In keeping with Dayan’s approach, Israel continues to act as if any link between it and the site of the Beit HaMikdash is purely coincidental. Nearly all Jewish prayer is forbidden there, and Israel refrains from carrying out archaeological excavations there (and turns a blind eye when Muslims do so). This fearful approach is evident even at the Western Wall: A dangerous and ugly bridge continues to carry visitors to the Mount from the Western Wall plaza – while a new one has been put on hold simply to preclude international Arab protests that it signifies the imminent construction of the Third Beit HaMikdash on the ruins of the Dome of the Rock.
Totally overlooked, in addition to occasional throwing of rocks by Arabs on the Mount on Kotel worshipers below, is a murderous terrorist attack that actually was perpetrated from the Temple Mount: In 1986, Palestinian terrorists threw grenades at an IDF Kotel ceremony, killing one Jew and wounding 69.
Shragai hopes his book will be read and even internalized by many Arabs, and that they will realize their fear of Israel is groundless. Our own hope, possibly more realistic, is that the Jews will realize their fear of upsetting the Arab world, though somewhat self-fulfilling, is based on one big comprehensive falsehood – and that the more we do not claim our rights to our most sacred places, the more we stand to lose them.
In addition to visiting Yerushalayim, our readers can do much in terms of learning about Jerusalem and becoming strong advocates for keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. For information on our bus tours in news-making areas of Jerusalem, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
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.