It never seems to end. The Palestinians continue to desecrate Judaism’s holiest sites by using two of their most well-honed weapons: politics and violence.
Just last week, I described in my “Inside Israel” column for Newsmax how the Palestinians are using UNESCO to rewrite history by claiming the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Muslim Heritage Site, the Abrahimi Mosque.
The Palestinians have found the diplomatic community sympathetic to their alternative facts. They have become adept at using politics as a way to undermine Judaism’s connection to the city of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
For their part, the UN has proven to be an all too willing accomplice in passing anti-Israel resolutions. Thanks to the Arab lobby, year after year, the UN passes more resolutions attacking Israel than all other countries combined. In a particularly insane example from last month, the UN’s Human Rights Council blamed Israel for Palestinian men beating their wives. By manipulating diplomacy, Palestinians are seeking to undermine and delegitimize Israel.
Unfortunately, the move against Jewish holy sites then took a bloody turn for the worst.
Last Friday, thousands of Palestinians arrived as usual to Jerusalem’s Old City for their worship at the Al Aqsa Mosque. Fridays are Islam’s holy days, like Sunday for Christians or Saturday for Jews.
As captured by security cameras, one of the terrorists brought a backpack full of guns into the Mosque and then three others entered the house of worship to pick up the weapons. They exited the Al Aqsa Mosque and killed two Israeli police officers on sacred ground.
The Temple Mount is holy to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
In the New Testament, it is the site of several events in the life of Jesus. Judaism has long revered the Temple Mount as its primary holy site, where Abraham originally brought Isaac in the 14th century BCE and where King Solomon built the First Temple in the 8th century BCE. Throughout history, wherever they were in the world, Jews have turned towards the Temple Mount to pray.
Islam believes that the Temple Mount is its third holiest site. Despite the fact that Jerusalem is not once mentioned in the Koran, Muslims claim that Muhammad journeyed there in 621 from Mecca. The violent acts of murder committed this week on the Temple Mount seriously undermine the Islamic claim of holiness. In fact, Bar Ilan University’s Dr. Mordechai Kedar has argued that the real Al Aqsa Mosque is not even in Jerusalem.
Israel responded to the murder of two of its police officers by placing metal detectors at the Mount’s entrances, as is done for security purposes in Mecca for Hajj pilgrims. Looking for any pretense to incite further violence, Islamic leaders called first for a prayer ban and then for violent protests in response to the metal detectors.
Since we're talking about Jerusalem, the story is far from over.
This coming week begins the Jewish month of Av when both Temples were destroyed in the Jewish tradition. It is a time of mourning over the loss of our original holy sites when all Jewish hearts turn towards Jerusalem.
This year however, Israelis are asking themselves, who murders on a holy site? Who smuggles weapons into a house of prayer?
On the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av (coinciding this year with August 1), Jews will once again observe a mournful fast day over the tragedies that occurred on the Temple Mount throughout history. Despite Islamic terrorists who just murdered there, we will pray for the Temple Mount once again to be restored as a “house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7) where it is safe for everyone to pray.
Rabbi Weisz is the director of Israel365, which connects 2 million people to Israel every month. He founded the I365 newsletter, is publisher of Breaking Israel News, and editor of The Israel Bible. He lives with his family in Ramat Beit Shemesh. To read more of his reports, Click Here Now.
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