Three from Haaretz on the Temple Mount

[ by Charles Cameron — growth and mainstreaming of Rebuild the Temple movements in Israel, parallels with perceived slights against the Prophet of Islam, volatility of the situation ]

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You saw the New York Times headline, New Clashes at Site in Jerusalem Holy to Both Muslims and Jews? That was just a taste, here’s more of the story:

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Haaretz has posted three pieces in the last couple of days about the movement to build a Third Temple on the Temple Mount / Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem. I’ll give you the title, link and brief summaries of for the two shorter pieces, and some significant quotes from the Longer one.

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I’d also like to suggest considering the issues here as analogues of those in the recent “blasphemy” incidents.

We might think in terms of freedom of speech being akin to freedom of worship — but we should also consider the dangers inherent in what would likely be perceived as a huge provocation, in what may be the most volatile hot-spot on earth.

Consider: building the Third Temple might involve the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, whether by an act of God or by human intervention. Whether it would or not is in dispute, as we shall see — but as we shall also see, attempts to destroy it have already been made…

Bearing that in mind..

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1: Temple Mount Faithful: From the fringes to the mainstream

Once consigned to messianic extremist fringes, movements fighting the ban on Jewish

prayers on Temple Mount are now endorsed by moderate rabbis. Even the Education Ministry has taken sides by encouraging pupils to visit the site.

If that’s accurate, it’s a significant shift in relation to what my American-Israeli journalist friend Gershom Gorenberg called in his book about the Mount, The End of Days, “the most contested piece of real-estate on earth” — for a quick overview of the importance of the site, see my piece of that name from July of this year.

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2: Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court: Jews should be allowed to pray on Temple Mount

Police currently enforce the Muslim ban on Jewish prayer at the site, citing security concerns.

Put those two pieces together, and you have a sense of momentum gathering for an epic clash, one which would have immense apocalyptic significance in terms of those eagerly awaiting a Coming One in each of the three Abrahamic traditions

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3: Following the dream of a Third Temple in Jerusalem

More than 90 percent of Israel’s religious public wants to be allowed to pray at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Some groups, though, wish to go even further and build a Third Temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. What fuels the dreams of these Jewish extremists?

Shany Littman, the author of this impressive magazine-length piece which is behind a paywall on the Haaretz site but has been reposted here, expresses through the voices of a diverse group of people she met and talked with, the deep-seated longing behind the movement —

I pray for it three times a day and I wanted to take seriously what I say. I say, ‘Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem.’

and the theological logic behind that —

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