Jews are the owners of the Temple Mount - opinion

No other nation shares this history, no other nation has had the same capital for 3,000 years and has never had another one, and Jerusalem was never the capital of any other nation.

 PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG shakes hands with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, last year. It’s ridiculous that the Israel-Jordan peace deal gives the kingdom a special role at the Temple Mount, says the writer. (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG shakes hands with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, last year. It’s ridiculous that the Israel-Jordan peace deal gives the kingdom a special role at the Temple Mount, says the writer.
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

The Sages said: “There are three places about which the nations of the world cannot deceive Israel and say we have stolen them out of their hands, and they are the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Temple and the Tomb of Joseph.” All three sites were purchased by our forefathers, Abraham, Jacob, and King David, at a fair price.

“There are three places about which the nations of the world cannot deceive Israel and say we have stolen them out of their hands, and they are the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Temple and the Tomb of Joseph.”

The Sages

The First Temple stood proudly on the Temple Mount, 1,500 years before the Prophet Muhammad was even born.

It goes without saying that security and diplomatic acumen are extremely important, but we cannot forget the basic facts. We Jews are not guests on the Temple Mount; we are its original owners. No other nation shares this history, no other nation has had the same capital for 3,000 years and has never had another one, and Jerusalem was never the capital of any other nation.

The criticism aimed at Israel is ludicrous and outrageous. It ignores the 3,000-year connection between the people of Israel and Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Jordan’s audacious response of summoning the Israeli ambassador for a reprimand is particularly egregious. What is the Jordanian royal house anyway? A Saudi Arabian family that ruled the Islamic holy places in the Hejaz, Mecca and Medina, for hundreds of years. When it was defeated almost a century ago by the Al Saud family, it fled.

Tourist visit at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, on January 3, 2023.  (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)Tourist visit at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, on January 3, 2023. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

The British, to whom the family offered its services against the Turks in World War I, found it a new job and established the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” in a bid to maintain an open route to the oil fields in Iraq. The royal family, which lived very well at the expense of the British taxpayer, protected British interests in the region.

The peace agreement between Israel and Jordan stipulates that Jordan has a “special role” at holy shrines in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.

That’s ridiculous. What is Jordan’s connection to the Temple Mount? Does the fact that Jordan conquered east Jerusalem in the War of Independence, razed the Jewish Quarter along with its synagogues, and ruled over it for 19 years give it some sort of special privileges?

Security cooperation between the two countries is important to Israel, but much more important to Jordan.

While it is of great benefit to us, it enables Jordan to survive. And that’s without even mentioning the water we supply the Jordanians, which keeps them alive. We might have expected a little more gratitude from them, even publicly, or at the very least not to have rubbish thrown at us from their direction.

Israel's government must focus on restoring personal safety, reinstating governance

The primary responsibilities of the new government, the goals by which it will be judged, are to restore personal safety throughout Israel, to enforce the law universally and reinstate the governance that has been lost in too many parts of the country. There is no reason that Jews, including members of Knesset and government ministers, should not enter the Temple Mount, but that is no substitute for the serious work that has to be done. 

The government has to deal with the occupation of 50,000 hectares of state land in the Negev; tens of thousands of illegal residents in Israel; polygamy; National Insurance fraud and tax evasion to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels; endless murders, robberies and smuggling of drugs and weapons; harassment of women; violence and fear in the streets; road rage; agricultural terrorism; confiscating illegal weapons, which could equip a whole army; the protection money epidemic; lawlessness in mixed cities; and the restoration of respect for the police, the law and the country.

That’s the real work that needs doing, and that’s what the government should be focusing on.

If the government does its job, life in Israel will be much better and much safer – that is, normal. And then a visit to the Temple Mount won’t be the main headline on the evening news. Why should it be news at all? In a free country, anyone can go wherever they want.

The writer is a son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. The article was translated from Hebrew by Sara Kitai, [email protected]