Proof That the Temple Mount is Jewish

I am not here to argue history or tradition.

Sammy Benoit,

OpEds guest
Arutz 7
Everyday there are more stories and more protests about Israel trying to "Judaize" the area around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The sheikhs, the Waqf - all are trying to politicize what was originally the place of the two Jewish holy Temples.

I have even read with curiosity how European foreign ministers and press reporters with
To me, Jerusalem felt like home.
Christian backgrounds describe the site as "what the Jewish people say was the location of the holy Temples." I wonder, when those folks go to church on Sunday, do they argue with their priests and ministers to change the gospels? Because the man that they believe was the son of G-d went to that Temple Mount three times a year.

But folks, I am not here to argue history or tradition - no jokes about the Muslims mooning the Temple Mount when they pray (although it’s true). No discussion about how Moshe Dayan was the villain of the Mount, etc. I don't have to argue about ownership, because I have been there. And, as corny as it may sound to anyone who has never been there, I felt the presence of G-d at the Temple Mount.

All my life, I had an overwhelming desire to go to the Mount. I never understood that urge until I stood in its presence about two years ago, when my family and I finally took a trip to Israel. My wife had been there before, but it was the first time for the rest of us.

As soon as we drove through the hills and I got my my first look at Jerusalem, I felt comfortable in my surroundings. To me, Jerusalem felt like home, despite the fact that I had never been there in my life. I knew where to go and how to get around without looking at a map. There were times that I would say I had a shortcut to where we needed to go and my wife, who had been there before, would tell me I was crazy (true, but irrelevant). I was always correct. Everywhere I went, I knew where we were and its relation to the Temple Mount. And to be honest, the lure of the Temple site was stronger in Israel than ever before.

At this point, anyone Jewish reading this who has never been to Israel is probably calling for the guy with the straitjacket to take me away. But ask someone who has been there, someone who believes in HaShem, and see if they feel any different.

On our second day in Jerusalem, we were finally going to the Kotel and the Temple Mount. The whole family got up early, I packed up my tallit and t'fillin and took off into the Old City. Yossi, our wonderful guide, took us all over the Old City. He knew how important going to the Kotel was for me; yet, rather than go directly to it, he teased me with, "It's right over that wall.... We will see this movie first.... Let's go to the Burnt House...." etc. I was getting very frustrated, but he was masterfully building up my expectations.

Finally, we walked down the wooden stairway and through the gate of the Kotel Plaza. I was overwhelmed by emotions that I had never felt before.

All my life I felt a longing to go to the Kotel - and I finally knew why. You see, everywhere else you go in Israel, you feel the presence of all that has gone on before you - David HaMelech, Avraham, the tribes, the two kingdoms, and on and on. That is about culture and history. When you visit the Kotel, it is about G-d. It is about being able to feel the lingering presence of the Shekhinah that has been gone for two thousand years.

That's when I learned that the dispute over the Temple Mount was all political, all about delegitimizing the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Because I was there.

With my ten-year-old son holding my bag, I celebrated my life-long dream. I wrapped the t'fillin around my arm and on my head, wrapped my tallit around my son and me, and prayed to G-d.

But it wasn't just praying at the Kotel. Those words of Hebrew seemed to have meaning like never before. I was connecting. Connecting with the G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. That "urge" I had felt all my life was more like an invitation from my Maker: "Come visit so we can talk." While G-d is everywhere, for some reason only a rabbi can explain, I could feel His presence much stronger at the Temple Mount.
I was connecting... with the G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.

That's it. That's my proof. Nothing scientific, nothing that will work in a court of law or in an international dispute. I felt a strong connection to the Lord at the Kotel. There is not another place in the entire would that has even come close.

If kneeling on a prayer mat and facing Mecca was the correct way to pray at the Temple Mount, then why did I feel the connection I did?

If you doubt me, then I urge you to pack up your prayer tools and take a trip to Jerusalem. When you arrive, go to the Kotel, put on your tallit and t'fillin, and feel that connection for yourself. I guarantee it will change you forever.

But do it very fast, because the prime minister of Israel wants to give it away.