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A New Vision for the Temple Mount
Recently, more articles have been published in the Israeli press about the real danger that some elements may attempt to strike at the "Temple Mount Mosques". They referred specifically to the Dome of the Rock (which Haaretz daily called "the Omar Mosque"), that has become the national Palestinian symbol and, to a large extent, the visual symbol of Jerusalem.
As a long-time student of the Temple Mount issues, I found these articles most disappointing, as they testify to a widespread ignorance in this topic. Were the writers (and their readers) wise enough to treat the Dome of the Rock as a focal point for love, rather than a problem, they could have shown the dangerous fanatics that the destruction of the Dome of the Rock is the most stupid idea that can enter anyone's mind. The problem is that most of the information that reaches the public about the Temple Mount is based on superstitions rather than on research.
Let me mention a few of these misconceptions:
1) The Dome of the Rock is the "Omar Mosque".
Not true. The Omar Mosque is the mosque near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, far away from the Temple Mount. This mistake appears not only in shallow newspaper articles, but even the famous scholar Zeev Vilnai mentioned it.
2) The Dome of the Rock is a mosque.
No, it is not at all designed as a mosque. It is a known fact that the Dome's designers and builders thought of it in terms of reconstructing Solomon's Temple. Its deep meaning was to plan an inter-religious integration facility for its time and a centre for the affairs of the Day of Judgement.
3) The Dome of the Rock stands where the Jewish Temples used to stand.
It is highly unlikely. Architect Tuvya Sagiv has produced six independent pieces of evidence that the Temple stood elsewhere on the Temple Mount. No one in the archaeological establishment is willing to address his claims.
4) The third Temple should be built in the shape of Herod's Temple.
Pathetic. In Ezekiel's prophecy, the future Temple is described as a shrine that will cover the entire area of the Old City. It is only reasonable to expect that in an age of globalisation, the entire Old City of Jerusalem should serve as a World Temple.
5) Building the Temple is the mission (as some "Hills' Youths" claimed in the press) of Judaism versus the "Israeli Identity".
On the contrary. Rabbinical Judaism has evolved as a substitute to the Temple and is accustomed to managing without it. It is highly likely that it would do everything to prevent the reconstruction of the Temple. Moreover, the "Israeli Identity" is not identical with Jewishness, since the tribe of Judah is only one part of Israel, while Israel comprises communities (or "tribes", if you will) that do not observe the Jewish religion. The Israeli identity needs the Temple for its own survival, as a place for reconciliation between these rival tribes and for uniting them into one nation. The proper place for this is in Jerusalem.
6) It is possible to destroy the Dome of the Rock.
Impractical. Any wise architect knows that the way to build a structure that will last for a long time is to make it beautiful enough, so that future generations will guard and renovate it. The Dome of the Rock has already collapsed several times and each time it was rebuilt. Even the Crusaders could have destroyed it but refrained from doing so. It is obvious that if the structure is damaged in our own times, it will be renovated immediately and the State of Israel will most probably be the first to pay for it.
7) The Temple was destroyed and should be rebuilt by clearing the area.
I regret to embarrass so many good Jews, but the construction of the Dome of the Rock has already completed in Jerusalem the ideal pattern of the Divine Temple. So in fact, the Temple is already standing for more than 1,200 years, ready to start operating - as soon as all parties recognise what they see in front of their eyes.
I can agree with Rabbi Ariel that 'when the Creator of the Universe has no place to put his Divine Presence (Shkhina in Hebrew) in the Temple Mount, we shall find no rest either.' The Qur'an also agrees that the true rest is the Sakina - Shkhina. But the lesson may be the opposite of the one drawn by Rabbi Ariel and the "Hills' Youths".
Further proof for some of the above unconventional assertions, can be found in 'The Hope' web site: www.thehope.org.
An indication of the global interest in the plans for the future of the Temple Mount can be seen in Wired Magazine, a publication with over 250,000 subscribers.
Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-man, cyber-architect, 24/February/2005