I wanted to publish this letter here in the Times of Israel about a month after the infamous Temple Mount article broke in the New York Times. Which one in particular are we talking about? Of course, the article by Gladstone that is said to have been the underpinnings
for the breakout of violence surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is still seething today. As you read these words, there are knife attacks still being carried out by Arabs in places like Hebron and Gush Etzion, all being somehow connected by their Palestinian instigators to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount. Why do these terrorists feel so empowered?
The following is my Open Letter to the Editor of the New York Times:
In my recent book about the whereabouts of the enigmatic Ark of the Covenant and other Temple treasures, there is an interview with premier archaeologist and Israel Prize winner, Dr. Gabriel Barkay, where we discuss this relatively new phenomenon, coined by a good friend, (the late Charlie Levine), as “Temple Denial Syndrome,” or TDS for short. Originally kicked off by Yasser Arafat during the Camp David negotiations in 2000 with President Bill Clinton, TDS was never really taken seriously by the western mainstream media. Arafat knew, like Hitler did, that if you propagate a lie enough times and successfully sell it to the general public, it will eventually stick. TDS wasn’t a newsworthy item because it had no any credibility. Until now that is.
The recent article in the New York Times: Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place has a downright biased agenda that most of your readers will (hopefully) see through. Your paper is subtly manipulating history towards the political dictates of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and their propaganda machine, lending legitimacy to their false claims of historical ownership of the Temple Mount complex. Is there any basis for such a claim in the Islamic religion – the Quran for instance? A journalist worth his/her weight will research the subject matter thoroughly, and look up all the relevant material.
How can your journalists simply ignore the age-old texts of the Talmud (Tractates Middot and Tamid) that describe in precise detail the Herodian Temple and its priestly service on that very spot? What about the archeological relics and antiquities from the First Temple that have been discovered by people like Dr. Barkay? Sigh… – those burdensome facts just keep getting in the way, don’t they! And what does the Christian religion dictate? Indeed, on this last point, please do us all a favor, and get a reporter to go and ask the Pope himself. I’m assuming he would confirm the historical truth, but who knows as to where he is holding politically vis-à-vis the Arabs and the Jews. We in Israel have come to realize that he, like your paper, has no love for Israel.
But could it be that TDS is actually an issue now at the New York Times newspaper? Rick Gladstone’s article claims to have interviewed “expert” archaeological scholars as if they really doubt that the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif) is the location of where the biblical Jewish Temples once stood. He deliberately mixes between not having enough evidence about the exact location of the Temple within the Temple Mount, and the question as to whether the Temple Mount itself was the location of the Temple. This is evident in the very title of the article! Apparently, according to Gladstone, this critical issue was “never definitively answered.” Has he been living on the same planet as all the rest of us? (Or perhaps he’s related to the infamous Richard Gladstone, and his “Gladstone Report” on the Gaza War.) That’s like asking: “Was the White House always in Washington, D.C.?”
Could it be that I’m missing something here? Perhaps. Either way, Rick should at the very least pick up a copy of the book: The A.R.K. Report! It’s all there. In fact, any treatise from any Muslim cleric, Sheik, or Jerusalem Mufti before 1930 writes outright in black and white that the Haram al-Sharif is in fact the site of the two Jewish Temples. But don’t take my word for it – Google it! I would even go as far as saying to check the Quran itself, but alas, there is no mention of Jerusalem there – not even once.
Following the tragic events this week here in the Holy Land, I have become used to the Times holding no accountability to the Palestinian Authority for incitement to hatred, and the stabbing deaths that have directly resulted from it. Your paper has managed to fall in line quite nicely with the PA’s strategy, which happens to be in synch with the White House State Dept.’s general approach to the Middle East conflict. Namely, that foreign policy has nothing to do with reality on the ground, and is strictly politically motivated, like the article you chose to publish. At the time of writing this letter, a 3rd Intifada has already been called, in complete violation of the Oslo Accords, and international law. But misinformation is now the norm when it comes to reporting on the PA. This can be proved by simply listening to the recent speech by Mahmood Abbas at the UN, full of deceit and misinformation. Here’s an example from your article that would seem to back that up: “…after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem…” – since when is a war that was fought in self defense and the resulting land conquered, considered as “occupation?” Who started that war? It was totally unprovoked by Israel!
At the risk of being redundant, Jerusalem wasn’t necessarily “occupied” by all those peoples over the centuries, as Goldstone would have us believe, but in fact, the Temple Mount itself was originally chosen by God Himself as the place where He would specifically place His Name, i.e. – the Jewish priests would actually SAY His (otherwise ineffable) holy name when uttering the subscribed priestly blessings there, in both Temples. Significantly, Mount Moriah was bought by King David for 50, then later, 600 gold coins, signifying beyond a doubt that the property itself historically belongs to the Jews. The Bible itself is the undisputed contract!
To be fair, and perhaps to Goldstone’s credit, according to a new theory that I bring to light in my book, the Dome of the Rock wasn’t the precise location of the two Temples. The precise location was/is in an open area further to the southwest of the Dome, but still on the mountain itself. How can he even insinuate that the Temple Mount was not the place where the Temples existed?
I mean really. I used to be an avid reader of the Times, and even followed Gladstone’s openly biased articles about Israel as compared with the Palestinian narrative. But with this recent article re: the Temple Mount – have you guys lost ALL sense of integrity? Shame on you!
I myself am a Kohen (of Jewish priestly descent) tracing our family roots back to the very men that served in that Temple before it was destroyed in 70 AD. My ancestors didn’t serve God in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon or Sinai. They lived in and around Jerusalem in the Land of Israel, the Land that God gave the descendants of Abraham. Now that part really IS in the Quran.
What are you waiting for? We expect the world of the New York Times, but like any good journalist, get your facts straight, and just look it up!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: As a result of sending this Opinion piece to the NYTimes, it apparently inspired them to issue a (limited) “correction” the next day, and in fact re-edit the whole original article. However, the damage was done in the millions that read the paper edition on October 8, 2015.