OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Why do Israel’s enemies deny a Jewish link to the Temple Mount? 

The answer is that truth has no value for those using the technique perfected by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels—The Big Lie.

The Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 3, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
The Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, Jan. 3, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Jason Shvili
Jason Shvili
Jason Shvili is a contributing editor at Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

“Al-Sharif [the Arabic/Muslim name for Jerusalem’s Temple Mount] belongs exclusively to the Muslims,” proclaimed Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly on May 15.

Notwithstanding a preponderance of biblical, historical and archeological evidence, Abbas, UNESCO and other Israel-haters steadfastly deny any Jewish connection whatsoever to the Temple Mount.

Although Israel recognizes centuries of Arab-Muslim presence in the Holy Land, research provides overwhelming proof of a millennia-old Jewish history in the region, with a locus on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. 

This is where King Solomon built the First Temple in 957 BCE. It’s where the Second Temple was built in 515 BCE. And it’s where the New Testament tells us that Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers. 

Indeed, the Bible makes many references to the First and Second Temples. They are also referred to in numerous other religious texts, including the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

In addition, countless non-religious, historical sources mention the Temples. Ironically, while prominent Arab and Muslim figures today reject any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, many Arab and Muslim historical accounts prove them wrong.

Archeological evidence also proves the existence of the Temples—especially that found in and around the Temple Mount—despite efforts of current Muslim authorities to prevent archeologists from examining the holy site. 

Why, in the face of mountainous evidence substantiating two Jewish temples on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount—known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary)—do Israel’s enemies persist in the bogus claim that Jews have no connection to the site? 

Enemies of Israel’s existence lie about Jewish connections to the Holy Land—and especially Jews’ 3,000-year history of worshipping on the Temple Mount—because they seek to delegitimize the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Ultimately, the Palestinians seek to establish exclusive Arab and Muslim control over the Temple Mount— and Jerusalem itself.

Sacred texts extensively describe the Jewish Temples that once stood on the Temple Mount. Indeed, the Hebrew and Christian bibles, as well as the Mishnah and Midrash, confirm the Jewish Temples in Jerusalem. Even the Koran refers to them, despite attempts by current Muslim leaders to deny their existence. 

The Hebrew Bible outlines plans for the First Temple in Chronicles I, for example, which mentions the measurements of the First Temple: “The length by cubits after the ancient measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.” 

The Christian Bible refers to the Second Temple, especially how Jesus predicted that it would be destroyed. According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

In addition, the Koran refers to the existence of the Temples in Sura 17:7, a passage that describes how God punished the people of Israel for their misdeeds by allowing their enemies “to enter your [the Jews’] Temple as they had entered it before, and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power.”

A dozen Islamic hadiths—sayings of Muhammad—also reference the Temples.

The Jewish Temples are also chronicled in numerous secular historical writings, such as those of Josephus. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (36-100 CE), in the time of the Roman Empire’s occupation of Israel, wrote The Jewish Wars. In it, he describes how the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, during the Great Jewish Revolt: “As the flames shot into the air the Jews sent up a cry that matched the calamity and dashed to the rescue, with no thought now of saving their lives or husbanding their strength; for that which hitherto they had guarded so devotedly was disappearing before their eyes.”

The writings of many non-Jewish historians also describe the Temples. Several figures wrote accounts of the Temples in the first-century CE alone, including the Roman statesman Cicero; Strabo, a Greek geographer; Tacitus, a Roman historian; and Plutarch, a Greek historian. 

The Temples are even spoken of at length by Muslim historians. One such historian, Muhammad ibn Jair al-Tabari, describes how Caliph Omar, the first Muslim leader to conquer Jerusalem, decided not to build a mosque on the site of the Jewish Temple. 

Surprisingly, the Islamic Waqf, which now administers the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, has also confirmed the existence of the Jewish Temples. The Waqf’s guidebook, “A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Jerusalem,” published in 1925, reads, “Its (the Temple Mount’s) identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” No matter: Today the Waqf utterly denies any Jewish connection to the Mount.

Finally, despite the Waqf’s efforts to prevent archeological research on the Temple Mount, the Temples’ existence in Jerusalem is confirmed by irrefutable artifacts.

Several ancient objects from the Temple period have been discovered, including the Seals of Isaiah and King Hezekiah, from the eighth century BCE; the High Priest’s golden bell, dating back to the Second Temple period; and the Temple Warning Inscriptions, prohibiting foreigners from entering the area of the Second Temple.

In the face of such massive evidence from countless sources over thousands of years, how can Israel’s enemies—as Mahmoud Abbas attempted recently at the UN General Assembly—assert that Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel and the Temple Mount?

The answer is that truth has no value for those using the technique perfected by Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels—called The Big Lie. The Big Lie involves telling the same falsehood repeatedly, until people begin to believe it. In short, those who lie in the face of all known evidence have no respect for truth—they are shameless. 

Denying the Jews’ connection to the Temple Mount, despite overwhelming evidence confirming that connection, is a desperate, futile effort to delegitimize the State of Israel by those who wish to destroy the Jewish nation. We who love Israel have confidence that truth will prevail. 

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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