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In response to Palestinian gunmen killing two Israeli cops at a shrine in Jerusalem, followed by the stabbing of three Israelis in an adjacent residential area, the Israelis installed metal detectors at the entrance to the shrine.
The guns used to kill the police had been smuggled into the mosque earlier, so this seems no more than a prudent response–if anything, too little, too late.
Oh, but now, the metal detectors themselves have occasioned both peaceful and violent protests and additional murders of Israelis as well as defensive killings of Palestinians. (This just in: Israeli family massacred as they sat down to Shabbat dinner.)
And the world debates whether the installation of the metal detectors was rashly provocative.
I had to dig to find out what “shrine” was involved here. Of course: the Temple Mount, the “farthest mosque.”
Muslims are not being excluded from the site. They are the only ones of the three Abrahamic faiths permitted to pray there–and, the only people absolutely denied entry are Jewish Israeli lawmakers.
No, it’s merely that everyone who seeks entry into the sacred precincts will have to pass a metal detector. (Y’know, so guns can’t be smuggled in any more and concealed to be retrieved later to kill cops and pilgrims). But this mild, life-preserving measure is seen by Palestinians and their co-religionists and their useful infidels as an aggressive, unconscionable attempt to “control” the Temple Mount.
This area was the capital of the Jewish state from at least 1000 BCE. The “mount” is believed to have been the site of Solomon’s temple, and is the site of the Second Temple, built 6th century BCE, destroyed by the Romans in 70CE. The last independent kingdom to exist in the Jerusalem area was the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom. It is and always has been Judaism’s holiest site.
So then, Jesus arrives, has his bar mitzvah in the Temple, and precociously preaches there. As an adult, he wrathfully expels the merchants selling animals for the mandatory sacrifices, and the money changers whose services made it possible for Jewish pilgrims to change their money to the local currency so they could buy the unblemished animals.
Over 600 years later, Mohammed has a dream that he travels to “the farthest mosque.” now identified with Al Aqsa, from which, he dreams, he ascends to heaven on a human-headed steed.
After four centuries of a Muslim occupation, persecution of Christian pilgrims at last reached the excesses which goaded the church into supporting an only briefly successful attempt to establish Christendom’s control. Today, we find it a nice place to visit, but the Kingdom of God is internal.
(A) The Jewish Temple was a real, historical structure, built 1000 BCE or at least indisputably re-built about 586 BCE. It was actually standing during Jesus’ life and until about 70 CE.
(B) There was no mosque in Jerusalem during Mohammed’s lifetime. He dies 632; Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 690.
(C) a dream is not a real historical event.
So, by any measure: I respectfully submit it is the Jews who have the superior claim to “control” the Temple Mount. (Honorable mention: Christians.)
Being deferential, respectful, and self-effacing about it (as when Dayan handed the keys to the mosque back to the Grand Mufti in 1967) is only going to get more Jews killed. (But–what else is new? )
Mr. Netanyahu: Take back this hill!!
(Update: Turn on your TV. Palestinians are storming the Temple Mount, trashing the immediate area. Yet somehow, the news coverage would give you the impression that it’s because Israel has taken something away from them, instead of merely trying to make the area safer. I hear Jared Kushner has been dispatched to promote “calm.” Now we’ll find out what kinda person he is–cuz I know some who would do anything rather than take their own side.)