Aerial view of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Credit: Andrew Shiva via Wikimedia Commons)
It is well-known that Jews are restricted from praying on the Temple Mount but a recent encounter illustrated how Christians who revere the site are treated in the same roughshod manner by the Waqf (Islamic Religious Authority). This battle for religious equality will determine whether the Temple Mount will take to its Biblical and prophesied role as a “House of Prayer for all Nations.”
Hayovel, an organization that brings Christian volunteers to work in the vineyards of Samaria, took a group of its volunteers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ben Hilton, the media director for Hayovel, was leading a group of volunteers when he was confronted by a Waqf guard.
“There was one particular Waqf guard who didn’t take kindly to us talking about the Beit Hamikdash (Jewish Temple) on the Temple Mount,” Hilton told Breaking Israel News. “We were talking about the sanctuary and what the experience was like.”
The guard approached Hilton and told him, “You have to respect the place.”
He then insisted they leave but Hilton calmly refused.
“We have quite a bit of experience and we know that the Waqf gives us a hard time but the police have the real authority,” Hilton said. “We got them involved and they were amazing in handling the situation. The Waqf wanted to kick us off but the police let us stay up for a good long time after the confrontation.”
“It was really amazing to witness,” Caleb told Breaking Israel News. “The Waqf guard slapped a cell phone out of the hand of one of the volunteers because he was recording the encounter. Ben told me that he was full of love for the Waqf guard throughout the encounter, that he understood the guard was a victim of circumstances. That’s really the kind of energy that should be brought to such a holy place, not hatred or anger. And you could see that it is precisely the energy that is needed to be on the Temple Mount because the Waqf guard was really scared of Ben.”
As a response to the encounter, the volunteers joined together for a selfie video in which they declared “Har Habayit B’Yadenu” (The Temple Mount is in our hands). This was the declaration made by the IDF troops after conquering the site in the 1967 Six-Day War. The phrase, famous in Israel as a stirring declaration that the Jews’ 2,000 year dream had been fulfilled, took on a different meaning when shouted by the Christian volunteers.
“We for sure recognize the Temple Mount as the location of the Temple,” Hilton said. “For God’s presence to be there, the Jewish people need sovereignty. This would benefit all faiths and all people. When we go up, we not only experience the beginnings of God’s presence and imagine what could be there but we also go to represent that we recognize that Jewish sovereignty.”
It is interesting to note that their enthusiasm for the Temple Mount has led the Muslim and Israeli authorities to place the same restrictions on them as they do on Jewish visitors to the site.
“When we go up, we are treated as a Jewish group by the police and the Waqf,” Hilton said. “It may be because we dress modestly, like the Jews who visit the site, and we talk about the Temple while we are up there. So now we get a police escort and the Waqf watches us to make sure we don’t pray. To the Waqf, it is the same thing. They don’t care if we are Christian or Jewish. Anyone who honors the site as the Temple Mount is a threat to what they are trying to do up there.”
“Many people don’t realize that the ban is not just on Jewish prayer but on any non-Muslim prayer,” Hilton explained. “They tell us that when we go up. It isn’t just a Muslim conflict with Israel. The ban is specifically against the place becoming a House of Prayer for All Nations.”
Despite the conflict brewing on Israel’s southern border and the threats in the north, Waller feels the real conflict is for the Temple Mount, the heart of Israel.
“We aren’t fighting against flesh and blood,” Walller explained. “There is a spiritual battle for the Temple Mount but not against Muslims,” Waller said. “We had a little bit of a rough experience with the Waqf but we also feel very blessed that we are living in a time when there is actually Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount. It is clear that God’s plan centers on that place and it is going to happen soon.”
A 2008 protest by ver.di Jugend in Karlsruhe, Germany. Photo: Wikipedia commons.
A German youth organization affiliated with the country’s second largest trade union has disavowed the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, as well as an anti-Zionist group that endorses a “one state” solution.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, ver.di Jugend announced that it passed a motion at its annual conference to reject BDS and FOR-Palestine, a group that advocates for a Palestinian-majority state in lieu of Israel and strongly opposes Zionism — the movement that supports the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination.
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. Isaiah 2:3 (The Israel Bible™)
One year following the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, leaders from the White House Faith Initiative, along with Evangelical and Latin American leaders, gathered in Israel’s Knesset to promote dialogue and foster relations between Christians and Jews, as well as the United States, Latin America and Israel.
“I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3 (The Israel Bible™)
An ICEJ delegation visited Israeli communities along the Gaza border and viewed a new specially designed ATV security vehicle donated through the ICEJ to a local moshav. Credit: ICEJ.
After Israel absorbed as many as 700 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) sent a delegation to the western Negev region on Monday to assess the updated security needs of local Israeli communities and how best to help them prepare for any future escalations.
A replica of the golden menorah in front of Titus’ Arch in Rome. (Courtesy)
“He said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a menorah all of gold, with a bowl above it. The lamps on it are seven in number, and the lamps above it have seven pipes;” Zechariah 4:2 (The Israel Bible™)
A small group of Christians’ remarkable act of faith has ambitious aspirations: to fix the theft of the golden menorah from the Temple by Titus in 70 CE. In addition, they are seeking to return some of the Divine love that has sustained Germany despite the horrific crimes perpetrated on the Jews in the Holocaust.
U.S. Jews are more likely than Christians to say that U.S. President Donald Trump favors Israelis more than the Palestinians, according to a Pew Research poll released on Monday.
Some 42 percent of American Jews say Trump is favoring Israelis more than the Palestinians, while 47 percent of them say he has been striking the right balance between the two.
Apr 30, 2019 0Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was accused of launching a long-range rocket from northern Gaza at Israel on Monday evening, in an attempt at provoking a heavy response from the Israel Defense...
Only three-quarters of a century after Der Stürmer incentivized the mass murder of Jews by dehumanizing them, we see a revival of such bigoted caricatures.
I do not believe in free speech for me, but not for thee. But I do believe in condemning those who hide behind the First Amendment to express anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, sexist or racist views.
One of the most influential newspapers in the world, the Jewish-owned New York Times decided to present the Jews with a gift in honor of the last day of Passover – a major Jewish holiday – an antisemitic caricature. The controversial cartoon shows US President Donald Trump as a blind man with a skullcap on his head, being led by a dog that looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And to make sure the reader knows it is indeed the Israeli premier, the dog has a Star of David dangling from its collar.
Last week, Jared Kushner, one of the administration’s point men on the Middle East, dispensed with the term “two-state solution” in its impending peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. “The two-state solution has failed,” he said.
The “two-state solution” does not appear in the 1993 Oslo Accords, which called only for “interim self-government” for the Palestinians. The goal was a negotiated final status agreement, in which independence was not specified.
Religious fervor always picks up before the Jewish holidays. Not surprisingly, Israeli undercover police arrested Jewish activists from the Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the Mount) organization early Friday afternoon, just before the onset of the Passover holiday, after an apparent attempt to bring a young goat on to the Temple Mount for a self-proclaimed sacrificial rite. Indeed, this drama plays itself out every year, but according to Jerusalem police, this year a record of at least twelve members of the organization were arrested throughout the course of the day on counts of disturbing the peace.
Every year when Passover eve arrives, I do my best not to think about that night; to allow the joy of cherished rituals meant to renew our family’s tribal history and faith envelop us in its warm glow as whoever among the kids and grandkids it’s our turn to host partake of the matzoh, bitter herbs, and wine. Often – actually most often – I succeed.