Arutz Sheva - September 27, 2004

HAR HABAYIT B'YADENU

by David Wilder

The Jewish Community of Hebron

Shalom.

For the past few days we've been hearing commentators discuss the probable catastrophe that will occur should Muslim Ramadan prayers take place on a particular section of Temple Mount, called Solomon's stables.

Perhaps an introduction is in order. In just over three weeks, on the 15th of October, (which is the last day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei), the Arabs celebrate the beginning of the month of Ramadan. According to Muslim faith, it was during the month of Ramadan that the Koran 'was sent down from Heaven.' Moslems ostensibly fast from sunup to sunset daily, for the entire month. According to once source, "Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation." [http://www.holidays.net/ramadan/story.htm]

(I might add, it is also a time that Arabs use to try and kill Jews.)

Where, at all, is the Muslim connection to Jerusalem and Temple Mount? According to Lebanese Arab journalist Joseph Farah, it is not true that "the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third most holy sites. In fact, the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem! With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem. So how did Jerusalem become the third holiest site of Islam? Muslims today cite a vague passage in the Koran, the seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night Journey." It relates that in a dream or a vision Mohammed was carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs." In the seventh century, some Muslims identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem. And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets -- myth, fantasy, wishful thinking.

And he concludes, "Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham." "[http://www.masada2000.org/templemount.html]

In an essay by Lambert Dolpin, "In A.D. 691 Caliph Abd el-Malik commissioned the best architects to build the Dome of the Rock. His plan was based upon a Fourth Century Christian shrine on the Mount of Olives marking the site of Jesus' Ascension. The Caliph's new shrine was deliberately built as a political, economic, and religious counter attraction to Mecca. Medina and Mecca, the two cities holy to Islam, were under the control of a rival Caliph. Abd El-Malik sought to build up the importance of Jerusalem as an Islamic center for pilgrimage and worship. The holy spot of Judaism was now to be identified with the spot where Mohammed's horse ascended to heaven.

Another indication that Jerusalem was not considered of great importance to the Muslim armies is the fact that it was one of last cities taken by the Syrian Muslims after the death of Mohammed. It was conquered by a mediocre commander, and not by Omar himself. The Arabs first called the city Ilya (Aelia Capitolina) rather than Beit el-Maqdas (the holy house). An early Muslim proverb says, "One prayer in Mecca is valued as ten thousand prayers; a prayer in Medina is valued at one thousand prayers; and a prayer in Jerusalem at five hundred prayers."

Although Abd El-Malik had commissioned the structure, it became known as "The Mosque of Omar." The structure, however, was not (and is not today) a mosque, but rather a shrine." [http://www.templemount.org/allah.html]

In any case, literally tens, and even hundreds of thousands of Arabs worship at Har HaBayit, Temple Mount in Jerusalem during Ramadan, especially on Friday afternoons.

Recently, studies conducted by engineers, including a team from Egypt, concluded that the supports in the area called Solomon's Stables, (named as such during the Crusader period,) are very weak and will likely collapse in the event that tens of thousands of people fill the site. According to Israeli sources, the area can suitably hold up to 30,000 people, yet during Ramadan prayers, that number is multiplied several times over.

There are several reasons for this weakened condition. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, over the past few years, the Waqf, or Muslim religion trust, has conducted unauthorized and unsupervised construction in that vicinity, in an attempt to expand Arab control of Temple Mount. This has caused tremendous deterioration of the structural supports.

An Ha'Aretz newspaper article concerning illegal work at the area states: "At the end of November 1999, the Waqf tricked the government of Israel, and under the pretext of opening an emergency exit to the Solomon's Stables mosque - which had been built illegally and inaugurated in December of 1996 - the Waqf took advantage of the negligence of the government of Israel and its indifference to the fate of the archaeological remains on the Temple Mount, dug a huge 2,000-square meter pit beneath the Temple Mount some 13 meters deep, and opened a main door to the Solomon's Stable mosque 10 meters wide and 13 meters high.

During the excavation, Waqf workers using three bulldozers removed some 12,000-15,000 tons of earth filled with antiquities from all periods, without IAI supervision and without any sifting of the soil to locate and remove archaeological artifacts." [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/474445.html]

In addition, the recent earthquake which shook Israel also weakened these supports.

The result of these studies points to, not a possible collapse, rather an almost certain disintegration of the floor, causing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of casualties.

So what is Israel doing in order to prevent this calamity, which almost inevitably would be blamed on the Jews?

The State of Israel sent high-level representatives of the police force to speak with members of the Jordanian government, trying to convince them of the seriousness of the impending disaster. They are also pleading with Waqf leadership to restrict the number of visitors allowed on Temple Mount during Ramadan.

Of course, Arab reaction to Israel's begging has been that of derision and scorn. Israel's pleas are nothing more than a hoax in an attempt to keep Arabs from worshiping at their 'holy site.' Any effort by Israel to prevent Muslims from praying on Temple Mount will result in nothing less than jihad!

What should Israel do? First of all, we should never plead or beg about what is rightfully ours. Temple Mount is the most sacred place in the world. The First and Second Temples were constructed on Temple Mount hundreds and thousands of years before Muhammad was born. This site has been politicized by our enemies in an attempt to delegitimize Israel's most basic claims to our land, Eretz Yisrael. The Arab world in general, and most specifically the Waqf, is a declared enemy of the State of Israel and rejects our very existence in our land. Why should Israel negotiate with them?

Why must Israel send 'police representatives' to speak to the Jordanians? Temple Mount falls within the sovereign jurisdiction of the State of Israel. It is the undeniable heart and soul of Jewish spirituality. Why must we get down on our knees before any foreign nation, concerning anywhere in our land, and particularly, Temple Mount?

What Israel must do is clear. Har HaBayit -- Temple Mount must be immediately closed to all visitors. Jewish law forbids anyone from treading on this sacred ground. And if that is difficult for some to swallow, the possibility of tens of thousands of people buried beneath the rubble of a collapsed floor should be enough to convince anyone needing convincing. We need not ask anyone, we need not appeal to anyone.

By means of contrast, the Statue of Liberty in New York City was closed for a number of years, due to structural faults and security problems. Did the United States ask the French, who gave Lady Liberty to the Americans in the 1800s, if they minded? Did the U.S. ask anyone in the free world their opinion -- after all, the Statue of Liberty represents freedom, democracy and international friendship. Closing such a monument is an insult to the entire Western World!

Drivel and gibberish! No greater nonsense could possibly be spouted! So why must Israel bend over backwards to spew out such idiocy. In June 1967, Moshe Dayan exclaimed, "Har HaBayit b'yadenu" -- "Temple Mount is in our Hands." Almost 40 years later, the time has come to apply these words in actions, showing the nations of the world, and proving to ourselves: Har HaBayit b'yadenu!

With blessings from Hebron.