Nisan 29, 5770, 13 April 2010
by Hillel Fendel
Dr. Max Singer, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, writes this week that the only chance for peace in the Middle East is if the West disabuses the Arabs of two fallacies.
A founder and senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, Singer writes that within the Palestinian Authority, a debate rages between those who favor retaining the goal of eliminating Israel, and those who favor giving up that goal to gain peace and prosperity. In addition, many within the PA draw hope from the growing anti-Israel international movement that Israel can eventually be destroyed – either from within, or because it will be forced to make more concessions than it can safely live with.
If peace is to have a chance, Singer writes, Western leaders need to convince the PA side that both notions are wrong.
Jewish Links to Land - Important Part of Peace
An important component of the latter notion is the continued denial by the PA leadership of the Jewish People's ancient connection to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem. This denial precludes the possibility that Arabs will agree to the notion of an honorable peace with Israel.
For instance, Moslem leaders in the PA repeatedly claim that the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism, where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac, where the two Holy Temples stood, and where the third is to be rebuilt – has no Jewish history or background. In the words of the chief Moslem cleric of the Palestinian Authority, Mufti Ikrama Sabri, "The claim of the Jews to the right over [Jerusalem] is false, and we recognize nothing but an entirely Islamic Jerusalem under Islamic supervision..."
Similarly, Islamic Movement chief Raed Salah has said, "We reiterate for the 1,000th time that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque [on the Temple Mount], including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it."
Jordan, too, has not waived its demands for sovereignty and responsibility over the Temple Mount. Jordanian government minister Abdel Salam Abbadi said last week that Jordan's 1988 decision to disconnect from Judea and Samaria did not mean that it detached itself from Jerusalem and the holy sites.
Groups Work for Jewish Temple Mount
To counter this approach – and thereby to help achieve the goal of which Singer wrote – various Jewish groups in Israel seek to cement the Jewish bonds to the Temple Mount. They visit the Mount whenever possible, attempt to secure rights for Jews to visit and pray there, arrange marches outside the Temple Mount gates, and raise Temple Mount awareness with events, classes, pamphlets, exhibits and more.
Among them are The Temple Institute, the Organization for the Renewal of the Temple, the Sanhedrin, the Organization for Human Rights on the Temple Mount, and others.
Petition to Netanyahu
The Organization for the Renewal of the Temple has initiated a petition/letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, urging him to add the Temple Mount to his new list of sites preserved as National Heritage sites. The letter states that though "the Temple Mount is the holiest site in the world for the Jewish people, yet the Muslim authorities, aided by Israel Police, systematically deny the right of religious expression on the Mount to all non-Moslems. On numerous occasions the High Court of Justice has upheld the Jewish people's right to pray at the site, yet the police continue to prevent this. Furthermore, Jewish visitors are harassed and degraded… Please, end this travesty and allow Jewish freedom of expression at the Temple Mount. I urge you include the Temple Mount in your "Heritage Plan" of sites significant to the Jewish people."
The Temple Institute, engaged in education, research, and development towards the Holy Temple in accordance with Biblical law, recently held its 29th annual Temple Institute Passover Symposium, under the banner of "Integrating Modern Technology into the Holy Temple." Issues discussed included questions such as, "Will massive digital screens allow worshippers to observe the work of the High Priest from a great distance? Will computers be used to keep track of the sacrifices, public and private? Will special impurity-proof buses be used to transport Passover pilgrims and their Paschal offerings?"