Gedalyah Reback

I’m not an extremist. I want the 3rd Temple.

It’s extreme to want to have a the Third Temple built?

That’s what Tzipi Livni’s rhetoric is saying. Her attack on Jeremy Gimpel is exaggerated and shows more about her than about Gimpel. She’s saying the mere demand for a Third Temple is extreme in and of itself. It’s this that’s extreme. This alienates religious Israelis from the left and the peace process. It doesn’t involve us. It doesn’t consider what we want. This is why we still have “sectarian” parties – because Shelly doesn’t care. Lapid doesn’t consider our wants. For damn sure Tzipi Livni doesn’t care about Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem.

Tzipi Livni is bad for Israel.
Tzipi Livni doesn’t understand religious Jews and she doesn’t want to. (Photo credit: CC-BY Sandy Teperson on Flickr)

He doesn’t aim to blow up the Dome of the Rock as Livni wants to put it. Here I am saying that there’s no need to blow up the Dome of the Rock. It’s not what I want. I don’t want to watch a missile cruise into the Temple Mount to make way for new construction.

But indeed I want to build the Third Temple in my lifetime. It should be a regular part of the political discourse of Israel and the Palestinians; of Judaism and Islam.

Jeremy Gimpel and the Temple Mount
Jeremy Gimpel is not wrong. The Third Temple is a political demand. It should be a reality.

Where was Tzipi Livni all those times we needed someone to cry out to the United Nations to stop the deliberate destruction of Jewish artifacts by the Waqf atop the Temple Mount – the deliberate dumping of excavation materials in the garbage?  Where was she last month?  Livni only cares about her own place in the Knesset.  She’s not safeguarding Israeli cultural or religious interests negotiating with the Palestinians . . . she’s not even negotiating.

Western Wall with holier Temple Mount and the adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a holier place than the Dome of the Rock to Muslims, while the Temple Mount is the holiest locale in all of Judaism. (Photo credit: CC-BY 陈霆, Ting Chen, Wing, on Flickr)

If Livni were interested in actually maintaining a negotiating position, she’d know that the Dome of the Rock itself is nowhere near as important a site in Islam as its neighbor, the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  For lack of a better term, the Dome is . . . well . . . fallible.

Fine, Jeremy Gimpel put it the wrong way. But he’s not wrong. He certainly can’t be held for incitement over a comment made before he knew he’d be running in an election two years later. Most importantly, his comments are a signal the Orthodox Jewish world is not hiding behind pages of the Talmud that say only the Messiah himself can lay the foundation stone of the Third Temple.  The place of the Temple Mount is part of political discourse.

The Temple isn’t a fantasy.  It’s a rational political demand.

The Religious Zionist community isn’t just saying they’re sick of the sycophantic promises by Mahmoud Abbas of peace through two states. If a two state solution is going to happen, it can’t happen the way the world is putting it. The community is sick of selling out its interests, so it will push them harder. We’re not just talking about settlements. This is about the big one. This is about the Temple.

About the Author
Gedalyah Reback is an experienced writer on technology, startups, the Middle East and Islam. He also focuses on issues of personal status in Judaism, namely conversion.