ISRAEL - Activists Urge Building of Synagogue on Temple Mount

Arno Froese

A group of Israeli activists are calling on the government to establish a synagogue on the Temple Mount and open it for Jewish prayer.

Riots have continuously erupted on the Temple Mount, when thousands of Palestinians stormed the Golden Gate, which had been closed by a court order since 2003. Jerusalem Police arrested two senior Wakf officials—east Jerusalem Wakf chairman Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab and deputy director of the Wakf Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat—banning them from entering the Aqsa Mosque compound for 40 days.

In response, the Muslims took over and converted a 1,500-year-old structure located near the Golden Gate (known as Shaar Harachamim in Hebrew) into a mosque. Currently, the Muslims have four other mosques on the mount, said Asaf Fried, a spokesman for an association of organizations dedicated to Jewish rights on the Temple Mount. Jews, on the other hand, “if you try to pray, you will be arrested.”

The activists argue that by opening the Golden Gate and establishing a new mosque, the Muslims have broken the status quo agreement. Israel has made attempts to shutter the gate, but the Muslims have refused, threatening increased violence.

“If the status quo is broken anyway, then Israel needs to break it, too,” said Fried, arguing that Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. “We need a place to pray and we want that structure near the Golden Gate.”

Establishing a synagogue is not unprecedented, explained Yaacov Hayman, head of the Yishai Organization for the Establishment of Synagogues on the Temple Mount. He said in Temple times there was always a synagogue near the Temple.

“The Talmud tractate that talks about Yom Kippur clearly states there was a synagogue,” he said.

This latest call for a synagogue on the Temple Mount is not the first.

In 2017, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) called for the construction of a synagogue on the Temple Mount in the aftermath of the brutal Halamish (also known as Neveh Tzuf) attack, in which a Hamas terrorist infiltrated the West Bank settlement and murdered three people at their Shabbat table.

A similar demand was made in 2014, when a large group of religious-Zionist rabbis—including Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Eliyahu Zinni and Rabbi Haim Cohen—penned a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advocating the construction of a synagogue on the Temple Mount. No action was taken.

Furthermore, there have been bills raised in the Knesset calling for equal prayer rights for Jews on the Temple Mount, but they have generally been shut down, as Muslims threaten violence if the status quo is altered., 6 March 2019

Arno's commentary

To construct a synagogue on the Temple Mount would seem to be the first step to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. That is nothing new; since the founding of the state of Israel, multiple leaders, movements, and organizations have insisted on the rebuilding of the temple on the Temple Mount. Is this realistic? Objectively seen, it is virtually out of the question. Not only because of the Islamic world, but also the rest of the world would unequivocally condemn Israel for changing the geographical status quo of a religious landmark such as the Dome of the Rock.

Tourists to Israel have experienced the strict rules instituted by the Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount. Jewish and Christian prayers are forbidden. That law is intended for those who wish to establish their religious presence on the Temple Mount.

Currently, this mountain is adorned with the golden Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Dome of the Rock, designed and built by Muslims, was completed in 691 AD. Thus, it is an important historical monument for the Muslims and the world.

Will there be a literal temple built in Jerusalem? This writer’s answer is, most likely not at all. Yet, this statement seems to stand in opposition to 2 Thessalonians 2:4: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” There are two interpretations: 1) the temple is a spiritual one, namely the Church, and within the Church—or better said, Churchianity—Antichrist will arise. Some 2,000 years ago, John speaks of the Antichrist: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18).

The other interpretation requires a physical temple. This would fulfill the words of Jesus: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43). Jesus came to the literal temple, and so must Antichrist.

In the meantime, the “lively stones” the apostle Peter writes of are being assembled into a spiritual temple. When the last “lively stone” is added to the Church, this spiritual temple will be drawn into the presence of the builder and owner: the Lord Jesus Christ, for He stated, “I will build my church.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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