For the past several weeks, workers employed by the Islamic Wakf have been excavating on the Temple Mount. This excavation, ostensibly to facilitate improvements to the infrastructure of the Al Aksa Mosque, is being carried out with the approval of the Israeli government. Digging in any archeologically sensitive area is generally carried out with great care and delicacy, especially if the site is associated with religious traditions or considered holy. However this work is being carried out as it would be at any construction or building project, utilizing heavy machinery such as tractors and bulldozers. The Israel Antiquities Authority, legally empowered by the government to protect all archeological sites in Israel, is turning a blind eye to this excavation and has not posted supervisors or any representative at the site. Indeed, respected independent archeologists who have expressed concern over the irreparable damage currently being wrought by this work, and who have attempted to observe the digging firsthand, have been physically prevented from doing so by Israeli police officers, who vigilantly ensure that no one interferes with the work. According to the eye witness reports of these archeologists, and based on photographs they have studied, irreparable damage is being caused.
Islam maintains that there never was any such thing as the Holy Temple standing on the Temple Mount. For years a concentrated effort was made to obliterate any vestige of evidence from the site. Yet now, as a result of this destructive and wanton bulldozing, a section of the wall of the Holy Temple - in the area universally recognized as the location of the Women's Court - has been unearthed. This is the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple that actual physical evidence of the Temple has been revealed. But all of the antiquities of the Temple that have been uncovered are in danger of being destroyed by the Wakf.
To understand this travesty as merely an archeological issue would be myopic indeed. It would also be a mistake to consider these actions as nothing more than a heartless and cruel attack against another religion and culture. These atrocities are not being committed solely against the Jewish people and their traditions. This is an attack by enemies of the G-d of Israel against Him, and His plan for all humanity. The Bible consistently emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Temple in the life of mankind; it is none other than the "footstool" of G-d in this world (Lam 2:1). The purposeful destruction of remnants of the Holy Temple are an attempt to undermine G-d's sovereignty, and to erase His name from the one place on earth that He has chosen to manifest His presence throughout the saga of human history. Our sages teach us that Adam, the first man, was created from the spot of the altar in the Holy Temple. All of his descendants - the- family of man who are created in the Divine image - are therefore under attack, as these enemies seek, through their brazen act of denial and destruction, to unravel the human image and wage war against the Almighty. This callous and brutal destruction is an intolerable crime against all humanity.
Why does the government of Ehud Olmert officially condone the vandalism orchestrated against that which is holiest of all to the Jewish people? Why is there no response at all?
There is much more at stake here than simply the destruction of precious remnants of the Holy Temple. It has become clear that the abandonment of the Temple Mount to total Moslem control has been promised by Israel and is guaranteed to figure prominently in any eventual treaty or agreement.
Aside from the political implications regarding the future of Jerusalem and Israel and the direct effect that this will have on the entire world - the spiritual implications of what is now transpiring are enormous.
Allowing this sacrilege to continue, or alternatively - expending every effort to stem it, will constitute a direct indication as to how much we are willing to commit to the promises of G-d, and how much are we willing to commit to upholding His honor.
The Bible clearly indicates that all humanity will be uplifted to a new and unparalleled level of unity when the Holy Temple is rebuilt. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the L-rd's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all the nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd..." (Isaiah 2). In Isaiah's messianic prophetic vision of the lion lying with lamb, he further states that "They shall not hurt, nor destroy, in all My holy mountain." Yet ironically, this hurt, this destruction of G-d's holy mountain, is precisely what is taking place at this very moment under our very eyes. Indeed, there is naught but destruction rampant in "all My holy mountain."
This is the time for action. The government of Mr. Olmert does not represent the true and dedicated people of Israel. Yet he blasphemes, with impunity. He dares to treat the holies of Israel - indeed, the legacy of all those who believe in G-d - as his personal plaything. This government, whose only concern is the advancement of its own self-serving agenda and power, continues to rob the people of Israel of all that is rightly theirs, their G-d given heritage, legacy and responsibility.
I urge all those of you who stand with the people of Israel, who express deep commitment and concern for her fate, who identify with her mission and cherish her G-d, to rise up together with your brethren, the faithful, observant and G-d fearing Jews, and make your voices heard. The government of Ehud Olmert shows disdain for its own constituency. But it is still sensitive to the scrutiny and criticism of the world. The plans are made and set, and the "partners" - the Israelis, Palestinians, Saudis and other players - are urged on by the President of the United States, Mr. George Bush, who is committed to the unBiblical and immoral "two state solution," itself an anti-G-d affront against the Jewish people and G-d's promise to them.
You are in a unique position, and at a unique time in history, to unsettle these plans. Your immediate action is imperative and crucial for the halting of this evil process. The immoralities being perpetrated by the forces of Islam, if allowed to continue unchecked, will ultimately visit upon all those who remain silent. The die has been cast. While Olmert remains deaf to the cause of his own people, while the abandonment of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem has been promised by the corrupt and G-dless imposters posing as Israel's leaders, a decisive, unified, unabashed stance can reverse this evil trend.
I urge each and every true friend of Israel to personally fulfill the verse "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still..." (Isaiah 62:1). Do not be silent, do not be still! Make your voices heard in the clearest possible manner. Look deeply into your hearts, seek guidance from our Creator, and decide upon your course of action - a course that will allow you the merit of participating in G-d's unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind. A course of action that will make it clear in the most unequivocal terms, to Israel's enemies - from within and without - that you stand for the honor of the G-d of Israel.
Rabbi Chaim Richman
Director, International Department
The Temple Institute
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