Is it God, Obama or Uri Ariel who now controls building on the Temple Mount?

The question was raised in a tongue and cheek fashion Tuesday as Ariel and former Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias held a changing of the guard ceremony in Jerusalem.

It was a down-to-earth moment, as employees crowded next to make-shift plastic tables in the ministry’s lobby, on which rogelach, strawberries, dried apricots and nuts were laid out on paper plates. There was even coke and sprite for a toast.

But as Ariel he spoke into the microphone, the tall, white haired politician, who sported an orange plastic wristband in honor of the Jewish Gaza evacuees, waxed utopian.

He spun an almost messianic like vision in which he and his newly acquired ministry would provide for those living in the country’s periphery as well as its minority groups and other sectors, Israeli Arabs, Beduin, haredim (ultra-Orthodox), and the national religious.

In short, he said, he wanted to provide housing for everyone, including of course in Jerusalem.

Since Ariel was spinning a heavenly dream, the thoughts of the national religious politician turned to the heavenly city of Jerusalem and its Temple Mount, which now houses the Dome of the Rock. But Jews believe that in messianic times, their Third Temple will be rebuilt there.

The only question that remains is this, Ariel speculated as he turned to Attias.

“Is someone in this building already drawing construction plans for the Third Temple?” The response was a round of applause, and a quip from Attias. “I think [US President Barack] Obama would have to authorize that.” Ariel responded, “I think it’s a higher power who is in charge.”

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