Yehuda Hausman

The Temple Mount War: The Inevitable Name

Israeli soldiers celebrate the capture of the Temple Mount during the Six Day War, June 1967

This Sunday, July 7, marks nine months of continuous conflict. Last night, I found myself in a fervent argument with a friend about Jews visiting the Temple Mount. He opposed it, calling such visits ‘inflammatory’ and religiously unfounded. I countered, impassioned, that his view revealed a profound ignorance of the conflict’s essence. Israel, yet to officially name this conflict, should call it the ‘Temple Mount War’—exactly how Hamas and Iran’s terrorist allies perceive it.

Hamas named its October 7 attack ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’. Al-Aqsa, known to Muslims as the entire compound that includes both the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock, is Islam’s name for what Jews have referred to for over three millennia as the Temple Mount—‘Har HaBayit’. To Hamas, joined by Hezbollah and others, this is a holy war. Their goal is to erase Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and Israel in the name of Allah.

In the West, we often fail to recognize the religious dimensions of conflicts, adhering instead to the secular maxim, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’, thus separating church and state. However, our adversaries, such as ISIS, the Taliban, and Hezbollah, are committed to the annihilation of Jews and Christians. Ignoring this reality is tantamount to showing up on the wrong battlefield. While we advocate for democracy and religious freedom, we are fundamentally defending Judaism and Christianity against those who seek their demise.

“First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people,” the jihadists proclaim.

Our relationship with the Temple Mount is complex and bitter-sweet. The taste of the Temple’s ashes still lingers in our collective memory. Our minimalistic approach and historical reluctance to seek converts may cause us to underestimate our enemies. The prophet Isaiah promises, “I shall make you joyful in my sacred home… for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7) If God’s intention was to welcome the worship of non-Jews in His earthly abode, then who are we to argue?

Nevertheless, the adversary Israel faces disagrees. They believe that ultimately, there can only be one faith. Any control by Israel over the Temple Mount, they see as a blasphemy. Jewish sovereignty anywhere in Israel is, to them, an affront to their beliefs. It doesn’t matter whether Jews visit the Temple Mount daily, annually, or never. The war was not triggered by a single visit; it’s a fundamental struggle over sovereignty.

Moreover, we must also recapture control of the north. Hezbollah has forced 80,000 Israelis from their homes along the Lebanese border, celebrating each withdrawal as a step towards their goal. Our response should echo the ancient Israelites’ conflicts with the Canaanites—to disprove the power of false gods. Israel must continue the fight until it has definitively demonstrated that Islamist doctrines are fallacies.

We invest heavily in understanding the tactics of “the terrorists”; equally important is to understand their motivations. If we know why they fight, our path to victory becomes clearer, and their defeat, God willing, will be hastened.

About the Author
Yehuda Hausman lives in Los Angeles in the Pico-Robertson area. He is married with two beautiful children in local Day Schools. He fantasizes about making aliyah and bringing Pickleball to Eretz Yisrael. He thinks it's the perfect sport for the country.