can become a cup of trembling and a stumbling block for all nations...
Dear Friends of Israel,
There appears to be no end to the series of attacks against Jews in Israel, in which mostly young, Palestinian attackers often die themselves. According to Muslims, one reason for the attacks is a feared change in the status quo of the Temple Mount and its Muslim shrines. This in spite of repeated assurances from Prime Minister Netanyahu that changing the status quo of the Temple Mount is not being discussed.
After the annexation of East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, during the Six-Day War, the Israeli leadership determined that although the Temple Mount is under Israeli authority, the Muslims would retain the rights of ownership. The right to visit the Temple Mount was guaranteed to everyone in the laws that were then passed.
Previously, in the 1920s, Jewish religious authorities had declared that Jews were not allowed to visit the Temple Mount. That warning is written on a large sign at the foot of the passage that leads up to the Temple Mount. That warning, however, is just a religious directive and not a civil law. Thus, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to ascend the Temple Mount. It is, however, forbidden for non-Muslims to pray or engage in other religious activities there. For decades, Jews rarely visited the Temple Mount, but in the past two years it has become apparent that many more are doing so, including politically right-leaning members of the Knesset. The Muslims see an underhanded attempt to change the status quo in the sometimes demonstrative and organized Temple Mount visits by some Jews. To them, the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are being endangered. The recent wave of attacks against Jews is occasionally called the “Al-Aqsa Intifada.”
These current events show once again how Jerusalem, especially the Temple Mount, can become a cup of trembling and a stumbling block for all nations, as is written in Zechariah 12:2-3. The astonishing thing is that so many Muslim young people, almost children, are being drafted into this subversive fight.
It is interesting that a Knesset member, from the very Orthodox Jewish Torah Party, warned that Jews visiting the Temple Mount could lead to war. For the most part, strict Orthodox Jews heed the religious warning and do not set foot on the Temple Mount. That warning can be traced back to Rabbi Kook, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, who determined that a future temple could only be built by the Messiah, in accordance with Zechariah 6:12-13. Therefore, some preparations are being made by groups such as the Temple Institute, but they are only being done in order to be ready when the Messiah comes.
It’s apparent that there are various thoughts on this matter within Judaism. Some are of the opinion that now is the time to take action. There are others, though—most likely the majority—who are of the opinion that such proceedings would cause a catastrophe, like the end of the second temple in the year 70 A.D.
This all shows that the Israeli government needs wisdom, not only to establish political balance among the various opinions within the governing parties, but also to find a solution that will satisfy the international pressure that is continuously increasing against Israel.
In the sure knowledge that the coming Messiah will direct everything in accordance with the will of God,
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