ASK Commentary
October 11, 2000 

The Present Violence in Jerusalem

An official Jewish Orthodox Web Site (one of the most important) has a new up-to-date assessment of how the Media are handling the present outbreaks of violence in Jerusalem, Israel and the Gaza area. Rabbi Avi Shafran has written a timely article titled: "When Media Becomes Malignant." In his dispatch he singles out two new trends that are widely noticed in Israel that are currently being disseminated by the Associated Press and what he calls the Times Newspaper (I suspect he means the London Times). One is the false identification of causalities in photographs with a strong bias toward vilifying Jewish endeavors in responding to the belligerence and praising (or lamenting) Arab and Muslim suffering that they are enduring in the conflict. Yes, there were some mis-identifications, and the papers have apologized.

Be that as it may (and I can take no side in the issue because I live 8000 miles away from the present situation and I have no way of making any prudent appraisal), it is the Rabbi’s second complaint against the contemporary Media’s account of the uprising that interests me personally. He states that there has been (all of a sudden) a NEW manner for the foreign press to refer to "the Temple Mount" that disturbs him because of its inaccuracy (in his view). That is the NEW custom of referring to the Sacred Shrine area of the Muslims and Jews (which both hold holy and sanctified) as the "Haram esh-Sharif" (or, sometimes spelled "Haram al-Sharif") instead of simply referring to the area as "the Temple Mount."

But now, it seems, there is a decided effort on the part of foreign news reporters to show DOUBT that the Haram esh-Sharif is the actual Temple Mount that the Jewish authorities have long accepted. The press is now stating that it is only the Jews who "claim" that the Haram esh-Sharif is indeed the real Temple Site, whereas the Arabs and Muslims are now showing their disdain of this historical identification that all peoples (as late as last year) were assuming to be a fact. The Arabs and Muslims are now stating that there is not the slightest historical proof that the Haram esh-Sharif is the real Temple Mount, or, if there is such proof, they are demanding the Israelis to show them where the records substantiate the certainty of such an identification. To counter this DOUBT, here is what Rabbi Shafran has written (which can be verified by clicking in to this Jewish News Source at www.aish.com ).

Rabbi Shafran wrote: "For there are a number of more subtle biases to be perceived by readers of newspapers like The Times -- and other media as well. Take the Temple Mount, which unbiased historians have always described precisely as what its name represents -- the site of the two Holy Jewish Temples, the second of which was destroyed by the Roman army nearly two thousand years ago. Of late, in apparent deference to Palestinian leaders who claim that no Jewish Temple ever stood on the Jerusalem hill toward which Jews have prayed for millennia, The Times has appended the phrase "which the Arabs call the Haram al Sharif."

More recently, the same influential paper referred to "the Temple Mount, which Israel claims to have been the site of the First and Second Temple." No longer established historical tradition but a mere "claim."

A day later, the paper described Israeli troops as having "stormed the Haram, holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, where hundreds of people were at worship." No mention whatsoever in that article of any "Temple Mount."

When baseless biases are openly voiced, they are seen for what they are: ugly, evil, human faults. When subtly layered, though, into journalistic products -- choices of photographs, captions, turns of phrase, stories' spins -- they often slip by unnoticed, and proceed to infect and deform countless hearts and minds. " [End of Quote.]

It is easy to understand Rabbi Shafran’s concern, but in this case the foreign news reporters are correct. The Haram esh-Sharif IS NOT the site of the former Temples (either that of Solomon or Herod). The Jewish people have accepted the wrong place for their former Temples since the time of the Crusades. Before the Crusades, it was common knowledge among ALL Jewish people (including their historians) that the former Temples were located over the Gihon Spring (at least 1000 feet south of the Dome of the Rock) and I have abundantly proved this in my new book "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot." Also, it is a historical fact that the present Wailing Wall was selected by the Jewish religious authorities in the sixteen century because of the visions, dreams and erroneous mystical opinions of Rabbi Isaac Luria (called "the Ari" or "Lion") who was one of the most Kabbalistic of early Jews and his theology was counter to former Jewish beliefs in some outstanding ways. In a word, the present Jewish authorities have been misled by the opinions of certain Rabbis in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and especially by the false teachings of Rabbi Isaac Luria of the sixteenth century who taught more "mystical and theoretical theology" in identifying sacred places, than what we rely upon today as "practical and common" sense teachings. The Wailing Wall IS NOT a remnant of the Jewish Temple. It is the western wall of what was once Fort Antonia, built by Herod to house a legion strength of armed forces, and where the Romans kept their legions.

The new International Edition of the Jerusalem Post has a full page advertisement (in both the September 29th Rosh Ha-Shanah edition and the October 6th Yom Kippur edition) which advertises my book (with a panoramic picture of how the actual Temple and Fort Antonia looked in the time of Jesus and just before its destruction in 70 C.E.) People are beginning to see the truth. Individuals in Israel (both Jews and Muslims, as well as Christians) are finally realizing that the former Jewish Temples were located over the Gihon Spring (about 1000 feet south of the Wailing Wall) and NOT where the present Jewish religious authorities state dogmatically the Temples were. It is time to look at the facts, and NOT to depend on false religious beliefs that were devised in the Dark Ages of religious understanding. The Peace Talks now being revived in the Middle East would be benefited in a profound way (and brought to a successful conclusion to the glory and honor of both Jews and Muslims) IF this new historical and biblical information about the proper location of the former Temples were understood by the negotiators. It is time the world knows the truth of the real site of the former Temples of God.

Keep your eyes on our Web Page for more "COMMENTARY" as it relates to history, prophecy and the Holy Scriptures. I will be posting regularly as new pertinent items emerge. With every good wish.

Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D.

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