It Really Isn’t About Turf

כִּי בֵיתִי בֵּית־תְּפִלָּה יִקָּרֵא לְכָל־הָעַמִּים

Because My house will be acknowledged a House of Prayer for all the nations (Isaiah  56:7)

(I apologize to those readers who will be angry or offended by these words, but I hope they’ll understand that they are offered in love to all mankind.)

At first glance, while it currently endures the degraded status of exclusive/excluding turf, it’s hard to understand the world-wide focus on the approximately 11-1/2 acres of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount. Tens of thousands of human beings have recently been slaughtered, many in the cruelest ways imaginable, within a radius of five hundred miles of that point, with too little international concern, but every time a Jew or Christian opens their lips in prayer within these tiny confines, it’s an international incident and Israel is condemned.

Most of the secular world, including, sadly, Israeli governments from 1967 onward, either believes or goes along with the fantasy that this is a dispute over turf, mere real estate. “There are already two long-standing (dating from the 7th century) mosques occupying that space, so why are some Jews,” the thinking goes, “trying to disrupt the status quo?” “Even the Israeli government,” they point out, “ceded control of the Temple Mount to the Moslem Trust, the Waqf.”

However, there is a major difference between the way our people view the Holy Temple and the way this area is currently governed by the Waqf. While the current rulers of this holy site enforce a view that it is exclusively for Moslem prayer and use (the majority of the acreage is actually used for very non-holy activities such as picnics, soccer games and rock-throwing), we have, from the very beginning, starting with Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon) using an international team to build the First Temple in 957 BCE, seen it as a universal portal to bring God’s holy שפע (Shefa), flow of Divine Energy, into the world for the benefit of all. Isaiah’s prophecy, quoted above, proclaims that our Holy Temple is a house of prayer for all nations. We don’t require them to be or convert to be Jewish, but all are welcome (Moslems included) to come just as they are. Moving the world along to a point where this shefa flows freely and to all is the unique Jewish mission. This singular geographic point, the portal from which all life energy can flow into our physical world, can either function as a stopper when its holiness is restricted and strangled, or it can, when operated properly and open to all, be a true fountain.

I’m baffled that the world’s liberals and humanitarians, including those in Israel and those among the American Jewish community, don’t support and even encourage the replacement of a highly discriminatory, sectarian institution with an open, universal one, aimed at the betterment of all. Of course, those who self-proclaim their superiority over all humanity will fight, as we see everywhere, but especially within this 500-mile radius of Har HaBayit, to “prove” it. And all the time this is tolerated and even encouraged by the international community, these lyrics (War–1976) of Bob Marley, based on Haile Selassie’s 1963 address to the United Nations General Assembly will, sadly, remain true.

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Inferior
Is finally
And permanently
Discredited
And abandoned –
Everywhere is war –
Me say war.

That until there are no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes –
Me say war.

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race –
Dis a war.

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained –
Now everywhere is war – war.

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