoot is a Jew from South Africa. He was a member of the Irgun Z'vai Leumi and was one of the four terrorists who placed the bombs in 1946 under the King David Hotel and caused the massacre of the King David Hotel.

The contemplated projects of this foundation as they appear in a brochure printed by it are the following: " 1. Jewish Temple Foundation office at the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem. 2. The establishment of a Temple Museum by Yeshivat Ateret Kohenim at the Temple Mount. 3. Assistance in land and buildings redemption by Jews in Israel. 4. Freedom for Jews and Christians to worship on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 5. The use of geophysical methods for archaeological surveys in Jerusalem. 6. Preparations for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. 7. Preparation of films and video presentations related to the Temple Mount. 8. Other projects as necessary and as funds are made available.

Barbara and Michael Ledeen published an article in The New Republic of June 18, 1984, under the title, "What do Christian and Jewish fundamentalists have in common? THE TEMPLE MOUNT PLOT". They state, "On January 15, Goldfoot wrote to some American Christian colleagues:

"And possibly of top priority is a certain plan we are studying, which could be of utmost significance. This is a covert operation, details of which I would not divulge in writing or on the phone. But I amsure that it would be as dear to your hearts as it is to mine and selected associates here. Some cash is inevitably involved; I hope we will have enough."

...Goldfoot sees the Christians as logical allies, for he believes that "Christian fundamentalists are the real modernday Zionists"; in Goldfoot's view, it is the Christians above all who realize that "we are coming to a crucial period in earth's history, and they want to help fulfil prophecy and thus hasten the coming of the Messiah" ... As one Jewish leader put it to us last summer in Jerusalem, "They believe that once the Temple is built, Jesus will come again. We expect the Messiah to come for the first time. Let's build the Temple, and see what he looks like."

...This ardent messianism appears to have been part of the motivation for the group of twenty-five radical Jewish nationalists arrested recently in Jerusalem on charges that included murder, attempted murder, possession of weapons and explosives stolen from the Israeli Army, and membership in a terrorist organization. (The other part was anti-Palestinian extremism.) Under an Israeli court order the names of the accused have not been released, although their identities are known to most people in Israel.

...It is also known that one of the arrested men is a reserve pilot in the Israeli Army. The pilot, who had returned to religion, suggested to his co-conspirators that he steal an F-16 the next time he was called up, and that he bombard the two Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount. The group vetoed his plan because the Western Wall might be damaged, and the pilot would be unable to land his plane anywhere in Israel. Instead, the plotters decided to use explosive devices on the Temple Mount. They even experimented with various explosive materials in quarries near Hebron. Israel Har-el, the spokesman for the Gush Emunim (the Bloc of the Faithful), went on Israeli television recently and said that the people involved in the plotting believed that the destruction of the two Muslim holy places would provoke the Muslims to wage a holy war so terrible that the Messiah would come to save his people from destruction.(8)

Ms. Grace Halsell, the well-known author, joined one of the trips of the evangelist Jerry Falwell to the Holy Land in 1986. She wrote a short memoir about the plans to destroy Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The following is a verbatim reproduction of that memoir:

The plan to take over Haram al-Sharif is more institutionalized, and becoming better organized, better financed, gaining more supporters in Jerusalem and in the U.S.

To learn more about one group active in this plan to destroy the mosque, I visited Yeshiva Ateret Cohanim, not far from Damascus Gate, on El Wad Road, only a few steps off Via Dolorosa. I was not impressed with the students I saw there, nor with their headquarters (upstairs, on a second-story level, and not large), but they have big plans. Joseph, a Brooklyn-born Jew, who accepted my "credentials" after I said I was travelling with Jerry Falwell, shared some of their plans:

They are "actively and peacefully" buying property "in the area nearest the Temple Mount," and they deem this task "important and monumental." Four Jewish families recently have moved into "the heart of the Old City" and a few dozen families are now on "our waiting list," eager for an opportunity to buy or rent in the expanding Jewish neighborhood.

They have an Institute for the Research of the Temple, to ascertain exact plans and measurements of the Temple.

At the same time, the yeshiva is preparing a permanent exhibit of models of the Temple and the various vessels, to be housed near the temple.

Rabbis at the yeshiva are preparing students such as 27- year-old Mattityahu Hacohen Dan - a Cohen, or priest, - for service in a Third Temple. Twenty five students devote at least one hour every day and an additional afternoon each week to concentrated study of the laws of temple worship. Also three other yeshivas teach students how to burn incense, as well as other laws dealing with temple practice, including how to offer animal sacrifices. They sponsor daily seminars and excursions to the area around Haram al-Sharif, (what they term the Temple Mount) "for students, soldiers, tourists - anyone who is interested in understanding the purpose and necessity of a Jewish presence in this central part of the Old City." Yeshiva students each Thursday offer a two-hour tour, sponsored by the Plaza Hotel, of the "Jewish Presence in the Moslem Quarter."

They plan a new center "for Jerusalem and Temple Studies," estimated to cost over $150,000. They say it will include a 5,000 volume library on Jerusalem, video-film room, classrooms, offices, a VIP lounge patio with a skylight roof. It is designed to instruct "from 8 to 10,000 students and visitors a year from Israel and from abroad."

The yeshiva has honoured Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz of Miami Beach, Florida, for gifts of money. Other Americans can give to the yeshiva rather than to Uncle Sam. Money sent to "American friends of Ateret Cohanim" is tax deductible. Until this was set up, the yeshiva got funds through P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc. (342 Madison Avenue, Suite 1010, New York, NY 10173). Now contributors are told to send dollars to the yeshiva's New York Office ("for the use of which we are extremely indebted to Rabbi Jay Marcus, founder of Genesis"). Genesis, 475 5th Avenue, Suite 1810, New York, NY 10017, (212)725-9599).

This yeshiva is only one small group but in my opinion it reflects the thinking of the chief rabbis and perhaps most Israeli leaders. At least seven rabbis, among them the foremost spiritual leaders of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, were consulted, informed and aware of various stages of the activities and plans of the Jewish terror organization. Livni, charged with the preparing of a bomb to be placed in the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa, said Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in particular had spoken approvingly of the idea. Neither of the chief Israeli rabbis condemned the attempts to destroy the mosque.

Israeli leaders seem definitely connected with the American Jewish evangelist Mike Evans, who on an hourlong TV Special was photographed underneath the mosque, in Jewish skullcap with an Israeli "expert" on relics and the expert opens a door and proclaims, "Right there we keep the Holy of Holies" - and he adds as the camera zooms in on a mysterious alleyway, "right down that hallway is where we found the Holy of Holies." (As archaeologist Jim Jennings once said to me, "A relic can be declared to have been found -and that makes a site official").

The financial support system among U.S. Evangelicals for destruction of the mosque has gone underground since the Link article (Aug-Sept. 1984) which named specific persons, such as Terry Risenhoover, who was raising big money for the defense of Jewish terrorists who attempted to destroy the Muslim shrine.

In Jerusalem, guides for Falwell's 850 touring Christians told us at the Western Wall that we are viewing the former site of the Temple as well as the site where a new temple will be built.

I interviewed Dr. John Walvoord who heads Dallas Theological Seminary (and was one speaker during Falwell's 1985 "Prophecy Conference" in Jerusalem) and he interprets the Bible as saying God wants Christians to help the Jews build a Jewish temple. He and other Born Again Christians are aware of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa but as Lindsey puts it, "Obstacle or no obstacle, it is certain the temple will be rebuilt, prophecy demands it."

It is important to bear in mind that Jerry Falwell and all major U.S. TV evangelists preach that the Jewish temple "must" be built. They accept that as part of their theology, a theology generally known as dispensationalism, which calls . for seven "dispensations" or time periods, beginning with all the ingathering of Jews into Palestine and including the building of the temple. Hal Lindsey, in The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold 12 million copies, wrote that "there remains but one more event to completely set the stage for Israel's part in the last great act of her historical drama. This is to rebuild the ancient Temple of worship upon its old site. There is only one place that this Temple can be built, according to the law of Moses. This is upon Mt. Moriah. It is there that the two previous Temples were built."

Thus, there is a great support system in the U.S. for whatever action Jewish terrorists might take to destroy Al Aqsa. Should they destroy the shrine, all of the major TV Evangelists would simply call it an "act of God."

Grace Halsell wrote a book in 1986 under the title, Prophecy and Politics, Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War, in which she stated that when she was in Jerusalem, she met George Giacumakis and asked him whether she could meet Stanley Goldfoot. She states:

I asked if he might help me arrange an interview with Goldfoot. In response, Giacumakis dropped his head in both hands, as one does on hearing a disaster. "Oh, no. You don't want to meet him. He goes back to the Irgun!" Then raising his head and waving an arm toward the King David Hotel, he added, "Stanley Goldfoot was in charge of that operation. He will not stop at anything. His idea is to rebuild the temple, and if that means violence, then he will not hesitate to use violence." Giacumakis paused and then assured me that while he himself did not believe in violence, "If they do destroy the mosque and the temple is there, that does not mean that I will not support it."

Sponsored by Terry Riesenhoover, Goldfoot has made several trips to the United States, where he spoke on religious radio and TV stations and in Protestant churches, asking Christians for donations, but not mentioning that a mosque sits on the site where he contemplates a temple.

Goldfoot admits that he has received money from the International Christian Embassy, whose funding, many believe, comes from South Africa. Asked about the Goldfoot statement that he had received money from his organization, Christian Embassy spokesman Jan Willem van der Hoeven denied that they are directly involved in the temple construction efforts. Rather, he said, when supporters volunteer to give money for building a temple, he directs them to Goldfoot. The embassy has, however, made a cassette. It sells for $5.00 and features a taped message about plans to build a temple on Hararn al-Sharif. Van der Hoeven is one of the speakers on the tape.(9)

Again, Ms. Halsell states the following:

Soon after this interview, I read an Israeli public opinion poll published in 1984 showing that 18.7 percent of the Israeli public support terrorist activities by extremist Jewish groups. In commenting on the poll, the Israeli writer Yehoshua Sob01 pointed out that in 1938, a representative sample of the Nazi Party members found that 63 percent of them objected to hurting Jews, 32 percent expressed apathy on the subject and only five percent were in favor of harming Jews.

Four years later, in 1942, when the annihilation of Jews was already speedily taking place, a representative sampling of the Nazi Party members showed that those against attacking Jews decreased to 26 percent, while the number of apathetic increased to 69 percent. The number of Nazis in favor of attacking Jews remained the same: five percent.

Fanatics who belong to what the vast majority of Christians and Jews might term a crazy minority - and numbering no more than five percent of the total Israeli population - are nevertheless capable of destroying Islam's most holy shrine in Jerusalem, an act that could easily trigger a worldwide war involving Russia and the United States. The only necessary condition for this to happen is the existence of a decisive majority of the apathetic. The mainline Israeli and American Jews, together with non-Zionist American Christians, may well represent the decisive apathetic majority.

This decisive apathetic majority provides breeding grounds for the religious extremists. Increasingly, terrorists are recognized as heroes and, if sentenced, do not serve their full terms in jail. On December 8, 1985, President Chaim Herzog of Israel commuted the prison sentences of two Jewish terrorists who had been convicted of plotting to blow up Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine.

The prisoners freed are Dan Beeri, 41, and Yosef Tzuria, 26, who were serving three-year terms for plotting to blow up the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. According to court records, the terrorists' plan was to dynamite and destroy the shrine to provoke the Islamic world into a holy war with Israel.

They are now free to continue this plot.(10)

Ms. Halsell states further in her book:

The extremists among the Israeli Jews are still not a majority, and Christian extremists are still not a majority. However, I have attempted to show that the alliance between these right-wing, militaristic groups gives both a quantum leap in real, unsentimental power and might. Moreover, leaders in both groups are obsessed with their own belief system, their own ideology, their own certitude that they have both the right and the power to help orchestrate not only their own End of Times, but doomsday for the rest of the species.(11)

THE BEISAN MUNICIPALITY EXPROPRIATES THE MOSQUE IN THE CITY TO TURN IT INTO A MUSEUM

Sheikh Saadedin Al-Alami, the Mufti of Jerusalem, sent a telegram on 24 April 1987 to Yitzhak Shamir and expressed his protest and indignation that the Municipality of Beisan had expropriated the Mosque in the town, closed it to Muslim worshippers from the Bedouin tribes around the city, with the intention of turning it into a museum. The Mufti of Jerusalem visited the town of Beisan accompanied by twenty of his followers. They were received by a delegation from the Bedouins. When they proceeded to the Mosque in order to pray, they found that it was closed. Sheikh Al-Alami declared it shameful to close a Muslim Mosque and prevent the worshippers from entering. He stated that a democratic state would not forbid praying in the Holy Places.

JEWISH EXTREMISTS EVICTED FROM AL-AQSA

Ultra-religious extremists from the Temple Mount Faithful tried to perform Jewish prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem April 15, 1987 provoking Muslims and Waqf officials in Jerusalem.

Muslims oppose holding non-Muslim prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque. They consider it a sacrilege and an infringement on their exclusive right to the holy Muslim shrine.

Under pressure from the Israeli authorities, Waqf officials have permitted visits to the Mosque by tourists, as well as the extremists. The Waqf remain adamant, however, in opposing the performance of Jewish prayers in the Islamic mosque.

At 9.30 a.m., the police at Bab al-Magharbeh (the entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound near Jerusalem's Dung Gate) began to permit Gershon Solomon, head of the Temple Mount Faithful, and his followers to visit the mosque. Seven people at a time were permitted to enter the compound. Non-Muslim prayers were prohibited.

At 10.30 one of the group began performing Jewish prayers; another used a loudspeaker to call upon Jews to assemble and perform prayers. The visitors carried placards stating that they had the right to pray at a mosque, which they call the Temple Mount, on Jewish holidays.

In response, Waqf officials ordered the Mosque's gates closed. The officials then protested to the Israeli police, who stopped the visits.

Hashem Ashayer, the Waqf director, said, "What happened is unacceptable. We do not tolerate Jewish prayers in the mosque. No Muslim can accept the desecration of holy places."

The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek , expressed his anger because the police had not consulted with the municipality before permitting the extremists to visit the mosque. He said that the police permission was an error.

Over the past years, the extremists have been trying, without success, to establish a precedent by performing Jewish prayers in the Mosque.

DRIVE FOR A THIRD JEWISH TEMPLE

THE RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS MINISTRY OF THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPONSORS A CONFERENCE OF TEMPLE RESEARCH

The New York City Tribune published a report from its correspondent in Jerusalem on October 23, 1989, which stated:

Menachem Burstein lit a match to a walnut-size lump of gray spice. Within seconds, it emitted a sharp scent.

"This came from Saudi Arabia," Burstein said. "We're sending it abroad to test it for its ingredients, to see if it fits the requirements of the temple."

Burstein is not a scientist by training. But he has spent years in research, trying to discover exactly what spices were used 2,000 years ago in the ancient Jewish temple.

For Burstein and hundreds of his colleagues, the effort is far from being purely historical. Spurred by both religious belief and nationalist fervor and backed by the government, a group of Israelis and Jews abroad are quietly planning the construction of the third Jewish Temple.

The project has sparked the greatest controversy in Judaism today. The debate divides theologians and political leaders. It has also united ultra-Orthodox Jews with fundamentalist Protestant Christians, both of whom share the dream of a third Jewish Temple.

Among the questions being raised: Can a temple be built or even planned without the arrival of the messiah? What should be done about the Muslim shrines that for about 1,000 years have occupied the holy ground?

Advocates of rebuilding the temple have no answers. But Rabbi Israel Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, has no doubt that a solution will be found. His institute has reconstructed 38 of the 103 ritual implements required for bringing sacrifices at the temple.

"We believe that a temple will arise despite all the problems," he said. "It is the force that unites the Jewish people."

GOVERNMENT AID

Quietly, the government is becoming active in the effort. On Wednesday, the Religious Affairs Ministry sponsored the first-ever Conference of Temple Research.

While the researchers did not discuss politics, many of them agreed that they considered their work relevant.

In August, representatives of the chief rabbinate traveled throughout Europe looking for embryos of the red heifer, used in the temple for spiritual purification. At last week's conference, a geneticist involved in the project, Dan Greenberg, said several embryos were found and they will be implanted into cows in Israel.

The first temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians. Seventy years later, Cyrus, emperor of Persia, allowed the Jews to return from exile and rebuild the temple.

About 45,000 Jews accepted the offer. Many more stayed in the Diaspora.

The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. The Romans refused to permit the temple's reconstruction and sent the Jews into exile.

Although the Babylonian Talmud was vague, Jewish scholars later ruled that the temple must await the messiah. The medieval sage Rashi said the temple will descend directly from heaven after the coming of the messiah.

His contemporary, Maimonides, was more specific. He drew up guidelines on recognizing the messiah and planning the temple. One requirement: The temple will not be built until a majority of the Jewish people live in the biblical land of Israel.

Less than a third of the world's 13 million Jews live in Israel.

But in 1967, Jews began to believe that the construction of the temple was in sight.

Repulsing an attack from its eastern neighbor Jordan, Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem, the site of the ancient Jewish temple.

NON-MUSLIMS BANNED

Israeli authorities, attempting to preserve calm, allowed the Muslims to continue to administer the Temple Mount. The Muslims had the Al Aksa Mosque, a complex that actually contained two houses of prayer regarded as the third-holiest site in Islam. Israel banned non-Muslims from praying openly on the mount.

Religious leaders supported the stand. First, Israel's chief rabbis forbade Jews to walk on the mount to guard against them stepping on the ancient Holy of Holies, where in temple times only the high priest had access.

Moreover, many rabbis could not fathom the coming of the messiah at a time when a majority of Jews did not observe basic religious precepts such as the Sabbath or Kashrut. Some of the rabbis were stung that advocates of a temple included secular Jews.

"Suddenly, all these people say that the Sabbath is not important, Kashrut is not important," said Rabbi Eliezer Shach, regarded as one of the last scions of European Jewish scholars.

But slowly some leading rabbis exhibited flexibility.

Tho Yeshivot located near the Western Wall are teaching about 200 students the complex laws of the temple. Others, including former Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, have been researching the exact location of the Holy of Holies so that Jews can enter the mount without violating any commandment.

Moreover, Haifa's chief rabbi, Shear Yeshuv Cohen, considered a candidate to be Israel's chief rabbi, ruled that the candelabra of the temple may be built today. Cohen is viewed as more traditional than Goren.

Still, rabbinical advocates of researching the new temple remain cautious. They consistently remind their followers that their work is to prepare for the coming of the messiah, not to replace him.

TEMPLE 'CORNERSTONE' LAID

As a result, even the maverick Goren was sharply critical of Monday's attempt by a group of Jewish zealots, called the Temple Mount Faithful.

The group, with police permission, brought a 3-ton stone to Jerusalem as cornerstone of the third temple.

The ceremony was to have taken place on the Temple Mount.

Police canceled the ceremony when Arab students rioted several hours before the event was scheduled to take place. Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek said the riot was aimed at preventing the ceremony.

The Muslims believe that this is a plot to take over their holy place," Kollek said.

At the conference, researchers were careful not to endorse the idea of laying a cornerstone of the temple. But many of them appeared sympathetic of the aims of the Temple Mount Faithful.

"We believe that all of our hopes and all of our attempts, such as the cornerstone for the temple, will cause some activity in the heavens," said Zev Colan, the American-born director of the Temple Institute.

"And with God's help, the day will come soon when we will build the temple."(12 )

NOTES TO CHAPTER THIRTEEN

1. Security Council Official Records, 1509th Meeting, 11 September, 1969.

2. Records of the Higher Islamic Council, Jerusalem.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. United Nations document of February 23, 1968 (A/7057/Add. I).

7. Laws of Palestine (Jerusalem: Palestine Government Printer, 193 I), p. 285.

8. The New Republic, June 18, 1984, p. 23.

9. Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics (Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1986), p. 98.

10. Ibid., pp. 1 15-1 16.

11. Ibid., pp. 199-200.

12. Steve Rodan, "Drive for a Third Jewish Temple Stirs Big Controversy Among Jews," New York City Tribune, October 23, 1989, pp. 1-2.

 

 



Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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