Look at us: the People of Israel.
In recent days, three Muslim gunmen murdered two Israeli policemen on top of the Holy Mountain in Jerusalem, our nation’s capital, with live gunfire. Israel reacted by closing the mountain to search for additional weaponry, and to let things cool down. Almost instantly, Jewish voices were heard, saying: “Open the mountain now! Don’t let it stay closed, or we will risk suffering the wrath of the Muslim world. After all – they are threatening us with more violence.”
How pitiful. Have we learned nothing from 2000 years of experience having the daylights kicked out of us?
Apparently it is a very difficult lesson for our nation to learn. Yet history has nearly always shown us: when you knuckle under to threats of violence, you nearly always end up with even greater violence in the long-term than if you had been willing to stand your ground in the first place.
Any rational person knows that the Temple Mount is a ticking time bomb. Muslims took a concerted interest in the site precisely at the time when the Jewish nation was beginning to return to its ancient homeland. Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, Jerusalem was an abandoned, backwater relic, falling apart at its seams – just as the Prophets of the Hebrew Bible said it would be. As Jews began returning to the Land of Israel in increasing numbers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, all of sudden the Muslims remembered that they were in control of a complex containing a building that was built squarely on top of the ruins of the ancient Jewish Temples. And the Muslim oral traditions, whispered quietly among Arab families throughout the Land of Israel, that the Jews would one day be returning to rebuild their Temple, must have certainly sown fear of what that might mean for the Islamic world.
What Muslims fail to see is that the Jewish People has been undergoing a special training program for the past 4,000 years, one that began before the day that Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed on the very Temple Mount that is so controversial in our own times. Let’s look for a moment at what Isaiah the Prophet, who lived in the eighth century BCE (some 2,700 years ago), had to say about the matter. In Isaiah’s prophecy, HaShem is addressing the Nation of Israel:
“I am HaShem: I have called out to you in justice, and I have strengthened your hand and created you, and given you to be a covenant people, a light of the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6)
Note that the true translation of the Hebrew phrase is not ‘a light TO the nations’, nor ‘a light UNTO the nations’. The real phrase is: ‘A light OF the nations’. ‘TO the nations’ implies that we are one of many available lights for humankind; but “OF the nations’ means that we will be THE light, and there will be none like us.
It should be fairly evident that the Jewish People is being groomed for a very special task. What does this mean? Well – no-one knows for sure. But one can imagine that once the Nation of Israel returns in full to their Promised Land, they will serve as an example to the whole world. Such a process is described in the words of Isaiah from another location, where the prophet also explains the role that the Temple Mount will play:
“And it will be, in the end of the days, that the mountain of the House of HaShem will be firmly established at the head of the mountains, and lifted up from the hills. And all the goyyim will stream towards it. And many nations will go and say: hey, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; because from Zion will go out the teaching, and the word of HaShem – from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2-3)
One can imagine ‘the teaching’ as mentioned here means the scientific, spiritual, and societal knowledge needed to take the human race onward to the next level so that all nations can thrive and prosper, rather than destroying human civilization through war or pollution.
In 1967, after Israel's complete victory in the Six-Day War, the Islamic Trust relinquished the keys of the Temple Mount to the Israeli Army. Not long afterward, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan chose to return those keys, symbolizing administrative control, as a peace gesture to the Islamic Trust authorities. This past Friday’s events have made it clear: neither the government of Jordan, the titular ‘protector’ of the Temple Mount, nor the independent Islamic Trust, are capable of preventing radical Muslims from launching armed attacks from the site. It is time for these organizations to do what they initially did in 1967: return all keys to the gates of the Temple Mount, and with them, the real authority, back to the Government of Israel where they rightfully belong.
As difficult as it is to imagine, such an act would be a real contribution to world peace. With or without the ancient keys, Israel will one day shine its light to the nations from the whole Temple Mount, as described in the writings of the Hebrew Prophets. The Muslims of the world need not fear us, nor will we prevent them from worshiping along with all humankind on the Temple Mount. Only in this way can there be real peace at this holy site that is so important to so many people.