Monday, August 31, 2015

Temple Mount unrest

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: On Temple Mount, some see a dome and imagine an altar. More and more religious Jews are visiting the holy site, part of a movement defying a centuries-old rabbinic ban and stoking tension with Muslims who also lay claim to the esplanade (ELHANAN MILLER, Times of Israel).
The night before she visited Temple Mount for the first time last year, Aviya Fraenkel was so excited she couldn’t sleep a wink.

“I remember climbing the Mughrabi Bridge [leading to the Temple Mount] and seeing the Western Wall beneath me, so small, and and all these different Jews way down there,” Fraenkel told The Times of Israel recently, standing at the bottom of the same bridge and waiting to enter. “You ask yourself: ‘Hold on, what was I doing down there all these years? It just isn’t interesting. I’m up here now!’ That’s a feeling you can never take back.”

“We still go to the Western Wall and love it, but you suddenly realize the difference. Why settle for so little? Why settle for imitations when we have the real thing?”

Fraenkel, a 29-year-old doctoral student in Assyriology and Bible studies at Bar-Ilan University, is part of a new revival movement sweeping Israel’s national religious community. Defying a centuries-old rabbinical ban on entering the 35-acre compound — considered the holiest site in Judaism where the first and second temples stood — Fraenkel, who created a special tour guides’ course last summer tailored for Temple Mount visitors, now tries to go up every week.

“It was brewing in me for many years,” Fraenkel recalled. “So I took the ritual bath and went up. I can’t completely explain it. Part of it has to do with the belief that there’s a next stage, that our ideals aren’t limited to a state — which is a lot — but that the state must manifest our religious yearnings of the past 2,000 years.”

Aviya Fraenkel, a volunteer tour guide on Temple Mount, stands in Jerusalem's Old City following a visit to the site, August 25, 2015 (Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)
Aviya Fraenkel, a volunteer tour guide on Temple Mount, stands in Jerusalem’s Old City following a visit to the site, August 25, 2015 (Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

“I’ve made a decision that my Judaism isn’t just about the past, it’s an expectation for the future,” she said. “I’m tired of apologizing about this. If others want to apologize, they’re free to do so.”

Fraenkel is not alone. ...
This article documents a lot of Jewish unrest regarding the current political status quo on the Temple Mount. It concludes:
“Our ultimate goal on Temple Mount is to build the Third Temple and renew sacrifices,” he said. “It’s not a distant goal but an aspiration. First we need to accompany the people and help them understand the significance of the place.”

But what about the Dome of the Rock, a monumental structure build by the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik in the year 691 over the Foundation Stone, where Jews and Muslims believe the earth was created?

[Student activist Elishama] Sandman replied with a metaphor.

“If a burglar entered your home and told you that you don’t own it, you wouldn’t think about getting along with him,” he said. “You’d remove him and take the place. It’s the same here: the people of Israel own this place and it’s not our duty to consider those who stole it from us.”
We don't need any destruction of ancient monuments on the the Temple Mount, ever, for any reason. Leave that sort of thing to ISIS. I hope Mr. Sandman agrees, but his comments, at least as quoted here, could be taken differently and he needs to say it.

Related thoughts here and links.