As an Arab bulldozer continues to dig away at the current Temple Mount floor, evidence is mounting that actual walls from the Second Temple are being destroyed. The world is silent, while Prime Minister Olmert continues talks with the Palestinian Authority regarding future sovereignty over the holy area.
The actual digging, under the auspices of the Moslem Waqf [religious trust to which Israel has assigned responsibility for the Temple Mount - ed.], has been ongoing for several weeks. Only over the past 8-10 days, however, has attention been paid to the dangers of the barely supervised works. The Waqf claims that the purpose of the 400-meter-long, 1.5-meter deep trench is to replace electric cables in the area.
Discarding a Temple Wall, Piece by Piece
For the Jews, however, the trench represents more than just better lighting. Under the current floor of the Temple Mount compound lie the remains of the Second Holy Temple, largely untouched since it was destroyed by the Romans nearly 1,950 years ago. For pieces of one of the Temple courtyard office walls to be unceremoniously bulldozed up and discarded - as archaeologists such as Drs. Eilat Mazar and Gavriel Barkai believe has happened - is all but traumatic for Jews who have been praying for centuries to see the Temple rebuilt.
A week ago, Temple expert Dr. Gavriel Barkai told Arutz-7 that according to his, and others', calculations, the route of the trench passes precisely through the spot where one or more of the office walls stood the day of the Roman destruction.
"Some man-worked stones have been found in the trench," Barkai said at a press conference last week, "as well as remnants of a wall that, according to all our estimations, are from a structure in one of the outer courtyards in the Holy Temple."
Shortly afterwards, Dr. Mazar examined a photo of the trench, clearly showing a chopped-up carved stone. Mazar said the damaged stone displays elements of the Second Temple era, and might well be part of the Jewish Temple. She says she needs to view it up close; but the Waqf does not allow her to do so.
Waqf Stops TV Crew
In fact, the Waqf is so protective of the dig and its finds that it has tried to stop all photographing of the area. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute reported that his camera was confiscated before he was allowed to visit the site this week, and WND's Aaron Klein and an InfoLive.TV camera crew were prevented from taking pictures of the dig on Thursday.
Waqf guards backed up by the Israeli police stopped Klein and InfoLive.TV from approaching open sections of the trench, and told Klein he could only film closed areas. Sections of the massive trench were being closed up with dirt before archeologists were able to inspect the site.
Footage of the Klein-InfoLive team being barred from filming can be seen here.
Israel's Antiquities Authority, apparently by order of Prime Minister Olmert, has not demanded an end to the construction work, and has stationed only one employee there to "supervise." The construction is underway while reports abound of a deal between Olmert and PA leader Abbas regarding a future handover of eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, to the PA.
It appears that only archaeologists and Temple activists in Jerusalem are incensed. "If Israel was building a shopping mall," said Rabbi Richman, "and they found what might be an ancient Buddhist structure, the government would stop the construction and have archaeologists go over the area with a fine tooth comb."
"But here," he continued, speaking with WND, "the holiest site in Judaism is being damaged, a Temple wall was found, and Israel is actively blocking experts from inspecting the site while allowing the destruction to continue."
Richman charged the Waqf with "trying to erase Jewish vestiges from the Temple Mount," in keeping with the claim by many Moslems that the Temple never actually existed.
"This is an extraordinarily serious offense," Richman told Arutz-7. "A corrupt, spiritually bankrupt government is allowing Judaism's holiest site to be trashed... Jews in Israel and abroad are asleep, and have not awakened to the importance of the Temple in Judaism or the desecration of this holy site being performed daily by the Waqf."
Islamic Connection to Jerusalem - Weak
Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Moshe Sasson, an expert on Islamic affairs, summed up for Arutz-7 the exact nature of Islam's connection to Jerusalem: "The Caliph Abd El-Malik, when he moved his center of power from Damascus to Jerusalem, sought to build up the importance of Jerusalem as an Islamic center, and built the mosques there. The Al Aksa mosque was built 621 years after Mohammed's death. Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran (it is mentioned 667 times in the Bible), and the Al Aksa mosque is mentioned only once - and even that is not a reference to the mosque of today. In verse 1 of chapter 17, the Koran states that Allah transported Mohammed from Mecca to Al-Aksa; but this cannot be referring to the mosque in Jerusalem, because when Mohammed was alive, there were no mosques there. Rather, it refers to the 'end' (aktsa, in Arabic) of the sky."