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