For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
In its Nov. 15 edition, the New York Times features a lengthy article by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner about publication of a book by Israeli and Palestinian scholars of Jewish and Muslim claims to Temple Mount. Kershner notes that this is the site that "Jews revere as the location of their two ancient temples, and that now houses the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam."
What interests me about the article is not so much the contents of the book, which I have yet to read, as Kershner's own derisive and dismissive view of Jewish claims to Temple Mount, coupled with a more deferential attitude to the Muslim side.
Putting aside the various views expressed in the book, here's Kershner's -- and the New York Times' -- own verdict on which side appears to have the stronger claims:
"The lack of archaeological evidence of the ancient temples has led many Palestinians to deny any real Jewish attachment or claim to the plateau," Kershner writes.
Nothing in Kershner's article about archaeological finds that point the other way, especially about the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 of the current era.
Nothing in Kershner's article about evidence of the Second Temple in the writing of the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus.
Nothing in Kershner's article about the frieze on the Arch of Titus in Rome showing the triumphant return of Roman soldiers carrying the Menorah from the Second Temple.
Nothing in Kershner's article about Jesus's presence in and around the Temple.
Nothing in Kershner's article about specific refrerences in the Koran to both Jewish temples. Yes, in the Koran!
As far as Kershner is concerned, Jews may revere Temple Mount because they believe the temples existed, but her own spin is that there's no empirical evidence to substantiate such a belief.
As for the current status of the Temple Mount amid sporadic tensions and clashes, Kershner is much harder on Jewish behavior on Temple Mount than on Muslim outrages which she glosses over or totally ignores. (Read full article) .
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"