The state has been subsidizing nonprofit organizations that advocate the building of the Third Temple atop Jerusalem’s holiest site, an Army Radio expose revealed on Sunday.
Over the course of the last decade, the Education Ministry and the Culture and Sport Ministry have transferred between NIS 300,000 and 700,000 to a non-government organization known as The Temple Institute. Just last year, the group received NIS 282,000 from the Education Ministry and another NIS 134,000 from the Culture Ministry.
“The Institute is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem,” the group’s website reads. “Our short-term goal is to rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind through education. Our long-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time.”
Anyone browsing the group’s website could see images of models of the Third Temple, with the Muslim holy places like the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque conspicuously absent from these illustrations.
Army Radio also discovered that aside from subsidies, the state also permits young women who opt to forgo compulsory military service to perform national service as unpaid tour guides and instructors with the institute. The women are also sent to schools and kindergartens around the country to speak about their experiences as well as the educational programs the institute has to offer.
The Education Ministry responded to the Army Radio report, saying: “The nonprofit meets criteria for receiving subsidies that go toward instructing students who visit the institute, and this has been the case for over 10 years now.”
“The Temple Institute deals with research, and it is supported by the ministry in accordance with professional criteria that has nothing to do with directly supporting the individual who heads it,” a Culture and Sport Ministry spokesperson said in response.
“Thus far we have found nothing that would raise suspicions of incitement or anything unusual as it relates to the temple. In light of the Army Radio report, it is the ministry’s intention to bring this matter to the attention of our legal department.”
“For over 25 years the Temple Institute has stood at the forefront of research, education and preparation towards the time of the rebuilding of the Holy Temple,” a spokesperson for the Temple Institute told The Jerusalem Post. “The Institute's efforts have been recognized and awarded by Israel's Ministry of Education. Its trailblazing educational materials and scholarly publications have revolutionized these difficult areas of Torah knowledge for young and old alike.”
“Over one million people from all over the world, of every background and religion, have visited the Institute's exhibition located in Jerusalem's Old City," the spokesperson said. "The Temple Institute's website is the most popular and educational web site on the subject of the Holy Temple in the world."
"The rebuilding of the Holy Temple, called by the prophet Isaiah a 'house of prayer for all nations,' is a positive commandment, and the vision of the Temple's rebuilding, which will usher in an unparalleled era of world peace and harmony, is the central theme of the entire Torah. The Temple Institute is proud to represent the concept which has been heartfelt prayer of the Jewish people for two millennia.”