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August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
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Holy Sites on the Chopping Block?

Bird eye view of the Abbey of the on Mt. Zion just outside the walls of the Old City near the Zion Gate.

Bird eye view of the Abbey of the on Mt. Zion just outside the walls of the Old City near the Zion Gate.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Given the pessimism expressed recently by President Obama and Secretary Kerry regarding the chances of actually reaching an Israel-PLO agreement in the near future, many believe we need not worry about such a deal and its negative ramifications. Nevertheless, it is still vital that we understand the tremendously high stakes under discussion, especially in our holy city of Yerushalayim.

Let us listen to Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem that he himself helped liberate as an IDF paratrooper during the Six-Day War of 1967. Currently the head of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Rabbi Ariel warns that under discussion is a “terrible plan” to give away the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the holiest burial vault in Christianity) to the Catholics and/or other Christians, as well as the Temple Mount to the Muslims. “And we, the Jews, will have to reach the Western Wall under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority,” Rabbi Ariel laments.

Rabbi Ariel did not mention in this interview that which he and others have taught thousands of students for decades: The Western Wall is merely a retaining wall for the Temple Mount, and has no innate sanctity of its own. Its value to the Jewish people is only as a symbol of our lack of access to what lies behind it – namely, the site of the Beit HaMikdash, our holiest national location.

Is there in fact a plan to turn over holy sites? No hard proof such exists in the public arena, but much has been written about President Shimon Peres’s promises to grant the Vatican official status in Jerusalem and control over its holy sites.

Nor has the visit of Pope Francis to Israel this coming May done anything to calm the rumors of Israeli concessions to the Church; quite the opposite. In February 2000, the Vatican and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement calling for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem. The agreement stated that a special statute would protect, inter alia, “the proper identity and sacred character of the city.”

Three months later, PLO terrorist chieftain Yasir Arafat met in Ramallah with Islamic and Christian clergymen who backed Palestinian Arab sovereignty over Jerusalem. Among the participants were leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches.

Regarding the Temple Mount, of course, it appears to be universally assumed that the breaking out of peace in the Middle East and the Muslim take-over of the Temple Mount will occur simultaneously.

Rabbi Ariel expressed frustration with the silence of Jewish religious leadership on the dangers. “Where is the Chief Rabbinate?” he asked Arutz-7′s Hebrew-language newsmagazine last week. “They are about to take the heart of Jerusalem [Mt. Zion] and turn it into a Christian center!”

“We well remember the late Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Nissim,” he continued, “who, 50 years ago, during the first papal visit to Israel, refused to meet with the pope when the latter refused to come to Jerusalem. [Today] there is weakness and surrender toward the pope.”

Rabbi Ariel, former chief rabbi of the short-lived Israeli city of Yamit in the Sinai and head of the yeshiva there, continues to speak out on issues of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, despite his ill health.

 

Jews to Live Under the PA? Meanwhile, attention has been turned toward the possibility that, even if an agreement is reached, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Gilo, Maaleh HaZeitim and Shimon HaTzaddik will remain where they are – only under Palestinian sovereignty. Many Israeli leaders responded quickly that such an option would be in diametric opposition to all Jewish and Zionist values. In any event, there seems to be no fear that this scenario would ever be accepted by the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas has said countless times that no Jew would be allowed to live in a country under his control.

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.


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7 Responses to “Holy Sites on the Chopping Block?”

  1. What is wrong with us ?

  2. Ronny Mol says:

    What's all the bother. Israelis voted for Bibi, they know he is a loser. The Knesset voted FOR same sex abomination; 80% of Israelis are secular and do not care or know who Avraham is. The women walk half naked in the winter. Religious women still show their hair. We are LOST. Intermarriage with the goyim is going strong with no end insight. My children will NOT go in the IDF. The IDF is useless. First you have to fire in the air, then at the legs and finally at the heart. Release terrorists so the IDF has to go in again and get them while trying NOT to get killed or hurt. War is on the horizon and the Israeli government has NO clue how to deal with it. Let's run to the Americans to see what we should do. It is a farce.

  3. Ronny Mol says:

    I forgot to mention that Israeli Arabs do NOT pay taxes, get free education to become lawyers, judges and doctors on the Jew's backs and then say to your face, I hate you and hope you die. What? No response from the PM, Knesset, police, IDF. Only G-d can save us.

  4. This is the first time frame in history where we have so many end times prophecies occurring at the same time. Earthquakes in diverse places, wars and rumors of wars, starvation, illnesses, and people traveling to and fro and knowledge increased. In just the last few decades man has started flying in mass. Our homes have pluming and heating, electric lights, cloths washers, dish washers, TV's and computers, and the BIG one,,, Israel is back as a nation. The rapture of the Church is on the verge of taking place. When that happens there will be no Christians in the world for a brief time and the antichrist will quickly take control of a new one world government. I wrote a book in 2012 that discusses salvation and prophecies written about in the Bible. It’s a short read and it’s totally free. I hope you will have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next

  5. It seems the present rulers just can't give away the Holy land fast enough. With the ease at which they do it, it is not hard to tell they must not believe the scriptures or perhaps don't understand that Israel has been returned to their land and that they will never leave it again.

  6. Margaretha Tierney says:

    Study Daniel's prophecies and you will discover that the Vatican has ulterior motives with its interest in Jerusalem. The plan is to bring back the Inquisition and the Holocaust and all Sabbath-keepers (Jew and Christian alike) will be killed. Do not give in to the Pope's request to take over the holy sites.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Read Zechariah 12:1-3 that is all the U.S., the palestinians or any enemies of Israel need to understand!

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