News24

Zealots eye new Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

2012-02-27 13:12

Jerusalem - "No singing. No dancing. No praying. No animals," reads the curiously-worded sign greeting visitors heading up the rickety wooden ramp to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City.

For the non-Jewish visitor, it takes a few moments for the significance of the words to sink in.

But for Jews, who revere the site as the former location of the First and Second Temples, it is a bitter reminder of a harsh reality - they are not allowed to worship at Judaism's holiest site.

Known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the plaza is referred to by Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif and considered the third holiest site in Islam.

Home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, the plaza is one of the most sensitive places in the Middle East.

For many, the golden cupola of the Dome of the Rock which dominates the Jerusalem skyline, is a symbol of this Middle Eastern city.

Act of war


But for a growing number of Jewish zealots, the dream is to see a different skyline - one dominated by the outline of a Third Jewish Temple.

For the Palestinians and the Muslim world, such a move would be viewed as no less than an act of war, and one which could trigger unforeseeable consequences.

In September 2000, a controversial visit to the compound by Israel's then hawkish defence minister Ariel Sharon sparked the five-year second intifada.

And any Israeli attempt to build or to dig in the area around the Al-Aqsa compound tends to spark a furious reaction from the Palestinians, who frequently accuse the Jewish state of trying to undermine the sacred plaza.

Early on a bright winter morning, a handful of nondescript Israelis gather among the hordes of tourists waiting to be checked by police before going through the Mughrabi Gate, the only entrance which is open to non-Muslims.

"We are not here as tourists, but as Jews who are ascending to God's mountain," explains Assaf Fried, the group's burly leader.

Biblical history

For him, these weekly visits have one goal: To build the Third Temple.

"Coming up here is so important, because it promotes the construction. You can't build without ascending."

The Temple Mount is where the Bible says Solomon built the First Temple around 3 000 years ago to house the Ark of the Covenant.

In 586 BC, the Babylonians destroyed the Temple and sent the Israelites into exile, but work on the Second Temple began several decades on and was finished in 516 BC.

Nearly 500 years later, the Temple was completely renovated and the plaza extended by the Roman ruler Herod, only to be sacked in 70 AD during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.

Today, few remnants still stand, the most well-known of which is the Western Wall, one of the plaza's supporting walls.

Under guard

The site remained empty until construction in the late 7th century of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which are still there to this day.

Following the 1948 war which accompanied Israel's establishment, the site fell into Jordanian hands, until 1967 when Israel occupied and later annexed east Jerusalem.

But despite declaring its sovereignty over the entire city, Israel left control of the compound in the hands of Jordan's Islamic Waqf, or trust - the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem in co-ordination with the Palestinians.

Walking around the plaza, Fried explains where key elements of the Temple once stood, the small group closely guarded by two armed policemen - and a Waqf minder who watches them carefully.

"Why don't you show us what the priestly blessing would have sounded like," prompts one of the group, in a carefully-staged suggestion.

Fried discreetly quickly murmurs the prayer, watched warily by the Waqf official, who chooses to ignore this routine violation of the rules.

Prohibition

Most religious Jews pray daily for the restoration of the Temple, but for the vast majority, going up to the site is forbidden due to ritual impurity.

"The discussion here is not political or diplomatic," says Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, head of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

"Jewish law absolutely prohibits going to the Temple Mount, as long as we don't have the ability to cleanse ourselves from our impurity."

But for Fried and his ilk, the only way to ensure a restoration of the Biblical order of things, is for Jews to start going back to the site which for centuries served as the centre of Jewish sacrificial worship.

There are around 20 Jewish groups working to rebuild the Temple. One, the Temple Institute, is working on making all the sacred vessels and priestly garments which will be used in the Third Temple.

Made from gold, copper, silver, wood and precious stones, they have been meticulously crafted in line with the exact specifications laid out in the Bible.

Dangerous trend

The institute is also researching the structure of the Temple, and trying to put together a working architectural plan for its reconstruction.

For many Israelis, such activities are not taken seriously.

But the Palestinians see it as a dangerous trend.

"These are unacceptable actions that affect the feelings and sanctities of Muslims, and are construed on a dangerous empty logic," says Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem.

"They are playing with fire," he said. "The Israeli government should prevent them from entering the Al-Aqsa compound.

"It is a group that operates with the knowledge of the Israeli government as part of the battle over the compound to change the status quo," he charged.

1 person killed

Though the weekly visits are grudgingly tolerated, they often spark tension.

Over the past week, police and stonethrowers clashed several times inside the compound, with one person killed, more than 30 people arrested and dozens injured by stones or teargas.

In three cases, the disturbances were sparked by the presence of religious Jews, or by right-wing extremists announcing plans to visit the flashpoint site.

"There are clear guidelines as to what is allowed and what is not," police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said.

"Police intervene in the case of any violation, and carry out patrols to ensure the safety and prevent friction."

Some of these modern-day zealots believe the Muslim shrines must first be torn down before the Temple can rise. Others say they subscribe to a "two-shrine solution".

Growing interest

"We have no interest in Al Aqsa, it is outside of the limits of the Temple Mount," explains Fried who says the Temple stood on the site where the Dome of the Rock now stands.

"We want the Temple where the Temple's place is, and Al-Aqsa can remain Al-Aqsa," he says.

"We're not here to provoke the Muslims, they don't interest us."

Religious groups claim the number of Jews going up to the Temple Mount is growing with a record number visiting the site last year.

But they don't provide figures. And they are far from sure when their ancient dream will be transformed into a reality.

"It will take a few more years," shrugs Fried.

"We're not working with stop-watches. But with God's help, I hope it will happen in this generation, in our time."

Comments
  • Hans - 2012-02-27 13:43

    What a bunch of nutcrackers.

      Rob - 2012-02-27 13:59

      Judging by the number of thumbs down, I would say there's a few "nutcrackers" here too.

      Jaba - 2012-02-27 17:34

      what is this rubbish news24? enough with your lies already. No jew can build the temple right now - so why this pathetic report? every 30 minutes you need another Israel-bashing article? You see most Jewish-scholars reject any attempts to build the Temple before the coming of Messiah. This is because there are many doubts as to the exact location in which it is required to be built. For example, while measurements are given in cubits, there exists a controversy whether this unit of measurement equals approximately 1.5 feet (0.46 m) or 2 feet (0.61 m).[citation needed] Without exact knowledge of the size of a cubit, the altar could not be built. Indeed, the Talmud recounts that the building of the second Temple was only possible under the direct prophetic guidance of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Without valid prophetic revelation, it would be impossible to rebuild the Temple, even if the mosques no longer occupied its location.

  • John - 2012-02-27 13:56

    Will start a war over who's imaginary friend is better, thereby proving their imaginary friends do not exist.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 14:51

      Indeed. And some fundamentalist Xians also want a war so they can fulfill som brain addled buybull prophecy.

      andrew.buitendach - 2012-02-27 17:48

      Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that HE is Lord!

  • Wikus - 2012-02-27 13:56

    Watch this space!

      uwe.klopfer - 2012-02-27 16:00

      which one ? the temple mount or al aqsa ?

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-27 13:58

    As long as religions remains a central part of human life, man is on a one way path to self destruction, mankind cannot survive religion.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 14:50

      @ludlowdj I would love you to explain exactly where you stand. Are you suggesting that religion is the root of the problem. The I can agree with you.

      Fred - 2012-02-28 07:55

      I do agree that religion is in great part non-spiritual and mostly negative, with it's fear and guilt. This is distinct from religious people (barring extremists) who are generally good people and do a lot of good.

  • Arthur - 2012-02-27 14:19

    These people are doing something that will eventually happen. There will be a 3rd temple according to Rev.11. Two prophets will preach there for 3 and half years 1260 days bringing the Jews 144 000 to Jesus Christ. Thus it is not so far fetched.

      Fred - 2012-02-27 14:24

      ?

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 15:19

      Sounds damn far fetched to me. In fact it does not sound true at all. Where is your evidence for this? The Bible? That figures.

      Mike Olwagen - 2014-01-03 13:12

      ZAAtheist Off course poephol it will sound foreign to you, your'e an atheist.

  • rarnot - 2012-02-27 14:20

    Viva Israel. Its YOUR LAND and you're fully entitled to build YOUR TEMPLE! Besides, It is prophesied that you will in the Holy Bible The FREE people of the world support you!

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 14:49

      I certainly don't. And your bible is bollocks.

      Nazeem - 2012-02-27 14:50

      This whole world belongs only to GOD,nothing belongs to his creation.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 15:17

      @Nazeem Actually is belongs to nobody as none of your gods exist.

      Jameel - 2012-02-27 15:56

      Its funny to see an atheist with the name Godfrey, i think the name choice had an affect on his philosophy lol

      Fred - 2012-02-27 16:03

      Gouws, technology is not perfect. There isn't a conspiracy against you too.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 16:21

      @Jameel Its funny to see a religious zealot with the name Jameel, i think the name choice had an affect on his philosophy lol

      SJ - 2012-02-27 17:25

      You have no idea how wrong you are. Those wanting the temple build are for the most part not by blood related to the real Israelites. Do yourself a favour and start looking for the truth.

      gouws2 - 2012-02-27 17:29

      @Rarn0t U are s0 far fr0m free, its n0t even funny

  • Godfrey - 2012-02-27 14:54

    Most religious Jews pray daily for the restoration of the Temple". Yeah, and what has all that praying achieved. Nothing, nix, zero. But good on you brainwashed infantile zealots stirring up the brainwashed infantile zealots on the other side. Nothing like another good religious war. There probably is not god. No evidence. Nothing. So can you please stop killing each other. Thank you.

      gouws2 - 2012-02-27 15:40

      C0me 0n news 24!!! take my c0mments away again!!! u are heIping t keep pepIe in the dark!!!

      Fred - 2012-02-27 16:02

      You're being a nut gouws, and filling your head with rubbish.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-27 16:18

      @Fred Agreed. But it takes all kinds.

  • gouws2 - 2012-02-27 16:49

    Thank y0u G0dfrey f0r being abIe t0 teII me in 5 min that there is n0 pr00f, u must be the w0rIds smartest man and w0rIds fastest reader! I b0w t0 u awes0meness

  • gouws2 - 2012-02-27 16:50

    by the way, u w0uId have a bigger picture 0f what I was actuaIIy g0ing 0n ab0ut if news 24 didnt aIready rem0ve 6 0f my previ0us p0sts

      gouws2 - 2012-02-27 16:55

      I gave u the Iinks t0 the research but u in aII u awes0meness c0uId take aII u need fr0m 10 sentences in the c0mment b0x i c0pied and pasted, maybe I sh0uIdnt fiII ur head with garbage seeing its aIready fiIIed t0 the t0p Take the inf0 and d0 what u want with it!

      Mammalian - 2012-02-27 17:15

      im also curious as to why all your posts referencing the rothchilds were conveniently deleted??? I for one have personally researched this family and have found ties between them and everything from Hitler to De Beers diamonds- these people are extremely dangerous and can easily cover their tracks.

  • gouws2 - 2012-02-27 17:03

    WATCH ZEITGEIST!

  • SJ - 2012-02-27 17:22

    That temple will be build whether people like it or not. It is the reasons behind it that should strike fear into the hearts of people.

      gouws2 - 2012-02-27 17:33

      be afraid, be very afraid! NW0 is preparing their capitaI

  • Viman Singh - 2012-02-27 18:46

    How is it possible that 20million Jews around the world make 1.4billion muslims jump with fear......But it just proves that humanity is more concerned with "religion ideas and sectors" then humanity and love as a whole.

      Clarence.Holden - 2012-03-02 02:43

      There is a lot of talk here. But what is talk. It is your opinion versos mine. This does not mean a hill of beans. Muslims believe Mohammad is the prophet and Allah is Lord. Jews believe Jehovah is Lord and Lord alone. Christians believe Jehovah is Lord and Jesus is his Son and heir thru a resurrection from death. What a bunch of non-sense. Prove it. Don't tell me Bula Bula is almighty and walk away in pride because you believe you have it and only those who believe like you are true. Prove it so we can believe. If Allah is Lord prove it. There must be proof somewhere. If Jehovah is Lord prove he is greater than this Alla. If Jesus is Lord or Mohammad is a prophet, prove it. Don't just fight and argue that you are right and they are wrong. You sound like a bell in the distance sounding for no reason. I to have a belief. But I believe because I have proved it. I have weighed the evidence and know because of sound evidence that God is and who he is and what he is doing. Show me your proof and I will show you your proof in mine for my proof is the sum of all of your proof put together and is solid and cannot be moved. As sure as the sun shines and the moon stands in it's place your proof will only prove mine true. This is for all religions. There is one true God and you all have provrd it to me.

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