Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Temple Mount: Herod; Waqf; PA; Etc.

Robert Eisenman (author of James the Brother of Jesus and The Dead Sea Scrolls, Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University Long Beach) published a piece in the JPost. It is entitled

Remember, the Temple was built by Herod

and it has this:

The Temple, over which we now see such weekly struggles, was built by Herod who, for all intents and purposes, was not Jewish. He had not an ounce of Jewish blood in him...The Temple itself, which he began early in his reign in the 20s BCE, was not finished until shortly before its fall in 70 CE. Herod in fact was a typical Arab potentate, combining the worst qualities of a latter-day Saddam Hussein and the harem aspects of the House of Saud.

Herod expanded the existing Temple, first constructed by Ezra and renewed by the Hasmoneans. It wasn't a new Temple. What is Eisenman trying to prove?

Well, he also deals in theologY and political ideology:

the rabbis, experts at non-territorial leadership, cannot provide - almost by definition - leadership in a territorial situation. Now, in the face of the seemingly miraculous Jewish regaining of the Temple Mount in 1967, their bans for or against walking on the Temple Mount smack of quaintness and out-of-touch or even self-serving unreality. One is not walking upon anything there except perhaps Herod's Temple...The Western Wall with all its familiar comfort is nothing but stones set down by the destroyer of the Jewish people and its royal family...

...We need a new approach to religion if, for instance, we are to combat the J Streets, Goldstones or George Soroses of this world, not to mention appealing to the imagination of questioning disaffected youth; and the first step should have been to start rebuilding the Temple....Moshe Dayan was wrong in ordering the Israeli flag taken down, in effect, surrendering sovereignty and giving the Muslim Wakf control over the Temple Mount. No self-respecting people after two victorious wars would have behaved in this way. But he had no guideposts to rely upon, only egocentrism and his own pragmatism - plus he loved the grande geste...The reconstruction of a Temple - any Temple - should have begun 40 years ago and we would be well on our way toward achieving these things...People need positive symbols to rally around. The time is late. There is plenty of room on the Mount for everyone...
Hmm, now that is an interesting approach.

- - - - -

And here's an example of sloppy argumentation by another writer, Orly Noy:

Thus, the entry of a group of visitors to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif a month ago, on the eve of Yom Kippur, ignited a wave of violent riots that went on for days and caused injuries among the demonstrators and policemen alike.

Excuse me? What ignited the wave of violence?

Her chronology is off. It was Salah Raad who initiated the inflammatory atmosphere by continuing, as he has done for years, to make up fantasies, stoke his followers with hatred based on fallacies and prime them.


The Palestinian Authority was behind violent clashes on the Temple Mount today that left 24 people wounded hours before the start of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, according to both Israeli security sources and a source inside the PA...Israeli security officials told WND they have specific information that Ahmed Rweihi, the chief of the PA's so-called Jerusalem unit, was in touch with demonstration leaders at the Temple Mount the past few days and personally incited today's violence. An official in the PA, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not deny Rweihi helped incite the clashes...

and also this:-

Riots on the Temple Mount were orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority, which maintained an operations room from which its officials guided the violence, Jerusalem police sources told WND.

The sources said the PA manned the operations room with the Islamic Movement, a Muslim fundamentalist organization involved in Temple Mount activism. The intelligence unit of the Jerusalem police discovered the room Sunday, the same day as the clashes, the police sources said.

Information from the room's discovery led to the arrest on the mount of PA President Mahmoud Abbas' top adviser on Jerusalem affairs, Hatam Abd al-Qadir, on suspicion of disorderly conduct, the police sources told WND. Police said al-Qadir, detained during the clashes, attacked officers and urged worshipers to hold protests.

And this:-

...A number of provocations and inciting statements, called for violence, totally fabricated any Israeli step or intent. These violent incitements began, on 27 September, without any connection to recent events in this hall, contrary to claims made by some. Individuals gathered and threw rocks and other projectiles from the area around the mosques on the Temple Mount, and a number of locations in East Jerusalem. All of this was met by extreme restraint by Israeli police and officials. Regular contact, consultations and updates were held with officials from Egypt and Jordan in order to ensure calm.

Haaretz has this:

According to legislator Hathem Abdel Kader and other Palestinian sources, the clash erupted in the early morning when Palestinians inside the complex - sacred to both Islam and Judaism - saw a group of 15 religious Jews trying to enter.

The Jews never managed to get into the complex, because several hundred Palestinians, who were on alert for such a possibility, began a loud protest.

And here is a good recent background overview.

But the start actually began with a news item about an archaeological discovery on September 14, 2009

Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists have been excavating a stepped street south of the Temple Mount, believed to have been the path used by pilgrims during Second Temple times to ascend to the holy site. The path connects the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount.

The City of David excavation, financed by the Elad foundation in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, is being jointly led by Haifa University archaeologist Prof. Roni Reich and IAA archaeologist Eli Shukrun.

"[This is] where Second Temple pilgrims began their ascent by foot," Prof. Reich said.
"This is the southern tip of the street, a section of which is exposed along the western side of the Temple Mount.

That was picked up by Salah Raad as well as far-out radical Jewish elements like, like, oh, Orly is "an outreach coordinator at Ir Amim. She is a long-time social change activist". Ah, Ir Amim, that radical left-wing anti-"Jerusalem as Israel's one and united eternal capital" group that collaborates with Arab designs.

Yes, someone like that.

1 comment:

Suzanne Pomeranz said...

Actually, Herod's father, an Idumean living in the Valley of Elah, was forcibly converted under Hasmonean rule, but it is strongly believed that those converts became "good Jews". And Herod, while "not Jewish under Halachah", considered himself Jewish.

Of course, while the Temple was built by Jews, it was never intended to be a strictly "Jewish Temple", but, according to the prophet Isaiah, a "house of prayer for all nations."