Ending the Assault on History
Jews' connection to the Temple Mount is deep and inextricable, despite some Palestinians' attempts to deny it.
BY: Rabbi Avi Shafran
Among the casualties of the ongoing Arab uprising against Israel has been something very dear to all cultivated people, and to cultivated Jews in particular: History.
Whether out of cowardice or something darker, a number of journalists have lately come to refer to Jerusalem's Temple Mount by its Islamic name, despite the fact that the site was where Solomon's temple stood more than a thousand years before Islam's founder's grandparents were even glints in their own parents' eyes.
It is not only the antiquity of the Mount's connection to the Jewish people that is trenchant here, but its intensity as well. Even after the Temple and its successor had been destroyed by foreign armies, Jews the world over continued--and continue--to venerate the significance of the site, praying in its direction and (at least the Orthodox among us) for the Temple's restoration by the hand of God.
The Islamic bond to the Mount is of much more recent appearance and fairly newfound intensity. Over the many years Jerusalem was in Arab hands, no major Arab leader ever saw fit to even visit her, much less proclaim her a central spot in the collective Arab heart.
Yet much of the press feels compelled to treat the Mount's Jewish roots and Islamic ones as equally deep and equally real. A recent example was New York Times' correspondent Joel Greenberg's characterization of the site as that "of the First and Second Temples of the ancient Jews, sacred to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, where Muhammad ascended to Heaven."
A subtle but astounding indignity lies in that clumsy attempt at political correctness.
That Jewish Holy Temples stood on the spot in question is historical fact, part of the unbroken millennia-old historical tradition of the Jewish people and corroborated by historians ancient and modern alike. To equate that historical truth with a legend is simply beyond bizarre.
The founder of Islam may or may not have traveled to heaven, or elsewhere, from Jerusalem; but there is certainly no historical evidence that he ever left the Arabian Peninsula, nothing but sectarian legend behind the claim that he did.