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Muslims Destroying Ancient Temple Remains & Jewish Hopes for a Temple in Jerusalem September 13, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in Arab states, archaeology, Bible, Chrisitanity, Freedom of Religion, Islam, Israel, Jews, Judaism, Muslims, Palestinians, religion, Temple Mount, United Nations, United States, Waqf.

According to a September 9 Haaretz report by correspondent Nadav Shragai, The Council for Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount petitioned Israel’s High Court in order to stop excavations by the Muslim Waqf on the Temple Mount. The Waqf claims the dig is necessary to install new electrical cables. Even though the project was approved by both the Israeli government and the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Council charges all parties with violating Antiquity Law and the Waqf with destroying the remains of the ancient Second Temple. The Waqf denies the Jewish Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount. However, Rabbinical, Christian, and even Muslim scholars contradict the Waqf’s claim. Because of these contradictory views, both sides accuse the other with plans to destroy their holy place.

The Temple Mount poses a dilemma for both Jews and Muslims. It is regarded by both as their ancient sacred site. Muslims are violently determined to keep control of their religion’s third most important holy place, while Jews intend to rebuild the Temple on its original site where Muslim construction appears to be destroying evidence of the original Temple.

This dilemma raises the question about whether the Jews have a right to rebuild their Temple. A brief review of the Temple Mount history shows that they do.

During the era of the Roman Empire, Jerusalem was Israel’s capital where the Temple Mount was central to ancient Jewish life. The Temple Mount served as both a religious and governmental center. Adjoining the enormous Temple rebuilt by Herod was his political headquarters. The brilliance of Herod’s Temple made it both an international tourist attraction and a greater attraction for annual pilgrimages among Diaspora Jews. It was also the same Temple Jesus and the apostles frequented during the 1st century as recorded in the New Testament. The Temple Herod rebuilt had been rebuilt by Nehemiah and other Jews around 445 BC, according to Diana Edelman. The Temple rebuilt by Nehemiah—Solomon’s Temple—had been severely damaged during the war with Babylon in 586 BCE.

In 70 CE, the Roman General Titus set fire to Herod’s Temple, and he outlawed Jews from entering the site. Three centuries later, Christians gained controlled the Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It was during this time that Constantine began building the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. When Muslims gained control of the site in the 7th century, they built the Dome of the Rock, which was completed around 690 AD or 58 years after Mohammed’s death in 632 CE. Al-Walid completed building the al-Aqsa Mosque around 714 CE. Thus, history refutes the denial of Waqf and other Muslim officials that a Jewish Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount.

Jewish and Muslim scholars further refute this denial. As reported by
Israel National News
, Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Moshe Sasson, an expert on Islamic affairs, said that neither is Jerusalem ever mentioned in the Qu’ran nor does al-Aqsa refer to an actual mosque because no mosque then existed. This is confirmed by Muslim scholars like Moiz Amjad, who also teaches that al-Aqsa mentioned in the Qu’ran actually refers to the site of Solomon’s Temple and not a building then standing.

Although the Qu’ran does not refer to an actual mosque in Jerusalem, it has been regarded as such over 1300 years, which explains why many Muslims prefer not to believe a Jewish Temple preceded their mosque. Nevertheless, history and scholarship show why the Jews have a right to restore their Temple in order to worship their God as prescribed in their Bible.

In light of the above, the outrage of both religious Jews and many archaeologists over current bulldozing of large trenches around the Temple site hopefully makes more sense. Many religious Jews suspect Muslims are attempting to destroy possible evidence of the Second Temple. Rabbi Richman believes the Waqf is “trying to erase Jewish vestiges from the Temple Mount.” Even more disturbing to the Rabbi is “a corrupt, spiritually bankrupt government … allowing Judaism’s holiest site to be trashed.”
Archaeologists are equally apprehensive of the potential destruction of many priceless historical artifacts and previous Temple remains. According to Archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer, leading archaeologists protest the illegality of the excavations and the possibility that parts of the ancient Temple Court and Court of Women are being destroyed. (See his map of the excavation.) Adding insult to injury, Israeli officials were actively blocking archaeologists and other members of Public Committee for Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on Temple Mount from inspecting the site, according to the World NetDaily.

Their petition to halt the destruction apparently worked because archaeologists have found the remains of the Second Temple. While inspecting the trench, archaeologist Zachi Zweig says he and other archaeologists saw “two building stones, chiseled in a comb-style, characteristic of the Second Temple period.” They also discovered “Byzantine mosaic stones and additional shards from various periods” and “an area where there was a large collection of pottery.” Similar evidence of the Second Temple and Byzantine era artifacts were found in other areas of the trench. Zweig noted with concern that the heavy equipment was also damaging ancient walls and destroying large quantities of ancient artifacts, which were being dumped in the Kidron Valley. During another inspection of the trenches, archaeologist Zweig and colleagues found engraved stones from the Herodian period as well as artifacts from the Ottoman period. Another important observation, repeated in both Zweig’s Biblical Archaeological Review articles, was bedrock found less than two feet deep. According to archaeologist Ritmeyer, this shows how easily the archaeological remains can be damaged.

Westerners probably have difficulty comprehending the extreme frustration experienced by religious Jews being outlawed from their one-and-only holy site. Their frustration is being compounded by the continued desecration of their holy place by those who unabashedly hate them. For Muslims, the most holy site is the Meccan Mosque, not al-Aqsa. Muslims do not make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. No, they travel from every city and village of the world to Mecca. Jews only have the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Although many regard the Church of the Sepulchre as Christendom’s most important holy place, Christians actually have no one ancient holy place. Therefore, it should be evident to all that no one has the right to deprive Jews of their one and only holy place, just as no one has the right to keep them from their ancient form of worship; but that is what the Arabs, secularists, and others are still doing to the religious Jews in Israel.

This is a dilemma Americans cannot avoid. The American government has backed the United Nations Security resolutions for a Palestinian state against all reason and commonsense. The only reason Arabs demand East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital is to keep control of the Temple Mount. By doing so, a Jewish state is denied full restoration. By backing the failed two-state plan, America has backed global favoritism of Palestinians and Arab Muslim states at the expense of the many Israeli and Palestinian lives. The tragedy has been exasperated by America’s support of Israel’s liberal leaders who often disregard their own people’s welfare and religious heritage. Instead, Israeli official favor Arab agendas in accordance with American wishes because of billions of dollars of American aid in order to fulfill failed UN policy. Because of America’s intimate influence of Israeli policies, a part of the responsibility for both the deadly results of the past and for the continued deprivation of the full restoration of their Temple worship lay at the feet of Americans. This injustice is just as much an American tragedy as an Israeli one.

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1. music - January 7, 2008

very interesting.
i’m adding in RSS Reader

2. Dan the Man - March 9, 2009

The Dome of the Rock is 300 feet south from the Jewish temple. Remember that Jewish historians always mentioned that the entrance of the Temple faces the entrance of the Eastern Gate and the Garden.

The Muslims constructed the Dome of the Rock on the wrong location.

3. Dan the Man - March 9, 2009

Forgot to mention. Let the Muslims excavate around their Dome of the Rock. They are so stupid that the Dome could collapse due to excessive digging and destroying.

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