Ending the Assault on History

Jews' connection to the Temple Mount is deep and inextricable, despite some Palestinians' attempts to deny it.

Among the casualties of the ongoing Arab uprising against Israel has beensomething very dear to all cultivated people, and to cultivated Jews inparticular: History.

Whether out of cowardice or something darker, a number of journalists havelately 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 athousand years before Islam's founder's grandparents were even glints intheir own parents' eyes.

It is not only the antiquity of the Mount's connection to the Jewish peoplethat is trenchant here, but its intensity as well. Even after the Templeand its successor had been destroyed by foreign armies, Jews the world overcontinued--and continue--to venerate the significance of the site, prayingin its direction and (at least the Orthodox among us) for the Temple'srestoration by the hand of God.

The Islamic bond to the Mount is of much more recent appearance and fairlynewfound intensity. Over the many years Jerusalem was in Arab hands, nomajor Arab leader ever saw fit to even visit her, much less proclaim her acentral spot in the collective Arab heart.

Yet much of the press feels compelled to treat the Mount's Jewish roots andIslamic ones as equally deep and equally real. A recent example was NewYork Times' correspondent Joel Greenberg's characterization of the site asthat "of the First and Second Temples of the ancient Jews, sacred to Muslimsas the Noble Sanctuary, where Muhammad ascended to Heaven."

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A subtle but astounding indignity lies in that clumsy attempt at politicalcorrectness.

That Jewish Holy Temples stood on the spot in question is historical fact,part of the unbroken millennia-old historical tradition of the Jewish peopleand corroborated by historians ancient and modern alike. To equate thathistorical 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 everleft the Arabian Peninsula, nothing but sectarian legend behind the claimthat he did.

Why then is Greenberg speaking of the existence of theTemples and the "night flight" in, so to speak, the same breath?

That Arab and Islamic leaders and writers, sadly, have demonstrated uttercontempt for inconvenient facts of history is well documented. Theyregularly deny the fact of the Holocaust, and assert that Jews murdernon-Jews to gather their blood for Passover matzos (a recent such accusationappeared only recently in Al-Ahram, Egypt's leading newspaper and agovernment organ).

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