The Temple Mount is the holiest place on earth. It is the place chosen by the God of Israel to rest His Divine Presence in this world. It is the place connecting the physical with the metaphysical; the place where Adam was created and Isaac was bound. It is the place where life and the Nation of Israel were molded, where our First and Second Temples stood, and, when the time comes, where our Third Temple will dwell for eternity.
The Temple Mount is the beating heart of the Land of Israel. Israel’s famous poet, Uri Tzvi Greenberg, accurately described the Temple Mount as the yardstick of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel. When we lose our hold on the Mount, the heart becomes ill, circulation weakens, and the organs suffer. When Israel transfers control of the Mount to the Jordanian wakf, Jerusalem becomes divided and Israel’s cities become the target of missiles – a scenario that nobody would have imagined just a few years ago.
There is a direct connection between the abandonment of the Temple Mount and the deterioration of the legitimacy of the very existence of a Jewish State anywhere in the Land of Israel. When we declare with our actions that we have no connection to the Temple Mount, the world says the same at UNESCO. And when the world says it, the legitimacy of our hold on the Land is lost. And when this is lost, it becomes legitimate to attack us and illegitimate for Israel to defend herself.
Surrender of the Temple Mount does not prevent war; it incites it. The “strategy” of Israeli administrations since the Six-Day War has been to evade the actualization of Israeli sovereignty over the Mount and to pass on the “problem” to future generations. This “strategy” has brought about a continued depreciation in Jerusalem’s status, to its essential re-division, and to the transfer of most of the sovereignty at the heart of Israel’s capital – the Temple Mount – to the Jordanian wakf.
Today, places in East Jerusalem where Jewish children used to play safely are now empty of Jews. It is impossible today to build a home in Jerusalem without the personal authorization of the prime minister, and UNESCO is turning Israel’s practical policy into a principled international decision, determined that there be no connection between Israel and the Temple Mount.
The decision to give the keys to the Mount to the Muslims immediately upon its liberation in ’67 is praised as diplomatic insight and the “realpolitik” acumen of Moshe Dayan. But the truth is that Dayan’s actions were not born of necessity; they were simply a reflection of his strategy. Prior to that, in the War of Independence, a similar strategy brought about the fall of the Jewish Quarter and the loss of an opportunity to liberate the Temple Mount and Judea and Samaria. Before the Six-Day War, Dayan (and the ministers of the National Religious Party) were actually against liberating the Old City. Even Paratrooper Division Commander Mota Gur, who conquered the Temple Mount, was sure that it would shortly return to Jordan.
“Israeli-ness” did not want the “whole Vatican” – in the words of Moshe Dayan. “Religious-ness” also didn’t want the Mount, which returns the Torah from the personal-religion context of the Exile to its proper national-culture context. This is the real reason for today’s ultra-Orthodox opposition to the return of Jews to the Temple Mount. There is nothing more anti-“religious” and anti-exile than the Temple and the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem is a reflection of the identity conflict raging within Israeli society, the conflict between an Israeli identity and a Jewish identity. The Mount was abandoned by Israel and Jerusalem is being divided because the Israeli/Religious identity is fleeing the return to a Jewish/cultural identity.
The Arabs are not the problem; they are simply the means in this internal conflict. Jerusalem does not appear even once in the Koran. When the Muslims are on the Mount, they bow southward to Mecca and turn their backsides to the Dome of the Rock and the site of the Holy of Holies. Israel gives the Mount to the Muslims so that it can run away from itself. The result is the loss of the bedrock foundation for the justification of our existence in the Land of Israel – and the turning of humanity against us. By sanctifying the Mount for the Muslims, Israel brings war upon itself.