Rebellion in the Likud ranks: On Wednesday, MK Yehuda Glick announced his plan to petition the Supreme Court against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the latter’s barring of Knesset members and cabinet ministers from ascending too the Temple Mount, Srugim reported. The prohibition has taken effect close to the start of the current wave of terror, dubbed “the Al Aqsa intifada” by the Arabs, who claim to have started the violence in response to a Jewish conspiracy to destroy the Temple Mount mosque.
A suit by a rank and file MK against the leader of his party is extremely rare. Should Glick persist with his petition he is likely to be sanctioned by his Knesset faction, the Likud, and be barred from speaking from the podium and submitting bills. He might also be dismissed from the Knesset, should the leadership be able to enlist sufficient support from the members. He could also be tried by the Likud internal court.
Before assuming the legislator’s mantle, Glick made his living as tour guide on the Temple Mount, and in October 24 was the victim of an assassination attempt because of his promotion of Jewish access to the holy site.
This is the second time Netanyahu has blocked MKs from entering the sacred compound. During the 19th Knesset, the PM prevented MKs Uri Ariel and Shuli Mualem (Habayit Hayehudi) and Moshe Feiglin and Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) from ascending. The reason Glick is irate this time is the fact that Jerusalem police have announced they no longer see the need to stop MKs from entering the Temple Mount, but Netanyahu persists in his refusal to open the gates to them.
When he became a member of Knesset, about half a year ago, Glick justified the prohibition, which was pinned on attempts by Arab MKs to stir up riots on the Temple Mount. The last time Glick has been to the site was on the day before his swearing in as MK.
A delegation of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday held meetings at the Russian Federation Council — the upper house of the country’s Federal Assembly. Addressing the criticism of Russia’s vote in favor of UNESCO’s resolution which ignores the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said Russia has never questioned the Jews’ right to the Temple Mount, nor has it questioned the right of others to the holy site.
However, in late October, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS that Israel’s emotional approach to resolutions of UNESCO on Jerusalem is “not quite justified,” suggesting the Israelis’ “emotions are over the top.”
“Israelis have a sensitive attitude toward that issue,” he said, “But this time we felt that Israelis’ emotions are a bit over the top in that issue,” Gatilov said, adding that “in this regard, the excessively emotional approach of Israel is not quite justified.”
Knesset Committee Chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud), and MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Camp) and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), and their hosts stressed the importance of the relations between the countries, as well as the need to continue the diplomatic and security dialogue and continue developing the economic, cultural and technological ties.
The talks also focused on Israel’s and Russia’s mutual interest in seeking regional stability and combating terror, and ideas on how to cooperate were discussed.
As to the Russian government’s decision on paying working pensions to Israelis who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, the officials said the decision is supposed to be approved by the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) and the Federation Council by the end of the year.
The delegation also met with the Russia-Israel Friendship Association, and attended a dinner hosted by the Israeli ambassador. The dinner was also attended by four chairpersons of committees in the State Duma and the Federation Council, as well as by Russia’s chief rabbi.
On Tuesday the MKs are scheduled to meet with representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Moscow, with President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, with members of the State Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Defense Committee, and with the deputy head of the National Security Council.
The first Seekers of Zion conference, aimed at tightening the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, was held in the Knesset on Monday under the banner of “Jerusalem of Peace,” on the second anniversary of the assassination attempt on MK and Temple activist Yehuda Glick.
Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud) told the conference that “our right to the Temple Mount is indisputable, and no international entity can rewrite our history. The Temple Mount is the most sacred site to the Jewish nation and that cannot be changed.”
Having said that, Erdan admitted that “today’s status quo on the Temple Mount discriminates against the Jewish people. That is the truth. When I took office [the Waqf] limited the access of Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount based on racial and religious profiling, they came up close to them in an intimidating manner, let no one have any illusions about this — everything there was arranged, timed and paid for.”
“Together with the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and the cabinet, I led decisions to ban the Almoravid and Morabitat (separate male and female fanatical Islamic groups), and to ban the northern branch of the Islamic Movement,” Erdan continued. “My job is to secure the visitors ascending the Temple Mount, Jews, Christians and Muslims. The status quo discriminates against Jews. I’m glad there’s been a significant rise in the number of visitors on the Temple Mount.”
Turning to Glick, Minister Erdan said, “I think your victory, Yehuda, against those decrepit terrorists, is first of all the fact that more Jews are ascending the Temple Mount.” He added, “We believe that religion can be a source of reconciliation for people.”
Former MK Moshe Feiglin told the audience that “when we retreated in our hold on the Temple Mount, we retreated in our hold over the entire land.” He cited poet Uri Zvi Greenberg who wrote, “Whomever governs the mountain governs the land.”
Feiglin noted that when the nation lost its hold over the Temple mount, “we got the wave of knifings, we got a weakening of our hold on the rest of the neighborhood of Jerusalem, terrorist attacks in remote villages, rockets in Sderot, Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv, and our hold over the land continues to weaken.”
“Why the heck are we complaining against UNESCO who says we have no connection to the Mountain,” Feiglin asked, “when every Israeli government, especially this most recent one and especially this most recent prime minister are voting with their feet that we, indeed, have no ties to the mountain.”
Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) called for the speedy arrangement of of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and the sooner the better.
Conference speakers included Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein; Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin; Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel; Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely; and Sheikh Ahmad Riyadh.
A team of archaeologists revealed the existence of a 1000-year-old text, dated to the beginning of the Islamic era, which indicates that the Muslims perceived the Dome of the Rock as a reestablishment of the earlier Jewish Temple. They referred to it as “Bayt al-maqdis” in the inscription, which derives from the biblical Hebrew terminology as ‘Beit Hamikdash’, known as the Hebrew reference to the Holy Temple. This unique find is located in the central mosque at the village of Nuba, next to the city of Hebron. Its significance lies in the fact that it is dated to the early Islamic Period, and it sheds light on the sanctification process of Jerusalem and especially of the Temple Mount to the Muslems.
The text on the rock quotes:
“In the name of Allah, the merciful God This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty”
The village of Nuba is mentioned in the inscription text as an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis [The Holy Temple] and the al-Aqsa Mosque. The text also notes that the one who did the dedication was ̒Umar iben al-Khattab, the Arab ruler who conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantines in 638 AD.
Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the archeologists who presented the existence of the inscription last week in the Conference on ‘New studies in the archaeology of Jerusalem and its region’ that was held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that this text is, in fact, testimony that at least one of the names of the Dome of the Rock in the first centuries of Islam was “Bayt al-Maqdis” which preserves the Hebrew name “Beyt ha-Miqdash” (literally the “House of Sanctuary”).
“The choice to use the name ‘Bayt al-Maqdis’ was not original,” says Assaf Avraham. “Using this name derived from the deep influence of Jewish tradition on the development of Islam in its earliest days.” In an article that was published in the Conference pamphlet, early evidence was presented in the form of quotes by Moslem believers who, it appears, entered and prayed within a place of worship at the Temple Mount, which was named “Bayt al-Maqdis” For example:
“I would regularly pray with Ibn-Dahar in Bayt al-Maqdis, when he entered, he used to remove his shoes.” “Anyone who comes to Bayt al-Maqdiss only for the sake of praying inside it – is cleansed of all his sins.” “I entered Bayt al-Maqdis and saw a man taking longer than usual for his bows.” “The rock that is in Bayt al-Maqdis is the center of the entire universe.”
“Early Islamic literature shows that religious rituals were conducted within the Dome of the Rock at the beginning of the Islamic era” says Assaf; “These rituals were inspired by ancient traditions which took place within The Biblical Temple as is documented in the bible and in ancient Jewish literature”. An ancient Muslim source describes and stresses this point:
“Every Monday and Thursday morning the attendants enter the bath house to wash and purify themselves. They take off their clothes and put on a garment made of silk brocade embroidered with figures, and fasten tightly the girdle embellished with gold around their waists. And they rub the Rock over with perfume. Then the incense is put in censers of gold and silver. The gate-keepers lower the curtains so that the incense encircles the Rock entirely and the scent clings to it.”
These well documented and detailed procedures bear similarities to rituals that were practiced in the Jewish Temple, and were probably derived from them.
The Nuba inscription implies that the building of the Dome of the Rock marks the re-construction of the biblical Holy Temple, in essence, one of the most significant acts in the early history of Islam, a new world view that asked to glorify Jerusalem’s position as the world’s religious center for Islam.
When cross-referenced with other Muslim traditional literature of the time, it becomes clear that the Dome of the Rock’s structure was named Bayt Al-Maqdis in which prayers were conducted traditionally. It was the holiest structure within the Temple Mount and it was perceived as a renewed temple.
This unique revelation bears importance and relevance today considering Unesco’s latest resolution which ignores the Jewish affinity to the Temple mount.
The ninth annual conference on archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem and its environs that was held at the Hebrew University this week revealed the existence of an ancient Muslim inscription testifying to the fact that the original name of the Dome of the Rock, Qubbat al-Sakhrah, was “Beit al Maqdis” بيت المقدس — “Beit Hamikdash” in Hebrew, aka the Jewish Temple — during the early Muslim era, Makor Rishon reported Friday.
According to archaeologists Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the inscription is dated to the 10th century CE, about a thousand years ago. It is located above a mihrab-prayer niche inside an active mosque in the village of Nuba, located seven miles north-west of Hebron. It is unknown when it was placed there, but it certainly throws a fresh light on the process by which Jerusalem became holy to the Muslims and the inspiration that Islam drew from Jewish sources regarding the holiness of the Temple Mount compound and the Jewish temple that once stood at the spot where today stands the Dome of the Rock shrine.
“In the name of Allah, the merciful God This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty” Photo by: Assaf Avraham
Participants in the Jerusalem conference were particularly excited by this revelation in light of two recent UNESCO resolutions which disavowed any connection between Jewish history and the Temple Mount. One participant reminded the forum that the Mufti of Jerusalem already admitted that the Dome of the Rock stands on the same spot as Solomon’s Temple, “but here we have an archaeological find that proves it,” he said.
According to both researchers, in the early Muslim era the Dome of the Rock was the site of worship services that were influenced by the ceremonies of the Jerusalem Temple: cleansing, incense, anointing the Foundation Stone with oil and surrounding it with curtains inspired by the divine parochet. The shrine, built around the Foundation Stone, just like the two Jewish Temples, was completed in 691 CE, by an architect named Yazid Ibn Salam, who was either Jewish himself or had Jewish aides.
There is a theory that Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik originally had the Dome of the Rock built as a shrine for the Jews, while Al Aqsa, the mosque on the southern end of the Temple Mount, was built for Muslims.
There is a trend where Muslims have recently begun referring to the entire Temple Mount compound, which they also call al-Haram ash-Sharif (“The Noble Compound”), as Al Aqsa.
A rare and important find was exposed in an enforcement operation initiated by the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery: a document written on papyrus and dating to the time of the First Temple (seventh century BCE) in which the name of the city of Jerusalem is clearly indicated. This is the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing.
The document, which was illicitly plundered from one of the Judaean Desert caves by a band of antiquities robbers and was seized in a complex operation by the IAA’s agents, was presented at a press conference Wednesday.
Two lines of ancient Hebrew script were preserved on the document that is made of papyrus (paper produced from the pith of the papyrus plant [Cyperus papyrus]). A paleographic examination of the letters and a C14 analysis determined that the artifact should be dated to the seventh century BCE – to the end of the First Temple period. Most of the letters are clearly legible, and the proposed reading of the text appears as follows:
This is a rare and original shipping document from the time of the First Temple, indicating the payment of taxes or transfer of goods to storehouses in Jerusalem, the capital city of the kingdom at this time. The document specifies the status of the sender of the shipment (the king’s maidservant), the name of the settlement from which the shipment was dispatched (Naʽarat), the contents of the vessels (wine), their number or amount (jars) and their destination (Jerusalem). Naʽartah, which is mentioned in the text, is the same Naʽarat that is referred to in the description of the border between Ephraim and Benjamin in Joshua 16:7: “And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naʽarat, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.”
The document is preserved in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls laboratories.
According to Dr. Eitan Klein, deputy director of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, “the document represents extremely rare evidence of the existence of an organized administration in the Kingdom of Judah. It underscores the centrality of Jerusalem as the economic capital of the kingdom in the second half of the seventh century BCE. According to the Bible, the kings Menashe, Amon, or Josiah ruled in Jerusalem at this time; however, it is not possible to know for certain which of the kings of Jerusalem was the recipient of the shipment of wine”.
Israel Prize laureate and biblical scholar Prof. (Emeritus) Shmuel Ahituv attests to the scientific importance of the document, saying, “It’s not just that this papyrus is the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing; it is the fact that to date no other documents written on papyrus dating to the First Temple period have been discovered in Israel, except one from Wadi Murabbaʽat. Also outstanding in the document is the unusual status of a woman in the administration of the Kingdom of Judah in the seventh century BCE.”
With the help of volunteers during the past year the Israel Antiquities Authority has been conducting an archaeological excavation in search of ancient artifacts in the Cave of the Skulls in the Judaean Desert.
According to Israel Hasson, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the discovery of the papyrus shows that there are other artifacts of tremendous importance to our heritage that are waiting to be found in the Judaean Desert caves. The world’s heritage assets are being plundered on a daily basis by antiquities robbers solely for greed. The state has to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to embark upon a historic operation together with the public, and carry out systematic excavations in all of the Judaean Desert caves.”
Amir Ganor, director of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery explained that “organic material, such as documents, particularly delicate paper like papyrus, perish over time due to their sensitivity to moisture. The dry climate of the desert is exceptional in that it facilitates the preservation of documents that provide invaluable information regarding the way of life in antiquity and the early development of religions. The rarity of the finds and their importance are the reasons why the antiquities robbers risk their lives coming to dig in the caves in the desert cliffs. I am glad that we were fortunate to have a role in saving the papyrus, which is an important and special find that bears witness to the historical relationship between the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, and the Jewish people.”
According to Pnina Shor, curator and director of the Dead Sea Scrolls project at the IAA, “this unique papyrus joins the thousands of scroll fragments for which the Israel Antiquities Authority established dedicated conservation and photographic laboratories where the scrolls are treated using highly sophisticated means and the most advanced documentation and photographic technology available today. With a state-of-the-art camera that was developed based on technology used by NASA which records the Dead Sea Scrolls at a level that replicates the original, it is even possible to see the texture of the plant, skin or parchment on which the ancient documents were written.”
Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev said in a statement: “The discovery of the papyrus on which the name of our capital Jerusalem is written is further tangible evidence that Jerusalem was and will remain the eternal capital of the Jewish people. It is our duty to take care of the plundering of antiquities that occurs in the Judean Desert, and no less important than this is exposing the deceit of false propaganda as is once again happening today in UNESCO. The Temple Mount, the very heart of Jerusalem and Israel, will remain the holiest place for the Jewish people, even if UNESCO ratifies the false and unfortunate decision another ten times.”
They mention (correctly) that the resolution affrims “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,” which presumably includes Judaism.
However, in regard to the Temple Mount itself, the resolution says the “Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, as reflected in the historic status quo, [is] a Muslim holy site of worship.”
Silverstein (who refers to the site as “the Haram” exclusively and falsely claims “When I was last in Israel in 1980, I visited the Haram and it was a peaceful place of worship for all who visited, including Jews)* argues that the resolution “simply doesn’t address the issue” of Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Ah, but it does – by omission.
Because the resolution refers to two other “Palestinian” holy sites, the Ma’arat HaMachpelah and Kever Rochel. And in both of those cases, while it mentions their Arabic titles first, it does identify them as the “Tomb of the Patriarchs” and “Rachel’s Tomb.” And it specifically says that both of those sites “are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”
Clearly, the authors of the resolution are not denying the Jewish ties to those holy sites, even if they minimize those ties.
Given that, the lack of mentioning any Jewish (or Christian) connection to the Temple Mount, and the refusal to use any other name but the Muslim names for the site, are clearly deliberate and an attempt to frame the site as exclusively Muslim and having nothing to do with Judaism.