Israel’s Beating Heart: By Moshe Feiglin
The Temple Mount is the most holy place on earth. It is the place chosen by the G-d of Israel from which to rest His Divine Presence throughout the world. This is the place that connects the physical with the metaphysical; the place where Adam was created and Isaac was bound. It is the place where life and the Nation of Israel were fashioned, the place where our First and Second Temples stood. Just as most of the prophecies about the Return to Zion have already miraculously been fulfilled, so the rest of them will be realized. When the time comes, our Third Temple will dwell on the Temple Mount for eternity.
The Temple Mount is the beating heart of the Land of Israel. Famous Israeli poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg accurately described the Temple Mount as the yardstick of Israeli sovereignty in the entire Land. When we lose our hold on the Mount, the heart becomes ill; circulation weakens and the organs suffer. When Israel transfers control of the Mount to the Jordanian wakf, Jerusalem becomes divided once again and Israel’s cities become the target of missiles – a scenario that nobody would have imagined just a few years ago. There is a direct connection between the abandonment of the Temple Mount and the deterioration of the legitimacy for the very existence of a Jewish State anywhere in the Land of Israel. This approach has reared its head in the most respected and enlightened states.
When with our actions we declare that we have no connection to the Temple Mount, the world says the same at UNESCO. And when the world says it, the legitimacy of our hold on the Land is lost. When we lose the legitimacy of our hold on the Land, it becomes legitimate to attack us and illegitimate for Israel to defend herself. Surrender of the Temple Mount does not prevent war; it incites it.
The “strategy” of Israeli administrations since the Six Day War has been to evade the actualization of Israeli sovereignty on the Mount and to pass on the “problem” to future generations. This “strategy” has brought about a continued depreciation in Jerusalem’s status, to its essential re-division and to the transfer of most of the sovereignty at the heart Israel’s capital – on the Temple Mount – to the Jordanian wakf. Today, places in East Jerusalem where Jewish children used to play safely are now void of Jews; it is impossible to build a home in Jerusalem without the personal authorization of the Prime Minister and UNESCO is turning Israel’s practical policy into a principled international decision, determining that there is no connection between Israel and the Temple Mount.
The decision to give the keys to the Mount to the Moslems immediately upon its liberation was cited as diplomatic insight and the “realpolitik” acumen of Six Day War Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. But the truth is that Dayan’s actions were not born of necessity; it was his strategy. Prior to that, in the War of Independence, a planned strategy brought about the fall of the Jewish Quarter and the loss of an opportunity to liberate the Temple Mount and Judea and Samaria. Before the Six Day War, Dayan (and the minsters of the National Religious Party) were against liberating the Old City. Even Paratrooper Division Commander Mota Gur, who conquered the Temple Mount, was sure that it would shortly return to Jordan.
Israeli-ness did not want the “whole Vatican” – in the words of Moshe Dayan. Religious-ness also didn’t want the Mount, which returns the Torah from the personal-religion dimension of the Exile to the national-culture dimension. This is the deep reason for today’s ultra-Orthodox opposition to the return of Jews to the Temple Mount. There is nothing more anti-“religious” and anti-exile than the Temple and the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem is a reflection of the identity conflict raging within Israeli society. It is the conflict between Israeli identity and Jewish identity. The Mount was abandoned by Israel and Jerusalem is being divided because the Israeli/Religious identity is fleeing the return to the Jewish/cultural identities. The return to the Mount is the connection between those cultures.
The Arabs are not the reason; they are simply the means in this internal conflict. Jerusalem does not appear even once in the Koran. When the Moslems are on the Mount, they bow southward to Mecca and turn their backsides to the Dome of the Rock and the site of the Holy of Holies.
Israel sanctifies the Mount to the Moslems so that it can run away from itself. The result is the loss of the bedrock foundation for the justification of our existence in the entire Land of Israel – and the turning of humanity against us. By sanctifying the Mount for the Moslems, Israel brings war upon itself.