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The time of truth for the Temple Mount

By Ariel Natan Pasko
web posted May 24, 2004

Israel is celebrating the 37th anniversary (according to the Hebrew date), of the June 1967 "Six-Day-War," that culminated in the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Let's look at some insights to the events of 1967.

Three modern "prophecies" were spoken in the last generation, yet few have listened. The first, was in a song by Naomi Shemer just weeks before the 1967 Six-Day-War. The second, spoken in his Yeshiva -- Rabbinical Seminary -- three weeks before the war, by Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook. The third was said, in the middle of the war, just after the heat of battle ended in victory, by Mordechai "Motta" Gur. "Prophecies" of liberation, "prophecies" of consolation, to the nation of Israel, that had suffered occupation, destruction, exile, torture and murder, too long.

Weeks before the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day-War, "Yerushaliyim Shel Zahav -- Jerusalem of Gold" written by Naomi Shemer was released. It spoke of the eternal connection between the Jewish People and Holy City of Jerusalem. But not just the modern half of "Western Jerusalem" that had spilled out of the Old City Walls, that had sprung up during the last 100 years of fervent growth, seen in the return of Jews to Zion. No, "Jerusalem of Gold" cried out about the heart-wrenching situation that had prevailed since the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.

For 19 years, the Jordanians had occupied the Old City of Jerusalem and the "Eastern" side. For 19 years, in violation of the 1949 Armistice agreement with the newly established State of Israel, Jordan -- the late King Hussein -- denied Jews access to the Western Wall, the outskirts of their most holy site, the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It is one of the last vestiges of the Jewish People's Holy Temple -- the "House of G-D" -- destroyed by the occupying Roman Army 1,900 years earlier.

"The Shofar is heard again on the Temple Mount, in the Old City," the song declared. "Jerusalem of Gold" spoke to the sufferings of the Jewish People and the hope that the situation would end. The war broke out and it became a massive hit, the unofficial anthem of the war.

Three weeks before the war began, during Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations -- Israeli Independence Day -- at his Yeshiva, Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, son of the venerated former Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, gave a rousing lecture on the joyous significance of the day. But then he took his students by surprise, switched gears and began lamenting the situation, in a tearful cry he asked, "Where is our Jerusalem (the Old City and Temple Mount)? Where is our Hebron? Where is our Jericho?" Teaching his students that the holiday joy was not yet complete without them. After the victory, his words rung with "prophetic" intent, as if he demanded from above the return of the Jewish People's inheritance, and was granted it.

The 1967 Six-Day-War was fought on all fronts. The Egyptians were fought in the south, in Gaza and Sinai. The Syrians tried their hand, in the north, coming down from the Golan Heights. But Jordan held the prize. Initially, the Israeli government called on King Hussein to stay out of the war, but he would have none of that. Over-inflated from Egyptian President Nasser's ranting to drive the Jews into the sea, King Hussein took the fateful plunge instead -- that had already been "foreseen" -- he opened another front in Jerusalem and the center of the country, from the West Bank. Jordanian soldiers shot at Israelis -- civilians and soldiers -- from the Old City Walls into "New, Western Jerusalem," the fighting was fierce.

But the Israeli government decided not to repeat the mistake of Ben-Gurion's government in the 1948 war. Rather that lose the Old City of Jerusalem a second time, they decided to liberate it. Soon the nation would hear those words that still send ripples of joy to Jews. Motta Gur, commander of the front, announced over his army radio the third "prophecy," "Har HaBayit B'Yadenu -- the Temple Mount is in our hands." They had liberated the Old City of Jerusalem. Almost 1,900 years after the Romans destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after 19 years of separation from the most holy place on earth, the Jews had returned home. Who still can't hear those words of "prophecy" without being moved? The full weight of 19 centuries was lifted off the backs of the Jewish People.

"The Temple Mount is in our hands!"

Yet in contrast to all those "miracles," all those hopes and dreams finally fulfilled, several "peace initiatives" envision a reversal of history, a slap-in-the-face to "The G-D of Israel." A plan being promoted by former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo called, "The Geneva Initiative -- a model for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian agreement," calls for the Temple Mount to be given to the "Palestinians" permanently, with the help of the rest of the world. The Ayalon-Nusseibeh petition drive also seeks to give the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to the "Palestinians." Even the "Roadmap" plan that the US, EU, UN, and Russia have devised -- and the Sharon government has accepted -- puts Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on the chopping block, "up for negotiations."

Long ago, when the Roman occupation forces burnt the Holy Temple and razed it to the ground, and then later destroyed the rest of Jerusalem; the Jewish people defeated in war after a valiant attempt to expel the invaders, tired and forlorn, accepted the "Judgment of G-D." Jews yearned in every generation for the Messiah to come, waiting for him to take them out of exile and bring them back to Judea, the Land of Israel, Zion and Jerusalem, to rebuild their "Holy House of G-D."

In 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel, after almost 1,900 years, Jews now could return home unhindered by "foreign occupiers." But the victory in the War of Independence was bittersweet. Where was Jerusalem -- the Old City? That 1948 Israeli government, led by David Ben-Gurion, decided to consolidate victory elsewhere and not to capture the Old City. That would have to wait for the future. The Jordanians occupied her.

That future time came in 1967, with lightning victory on several fronts, but most importantly, in Jerusalem. Jews took the initiative then and with help from above, they reunited with their holy site, the Temple Mount. Great joy encompassed the nation, 200,000 Jews came out that Shavuot -- the Feast of Weeks -- just days after the war's end, to celebrate at the Western Wall. Joy seemed complete again...

So how is it that this generation is contemplating the unthinkable?

Generations of Jews prayed for the eventual return to the Holy City of Jerusalem, the prayers and dreams of generations and millennia materialized in 1967. And today, there are those who want to reverse history, to give away the Jewish People's patrimony?

Ironically, rather than by force of arms -- something the Arab occupiers tried and fail to do -- some Jews contemplate doing voluntarily, through "peace agreements." How could they spurn the "Blessings of G-D"? How could they try to reverse Jewish history? How could they ignore the "prophecies"?

Now is the time for every Jew -- and gentile -- to take a stand. "Not by force, nor by might, but by MY spirit," says the Holy One of Israel.

Now is the time of truth for the Temple Mount!

Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko. (c) 2004/5764 Pasko

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