Thursday, October 12, 2006

If you don't use it, you lose it!

This saying is true in lots of contexts. First in the simplest, our possessions. We know the locations of the things frequently used, but if you haven't used something for years, can you find it? And if you haven't used it for years, do you really need it?

The older we get the quicker we lose muscle-tone and fitness, if we don't exercise.

Now, after these mundane examples, there's a very serious issue here in the Holy Land, our Temple Mount, הר הבית, Har HaBayit!

It is the holiest spot in the entire world according to Judaism. But for various reasons, almost immediately after its liberation as a result of the 1967 Six Days War, the keys were given to the Moslems, and the Jews made do with the outer walls of the Temple Mount, aka the kotel.

Slowly over the years, the movement to allow and encourage Jews to go up to Har HaBayit has increased in strength.

Following are two related articles:

Israel Complacent - Muslims Seek to Strengthen Hold on Mount

08:04 Oct 12, '06 / 20 Tishrei 5767
by Yechiel Spira

Israel is not expressing objections to the construction of a fifth Temple Mount minaret, in line with Jordanian plans.

This week, Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced plans to construct a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, a move that would further increase the Islamic occupation of the site, the holiest site to the Jewish People. Ironically, shortly following the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in the June 1967 Six Day War, the then Israeli government decided to return the keys to the Mount to the Islamic Waqf Authority, under Jordanian control, permitting the continued occupation of the holy site until today.

While tenacious yearning to visit the Mount by Jews has resulted in a modicum of government acquiescence, Jews by and large are barred from the holy site, as are members of other religions, compelled to live by the standards set by the Islamic occupiers. Jews who adhere to the strict religious requirements demanded of anyone wishing to visit the site cannot do so at will, and while there are generally visitation times during which Jews and other non-Muslims may ascend the Mount, the Waqf will not ‘tolerate’ Jews praying on the site, backed by Israel Police who are quick to enforce the prayer ban, generally arrested those bold enough to defy it.

The latest Jordanian construction process will begin early in 2007, calling for the 42-meter high tower in the area near the Golden Gate, near the eastern wall of the Mount.

Jordanian official Dr. Raief Najim, a senior personality involved in the project, was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying to date, he has not detected any Israeli objections to the project, he has already toured the proposed building site, accompanied by a senior Jerusalem district police official, as well as a national government representative. According to Najim, an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) official also accompanied him on his tour of the site, signaling passive approval by the various governmental agencies.

Jordanian authorities have already announced a building tender for the project, which carries a NIS 2.5 million price tag.

While Israel continues to claim Jerusalem controls the Temple Mount, in reality, the day-to-day running of the site is under Waqf control, with Israel complying with Waqf dictates regarding the goings-on on the site. When Waqf requests are not honored by the Israeli government, threats of violence have on many occasions accomplished the Waqf’s goals.

The Temple Mount was the home of the First and Second Temples, and it will house the Third Temple in the future. It remains the holiest site to the Jewish nation, one that has a higher sanctity than all other sites including the Kotel (Western Wall).

Synagogue Planned For Temple Mount, Hashemites to Add Minaret

20:30 Oct 10, '06 / 18 Tishrei 5767
by Ezra HaLevi

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is drawing up plans to construct a synagogue on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. Jordan's King plans to build a fifth minaret on the site as well.

The synagogue would be build upon the Temple Mount, but in an area that is indisputably not within the areas that require immersion and other preparations, according to Jewish law.

Ariel says that the synagogue would not change the Muslim status quo on the mount, which is home to the Al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

“This is not a new idea,” Ariel stressed, “it has been brought up and considered countless times since the [1967] Six Day War [during which the Temple Mount was liberated from Jordanian occupation –ed.].”

The plan will be submitted to the Jerusalem municipality and the Committee for Design and Construction for approval. Ariel says that every aspect of the plan will be submitted to leading Torah scholars for approval.

The National Union MK, who visited the Temple Mount himself Monday, said that such a plan was an opportunity for the Muslim world to prove it is capable of rising above the violence and intolerance that have surfaced in the past year as a result of papal remarks and political cartoon portraying Islam’s founder Muhammad. Referring to Ariel's visit to the holy site, MK Talab el-Sana (Ta’al) said the “provocation” would bring nothing but “war and bloodshed.”

MK Ariel points out that every ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court regarding the matter of the Temple Mount has recognized the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount. “This is rectification of a historic injustice, much more than the transport to Israel of [Theodore] Herzl’s children’s bones [as was done recently, in accordance with his wishes ed.].

"Since the destruction of the Holy Temple, the loss of our independence and the start of our exile and oppression during the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish presence at the site of our temple has always been an unmistakable symbol. The Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders expelled us and prevented Jews from entering Jerusalem, because they couldn’t stand to allow the Jewish nation to serve its G-d at this holy site. This synagogue will not interfere with believing Moslems who wish to pray at the Al-Aksa Mosque. On the contrary, this is an opportunity for the Moslem world to demonstrate and prove that it is tolerant enough."

Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah II has donated a huge carpet to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and has announced a contest to design a fifth minaret for the mosque. The existing minarets have been affixed with green neon lights in recent years, dominating the Jerusalem skyline. The planned minaret would be constructed along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount and would be clearly visible towering above the Western Wall.

The project requires approval by the Israeli government before it can begin.