This week, Israeli-Arab Knesset Member Taleb El-Sana had told a mob of "Nakba day" protesters in the town of Umm El Fahm that "As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the Nakba is equivalent to the destruction of the First and Second Temples." El-Sana, one of the primary tacticians in the pathetic game of de-legitimizing Israel, has outdone himself. This comparison represents a new level of obscenity, and the lewdest and most ribald obeisance before the golden calf of moral equivalency.
The Holy Temple of Jerusalem represents a universal vision of harmony, peace and unity which transcends Israel’s personal identity. The first 40 of years of King Solomon’s Temple witnessed the only period in human history during which no war took place anywhere on the globe. Israel’s descent into idolatry torpedoed that idyllic period, but the mandate of each of Israel’s prophets was to keep our nation and all mankind focused on the optimistic promise of the future.
In the words of Isaiah: “It will happen in the end of days: The mountain of the Temple of the Lord will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it. Many peoples will go and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths. For from Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of G-d from Jerusalem. He will judge among the nations and will settle the arguments of many peoples…They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer study warfare.”
This is the vision of the Holy Temple; a time marked by spiritual illumination and the cessation of war, a time, unparalleled in history, when violence in any form will cease to exist. Indeed, Haggai the prophet declares the Holy Temple as the secret of the elusive peace that Israel so fervently seeks: “And in this place I will grant peace, the word of the Lord of Hosts.”
In their prophecies concerning the Holy Temple, all Jews like Isaiah and Haggai were saying was give peace a chance. “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations,” declares Isaiah. This is a far cry from the Palestinian “catastrophe,” which commemorates the anniversary of – which catastrophe? - the catastrophe of their having listened to the Arab leaders who, planning the genocide of the newly declared state of Israel called upon their people to abandon their homes while they make short shrift of the Jews.
That didn’t happen. Instead, like the vision of the future Holy Temple, the State of Israel became a beacon of hope, equality, and advancement for all mankind…a foreshadowing, a taste of the future world.
The Holy Temple isn’t about the Jewish people. It is about all mankind united, and living a life of purpose, direction, joy and prosperity. Indeed, the sages of Israel teach that “Had the nations of the world only known how much they benefited from the Holy Temple, they would not have destroyed it; they would have surrounded it with fortresses to protect it” (Bamidbar Rabba 1,3).
In contrast, the "Nakba" commemorates the loss of a homeland which the Palestinians never possessed. The Land of Israel, however, was the national homeland of the Jewish people before anyone ever dreamed of inventing the Palestinian people. The connection between Israel and her land was severed when the Holy Temple was destroyed, and a 2,000 year exile began. That’s the real catastrophe.
Comparing "Nakba Day" to the destruction of the Holy Temple is the brainchild of a mindset which is beyond mere manipulation and cynicism…but like the original Arab leaders responsible for their “catastrophe,” it reveals a deeper, more sinister layer of intent, born of a culture that idealizes not the peaceful vision of Israel’s prophets, but total intolerance and the brutal oppression of others.
So according to MK El Sana, it turns out that there really was a Holy Temple? That means that there really was a Jewish Jerusalem 2,000 + years ago. That means that there really is a historical, religious, national, moral, and ethical raison d’être for Israel to reclaim Jerusalem and re-Judaize it. This is great news, and just in time to celebrate Jerusalem Day this Sunday, May 20th, the 45th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem and its unification by the forces of the IDF.
Let us celebrate Jerusalem Day in the spirit of the prophet Ezekial, to be delivered personally to MK El Sana:
“I will seal a covenant of peace with them; it will be an eternal covenant with them, and I will place My sanctuary among them forever…I will be a G-d to them and they will be a people to Me…Then the nations will know that I am G-d who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary will be among them forever.”
Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of The Temple Institute
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