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Response to Big Pharaoh

Egyptian blogger The Big Pharoah posts his thoughts on Ehud Olmert’s blueprint for “sharing” Jerusalem.

I believe there are 2 possible solutions for the Old City in Jerusalem. One, that it becomes an international city just as it meant to be before the 1947 war. Two, it could be shared but the Palestinians have to retain sovereignity over the Muslim and Christian areas there including the Haram el Sharif or the Temple Mount. Sorry Jews, forget the Temple Mount, you can’t even pray there, the Western Wall is more than enough.

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Call it whatever you want to call it but total Israeli control over the Old City is not an option.

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I just don’t understand why Israel wants to keep Muslim and Christian stuff. Is it something psychological? No Jew goes inside the Temple Mount anymore, no Jew prays inside the churches there, why would Israel want to keep them? We all saw what happened when Sharon decided to go there. So please Israelis, I am on my knees begging you, be the mature big bro here.

Allow me to explain exactly why Israel is not willing to “give up” the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in our religion. It is where the binding of Isaac occurred, and where Jacob had his dream (after which he proclaimed “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of G-d and this is the gate of the heavens!” – Genesis 28:17). Later on, it was the site of the holy temples, and, as such, where the Jews became closest with G-d.

So important and integral is the Temple Mount to our religion, that we face towards it while we are praying, still pray about it three times a day, fast for the destruction of the Temple, observe other commandments related to it, and yearn for it – almost 2000 years after the Second Temple’s destruction. Not only that, but we are only able to visit the periphery of the Mount, and not the sanctified areas, due to their holiness. And even then, we have to ascend the Mount in purity, according to Torah law.

The fact that Jews cannot pray there is not proof that it is not our holiest site, but rather proof of the unjust rules set by the Wakf, the Muslim authority granted de facto control over the area, by the Israeli government, since 1967 (yes, the Israeli government bends over backwards to respect the other main religions, which cannot be said for others).

As for Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, history shows that it was coordinated with the palestinians, and the violence was planned well before the visit.

While the establishment of the modern State of Israel occurred in natural fashion, and most of the founding fathers were not religious, most Jews feel a special connection with the land of Israel, and especially the Temple Mount. While most Jews in Israel are not religiously observant, there is a collective awareness of the holy Temple, and a general acknowledgement of its centrality to our faith.

One of the problems with people’s perceptions of the Middle East

conflict – as I see it – is that people readily dismiss the Jewish

people’s connection with the land of Israel, while playing up the

palestinian’s claims. Big Pharaoh’s post reinforces this.

Big Pharaoh, sorry, but to most of us, we are more interested in being true to our faith and traditions, than being “a mature big bro.” I am sure G-d understands.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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