The Temple Mount and UNESCO: now, Jews will be tested

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is Judaism's holiest site on earth. It was first built by the Jewish King Solomon some 3,000 years ago. Since then it has been destroyed twice, attacked dozens of times and captured and recaptured more than two dozen times.  

The current Temple Mount was rebuilt more than 2,000 years ago by the Roman-appointed King Herod (died app 4 CE). He greatly expanded the then-existing site of the Jewish Holy Temple. He created the site we visit today, more than 2,000 years later.

In the 7th century CE, Islam conquered the Temple Mount. After the Crusades began (1099), the Temple Mount exchanged hands multiple times until the Ottoman conquest of 1517.

The Ottoman held onto the Temple Mount until 1917, when Britain captured it. Britain held it until 1948. At that point, the UN had passed a Resolution to create two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs. The Jews accepted that proposal. The Arabs rejected it--and attacked the Jews.

As a result of that war, Israel conquered much of Jerusalem. Jordan conquered the Temple Mount.

In 1967, the Arabs tried again (after losing a second war in 1956) to push the Jews out of Israel. When that war ended, Jews had reconquered the Temple Mount. It’s still controlled by Jews.

Since the UN created the Jewish state, Arab enemies of Israel have aimed to destroy it. They want to conquer it. They want to wipe it off the world map.

They want everything in Israel to be Muslim, not Jewish. In 2008, Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Jewish Joseph’s Tomb was not a Jewish shrine but Muslim. Last year, pursuing his goal to rid Israel of all things Jewish, Abbas had UNESCO declare that the Jewish holy sites Rachel’s Tomb and Tomb of the Patriarchs were not Jewish but Muslim.

Abbas demands that the Jews' so-called 'filthy feet' be kept off the Temple Mount. His Palestinian Authority (PA) accuses Jews of “invading” the Temple Mount. The PA claims that Jews are ‘increasingly encroaching’ onto a Muslim holy site by visiting the Temple Mount which, we note, is Judaism's holiest of holy sites.

To put the Muslim anger over the 'increasing number' of Jewish 'encroachments' on the Temple Mount into perspective, you should understand that some 12,000 Jews ascended to the Temple Mount in 2016. Muslims consider this number to be unacceptably excessive and religiously offensive.

But then, at the same time some 12,000 Jews went up to the Temple Mount, some 4,000,000 Muslims went there (Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, "Only 0.3 percent of visitors to Temple Mount are Jews", jewishpress, October 9, 2016).

Muslims are horrified and outraged that that 0.3 percent of visitors were Jewish. They say that 0.3 percent is an obscene religious outrage. It’s excessive.

Muslims aren't satisfied that 99.7 percent of visitors to the Temple Mount are Muslim. They demand 100 percent of visitors be Muslim. Anything less is a religious offense.

On October 13, 2016--the day after the Jewish Yom Kippur--the UN body called, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a Resolution that declared Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and its Western Wall are to be reclassified (ibid). They will no longer be identified as Jewish. Henceforth, by UN diktat, they will be an “exclusively” Muslim shrine (John Walsh, "Palestine wins victory against Israel: Jerusalem holy site declared Muslim, not Jewish, in United Nations Resolution", internationalbusinesstimes, October 13, 2016).

In response to this attack against what is so fundamentally Jewish in Israel, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, "To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China and that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids” (Joshua Yassmeh, "Jew-hating UN: yeah, Jews have nothing to do with the Temple Mount. That they built", dailywire, October 13, 2016). But that's exactly what UNESCO did: it stated unequivocally that Jews have no connection whatsoever to the Temple Mount (ibid).

Some in Israel believe that the Arab-Jew conflict isn't a political conflict. It isn't a land conflict. It isn't about ‘settlements’. Instead, it's a religious conflict over which god will rule Israel.

Right now, Jews rule. But Muslims here are more religious than Jews. Muslims here fight for and die for their god to rule. Israel's ruling elite, however, clearly couldn't care less about G-d.

They never talk about G-d. They rarely mention Him.

This UNESCO vote is the consequence of that silent indifference. For some observers, that's exactly why the Muslim grows strong enough to have the UN un-Jewish Judaism's holiest site on earth. Muslims believe faith makes everything possible. Jews laugh at that.

Now, the Jewish test of faith begins. Do we believe we should remain silent, and let Muslims conquer the Temple Mount? Or, do we believe we must fight for our holiest site on earth?

One thing seems certain. If Muslims believe they now 'own' the Temple Mount as an exclusive Muslim shrine, they will soon demand that Jews be forbidden from stepping onto that shrine. After all, why should Jews be allowed to insult Islam by contaminating a Muslim shrine with their 'filthy feet'?

Israel must fight for what is Jewish. Our leaders don’t fight that fight. Instead, they require Israeli police to protect Islam on the Temple Mount against Jews who seek to pray there.

No wonder UNESCO voted to deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. Don't the actions of Israel's own leadership point to the same conclusion?

Israel's ruling elite must change its tune. Otherwise, Islam will conquer all that is Jewish in Israel. That conquest will strengthen the Arab argument that Israel isn't a Jewish entity at all, but Muslim.

In ancient Israel, when David the boy stood up for Israel in his battle with Goliath, the King of Israel (Shaul) was frozen with either fear or indecision--or, perhaps, a little of both. That paralyzed Israel.

That's the moment the young David stood before the giant. The giant laughed at him. But the boy stood with courage. He spoke of his G-d.

He killed the giant. He became King.

The lesson is, when Israel speaks to its enemies of the G-d of Israel, Israel becomes strong. When it refuses to speak of its G-d, it falters.

That's what's happening in Israel today. No one in Israel's leadership publicly speaks of G-d. No one.

The Muslims are different. PA leaders speak often of the Muslim god. They praise their god in public. Not coincidentally, the PA grows strong before the UN.

Our leaders refuse to speak of G-d. We weaken at the UN.

Our enemy wants to erase our Jewish connection to the land G-d gave us. Our leaders refuse to defend what G-d has given us. The UN supports that erasure because Israel’s silence implicitly endorses it.

HaShem, the G-d of Israel, gives us a choice. We can call out His Name or remain silent. We can fight for the land He gave us--or lose everything we cherish to the name of another god.

That’s the choice we face. It will test our faith—and determine our future.