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Jordan's Warning of Holy War
Last uploaded : Thursday 29th May 2003 at 01:19
Contributed by : The Editor


News Update 30th June 2003:
We are pleased to be able to report that Christian and Jewish groups have been allowed to visit the Temple Mount for the first time in thirty months. The story broke in 'The Jerusalem Post':


It is late on Wednesday night and past my bedtime but I decided to browse the Internet once more before turning in. Perhaps I am na?ve and perhaps I have learned nothing from years of study of the Arab-Israeli relationship, but the headline in Ha?aretz about Jews praying at the Temple Mount made me postpone bedtime.

?Jordan on Wednesday warned the Israeli
government against allowing Jews to pray on
Jerusalem's Temple Mount, saying such "a very
dangerous step" could lead to a "devastating
religious war.."

Here is the link to the story:


Yes, I know that the fear is that fanatical zealots will try to build a ?Third Temple? and that right-wing extremists had even been accused of trying to blow up the aq-Aqsa Mosque.

But putting those marginal scenarios aside, how can there ever be peace and reconciliation between the two Abrahamic religions when one is saying that the other may not set foot in its building?

For our Muslim friends who read this site and who send us useful and friendly messages and contributions, I want to make an important point. In the days before the Intifadah and before PLO terror, it would have been de rigeur for a synagogue to warmly welcome Muslim visitors. Even at the height of the Intifadah my shul, the Liberal St John?s Wood (London) welcomed Muslim visitors to an assortment of events.

As far as I know (and please, readers, correct us if we are wrong) I can think of no Jewish site in the world that prohibits visitors from other faiths entering their houses of worship or places of historic importance. What sort of a God is it who says that a war will start if Jews enter the al Aqsa compound?

I remember being nonplussed when I read that an English MP had caused ?shockwaves? when he attended the funeral of a Scottish judge due to (what I perceived as) some absurd religious prohibition within the Church. Needless to say the conflict in Northern Ireland goes beyond the realms of ?tragic? when schoolchildren are heckled when crossing Protestant-Catholic neighbourhood borders. Everyone knows of my rage when Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks did not attend the funeral of Holocaust survivor and humanist Rabbi Dr Hugo Gryn, and then added salt to his millions of admirers? wounds by reportedly writing to Dayan Chanoch Padwa that Gryn was a destroyer of the Faith.

So, it astounds me that a reasonable individual in Jordan can suggest that unprecedented religious war could erupt if Jews set foot on the Temple Mount. (Dear friends, why is it called the Temple Mount?)

Indeed, the current Intifadah spawned the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and was prompted by the visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount. I absolutely believe to the depths of my soul that had Yasser Arafat decided to visit a synagogue anywhere in the world there would have been anger and revulsion from congregants who saw him as a blood-soaked terrorist but never could I imagine any shulgoer in any major city of the world launching a holy war to prevent Muslim neighbours from visiting their temple.

In another article we will be looking at the BBC?s recent documentary about the ?wall? meant to divide Palestinians from Israel. No-one likes the idea of total separation and a Berlin-style scenario, but this moment has arrived because many Israeli Jews have lived with violence for over half a century and can see no alternative. This is different from ?Holy War.? Scratch an Israeli, and he or she will feel sorrow that things have reached this low point.

The concept of ?jihad? does not exist in Jewish teachings, despite the panellists on BBC ?Question Time? who describe their ?fact-finding trips? to Israel as frightening journeys skirting ?violent settlers bent on murder.? (Except for the extreme case of Baruch Goldstein, I do not see a massive tableau of Jewish settlers ?bent on murder.?)

All religions have been through blood-curdling phases. If a Road Map to Peace is to work, Islam must open its heart and arms to its non-Muslim neighbours. It is inconceivable that God, Allah or Jehovah wishes war and bloodshed if another sect of human beings wishes to visit a mosque that resonates with its own even more ancient history.


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