A few hundred people and I packed the Knesset’s downstairs auditorium on Sunday to learn more about Jewish history and Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, as well as a vision for Jerusalem’s future.
The Temple Mount is going mainstream, and I had to pull a few strings to get into the seminar, while Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin had to scramble to reserve a much larger room, after an unexpected 600 people registered for the conference.
The program’s MC was former MK, Professor Aryeh Eldad, one of the founder of Professors for a Strong Israel, and the subject of the Temple Mount was treated with the intellectual rigor one would expect when scholarly heavyweights all sit in a room together discussing their most passionate subject.
Moshe Feiglin kicked off the session, calling on the government to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and stop the discrimination, harassment and humiliation of Jews who want to go up and visit.
Feiglin linked our lack of application of sovereignty on the Mount directly to the world’s lack of respect for Israel. The message was, “When we safeguard our rights, the world respects that.”
Ambassador Dr. Allen Baker spoke about the status of the Temple Mount in International law and on the legal aspects of Israeli sovereignty.
Most disconcerting was Dr. Gabi Barkai’s overview of the archaeological damage purposely done by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, in their attempts to completely erase Jewish history from the location.
Barkai discussed the quarter million volunteers who worked for years sifting through the Temple Mount dirt the Waqf excavated and unceremoniously dumped in the Kidron Valley.
The photos of the artifacts found, going back thousands of years, attesting to the Jewish (as well as other’s) presence on the Temple Mount was incredible, and if this was information found from an emergency rescue operation on piles of dumped dirt, imagine what must be there, and worst, what must have been permanently lost and destroyed.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar finished off the morning discussing the historical, religious and political connections that Islam has with Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
Kedar showed how Islam has no intrinsic religious connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, from their own writings.
Kedar focused on Islam’s inherent inferiority complex, and how it repeatedly showed up in their own theological discussions. From the beginning, Islam was not sure if it is an authentic religion or merely a cheap doppelganger of Judaism, from which it co-opted so much.
In a way, this is very similar to Christianity’s fundamental theological dilemma caused by the rebirth of the state of Israel, which they also believe should never have happened and creates for them significant theological dissonance.
Islam needs, not only a failed Judaism and failed Jewish people, but it needs to actually supplement the Jewish People’s history in its entirety, which for example is why they claim Yishmael was on the altar, and not Yitzchak, why they claim Jesus was a Palestinian, and of course, why they destroy Jewish relics and history on the Temple Mount.
For Islam, the Temple Mount has no religious or political significance in of itself, and in fact, Kedar brought earlier writings from Islamic religious and political leaders showing the lack of significance Jerusalem has to them.
But once the Jews were revived as a people, once Judaism showed it wasn’t supplemented by Islam, Jerusalem, and especially the Temple Mount take on tremendous significance.
Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, more than anything else, strikes at Islam’s oldest and greatest fear.
Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount means Judaism is true, which then means Islam is false.
It is a religious war for them.
Their entire religion’s validity relies on Judaism’s defeat. That is why we are the enemy, and that is why they can’t even allow Jews onto the Temple Mount to pray.
But even after this conference, I think the question still remains: Why is the state of Israel so afraid to apply sovereignty over Judaism’s holiest site, and practically speaking, what can we do about it?