SPECIAL NOTICE Saturday May 24–Tuesday May 27
Your humble servant is on his way from his home in the United States to his home in Israel and will update this blog sporadically for the next 72 hours. Thank you for your patience!
UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Friday, May 23 2014:
**Within the last two hours, Israeli soldiers have come under attack on the Gaza border and an Israeli community (unnamed for security reasons) has been struck by two rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Apparently no one has been physically wounded in either assault.
In a related development, Islamic Jihad announced this afternoon that it is joining forces with Hamas and Fatah (PLO).
**The tale of two media . . . yesterday Bloomberg media published an interview between journalist Jeffrey Goldberg with PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here is the headline about the interview in the “leftist” Yedioth Aharonot newspaper today:
“PM Mulls Unilateral Disengagement From West Bank”
Here is the headline about the interview from the “centrist” Jerusalem Post newspaper today:
“Netanyahu Could Be Open To Exploring Annexation Plans if Peace Process Fails”
Here’s what Netanyahu actually said:
“It’s true that the idea of taking unilateral steps is gaining ground, from the center-left to the center-right. Many Israelis are asking themselves if there are certain unilateral steps that could theoretically make sense. People also recognize that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza didn’t improve the situation or advance peace – it created Hamastan, from which thousands of rockets have been fired at our cities.”
Unilateral steps yes. Unilateral disengagement no.
**Fantastic news! On next Wednesday, Jerusalem Day, it will be announced that the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, which was dynamited and destroyed by the Jordanians and “Palestinians” when they ethnically cleansed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in 1948, will be rebuilt.
The Israeli government is funding the rebuilding at a cost of 50 million shekels.
Today, we come to the 12th of 13 installments in our series on the Dome of “the Rock”.
The year is 1857 CE. We have come a long way since Solomon built the First Temple over the Foundation Stone–2,807 years to be exact.
The Ottoman Turks still have control over Jerusalem, but the British are exerting their power in the wake of the Crimean War. The Temple Mount has just been opened to Jewish and Christian visitors every day of the week except Friday.
Nevertheless, 341 years of Turkish Muslim neglect has had its effect on the holiest site in Judaism (and on Jerusalem itself).
One of the first photographs we have of the Dome of “the Rock”–or better named “The Building Over the Foundation Stone” show a weeded site devoid of people:
Here is a picture of the Foundation Stone dated 1900:
Another picture on a smaller scale from 1910:
Here is an aerial view of Jerusalem from 1918–made by the British Air Force after the British took over:
During the time from 1857 through the British mandate from 1918-1948, the situation on the Temple Mount remained the same.
Jews were permitted to ascend to the spot where the Holy of Holies stood–but orthodox Jews especially came under strict prohibitions from orthodox rabbis to not do so. Various reasons were given–one of which was incredibly specious. The reasoning was that since “no one new where the Holy of Holies had been”, then a person on the Mount might violate that holy space by being there.
Nevertheless, Jews of all stripes, especially secular Jews continued to make their way to the Mount.
From 1948 to 1967, the Jordanians took control of the Old City of Jerusalem and threw out every single Jewish inhabitant. Because of this ethnic cleansing, no Jew appeared on the Mount in those years.
But the situation changed dramatically in 1967, as we shall read in our next and final blog in this series tomorrow.