There is, however, one part of core Jerusalem that Israel will eventually have to give up to, namely, the Temple Mount, even though it is certainly a sacred Jewish site. Fortunately, though (at least in the eyes of all those who are not anxious to see the ancient temple restored and herds of animals led to it for daily sacrifice), it is also the site of the El-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and felt even more strongly about by religious Muslims than it is by religious Jews. If Israel is ever to arrive at an understanding with the Muslim world, this will have to be one that places the Temple Mount — as it in any case is de facto even today — in Muslim hands.
In this respect, the decision this week of a large group of Orthodox rabbis to reverse previous rulings forbidding Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount for fear of treading on the site of the Holy of Holies in a ritually impure state is to be regretted. Even more regrettable is the apparent intention of this group and others to work in the long run for the building of a Jewish synagogue on the Mount. If anything could throw a match into the tinderbox of Jewish-Muslim relations in Israel and the world, it is this.
One needn't accept the contention of ultra-Orthodox Jews that the state of Israel is a sinful attempt to enter the messianic age prematurely in order to understand the value of nevertheless postponing certain things for the Messiah — the rebuilding of the Temple among them. Until then, Jews have enough synagogues to pray in without erecting another in the worst possible place it could be in.
Well, I left this comment there:-
Hillel Halkin is entitled to his opinion about whether the Temple Mount should or should not be surrendered by Israel. That I do not begrudge him. It is his logic and his ignoring of a few facts.
The Muslim religious trust authority, the Waqf, together with the most radical of Muslim forces in Israel, the Islamic Movement (North), led by Sheikh Ra'ad Salah, has, since, the mid 1990s, been actively engaged in increasing the acts of destruction of Jewish aritfacts and remains, on the one hand, and the building of Muslim structures (two new underground mosques and a reputed fifth minaret, contributed by Jordan).
That Israeli authorities studiously ignore these acts and that the world pays no attention has nothing to do with Jewish prayer or other religious obligations towards the Temple Mount is obvious. It is a political question of simple respect that one people should have to another. If, after 40 years, these acts continue, it is only that Israel, a la Halkin, has attempted to minimize any Jewish identification with the site.
Prayer is banned. Psalm saying is prohibited. Overtly Jewish appearance is restrained. But there is no status quo and Jewish interests, entirely of a historical, cultural and scientific character are endangered and injured. Whereas Israel archeologists were willing to fight over Section G at David's City in the 1980s, having police horses ride over protesting ultra-Orthodox Jews, no archeologist insists on any excavation within the Temple Mount.
This attitude, backed up by the courts who refuse to apply the secular law of the land to protect a citizen's civil rights and liberties, is what encouraging further Muslim uncivilized behavior. And, I maintain, this is what motivates them to continue to fight Israel, using the most horrendous acts of terror in doing so.
There is no way that Halkin's solution can defuse the Islamic opposition to Zionism and Israel but, rather, his suggested kowtowing to Islam at the location where Jewish primacy is so obvious is what will prove to be inimical to the idea of Jewish nationalism.