August 7, 2014
By Isabel De Bertodano
A group with ambitions to build the Third Temple in Jerusalem has turned to internet crowdfunding to raise capital for the project.
The Temple Institute hopes to raise $100,000 (£59k) on the Indiegogo website, where small amounts of money can be invested by members of the public into projects they believe have potential or value.
Almost $20,000 (£11k) has been raised since the campaign's launch on 27 July, and contributions will go towards paying a firm of architects that has already begun work on plans for the building on Temple Mount. The estimated cost of producing detailed plans of the complex is $300,000 (£178k).
The institute, which is run by Rabbi Chaim Richman, offers incentives to those who contribute during the six-week fundraising campaign. For example, a modest donation of $54 (£32) is rewarded with photographs of the garments of the high priest, and has currently attracted 25 donors. A top donation of $50,000 (£29k) offers a preview of the architectural plans as a (so far unclaimed) reward.
The new building is envisaged as a replacement for the Second Temple, torn down 2,000 years ago, which in turn was built on the site of Solomon's Temple. The institute says it aims to "usher in a new era of universal harmony and peace" by building "a house of prayer for all nations" on Temple Mount.
However, the scheme has not met with universal approval. In order for building to begin, the Dome of the Rock, Dome of the Chain and the al-Aqsa mosque would need to be removed from Temple Mount.
According to the Temple Institute "the most promising, and not necessarily the most far-fetched [scenario] would entail Muslim recognition of the Mount as the intended location for the rebuilt Temple."
It added that the existing structures would be reassembled in an alternative location.
However, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK said the plans "will have serious repercussions and could lead to a regional war".