Jews in Holy Land? What Jews?

By Alexander Maistrovoy

Israeli journalist with the Russian-language Israeli newspaper Novosty Nedely

 August 23, 2010 (First published March 9, 2010)

Signs of the times





In all the lands it conquered, Islam has replaced indigenous places of worship with mosques..."

The Israeli government announced that it would include the Cave of the Patriarchs (Me’arat HaMachpelah) in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as part of a comprehensive plan to preserve Israel’s national heritage and religious sites (”Moreshet”). The reaction of the Arab (and all Islamic) world to the decision has once again showed the real essence of the “Arab-Israeli conflict”, which actually is the holy war that Arabs had proclaimed against the Jews.

Any conflict can be resolved if the conflicting parties recognize each other’s right of existence. It becomes basically irresolvable if one of parties refuses to recognize the other. The key questions of borders, the status of Jerusalem and refugees are difficult but could be resolved in case Arabs recognized the right of the Jews to live in their land.

Arabs do not recognize it. All their policy, strategy, ideology is directed to depriving the Jews of any connection with the land of Israel: virtually, and then physically to uproot the Jews from the history of the Holy Land. Jews have neither antiquities nor holy sites, they have no past. In other words, they do not belong to this land and have no right to exist at all.
It is the genocidal approach that is characteristic of Islam. Power and possession are inherent parts of religious attitude in Islam. This approach extends to all other religions, not only to Judaism. The idea consists in depriving other cultures of their spiritual base to achieve total physical domination over them.

The famous Belgian orientalist Koenraad Elst in his book “Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam” writes:

In all the lands it conquered, Islam has replaced indigenous places of worship with mosques. In Iran, there are no ancient Zoroastrians or Manichean shrines left. In Central Asia, there are no Buddhist temples left. Similarly, in India (except the far South where Islam penetrated rather late) there are practically no Hindu temples that have survived the Muslim period (over 10,000 destroyed). But there are thousands of mosques built on the foundations of Hindu temples (for example, the Ayodhya temple).”

Nowadays, the same policy is being carried out towards the Jews. The ignorance, hypocrisy, and soullessness of the Western world make the problem easier to overcome.

Jerusalem has never been a holy Muslim place.

Statements about the city being “the third holy place of Islam” appeared in the thirties of the last century. First they were announced by notorious Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini. He aspired to stir up religious fanaticism among an apathetic local population. Al-Husseini worked vigorously to raise Jerusalem’s status as an Islamic holy center. He renovated the mosques that had fallen into complete disrepair on the Temple Mount while conducting an unceasing campaign regarding the imminent Jewish “threat” to Muslim holy sites.

(It is a well-known fact that Hussein collaborated with Hitler in the “final solution of the Jewish question”. Less known is that he was appointed to the post of the High Commissioner by a Jew Herbert Samuel).

Earlier all Arabian historians and scientists referred to Jerusalem and, first of all, the Temple Mount, as the Jewish holy site only. In the 13th century an Arab geographer Yakut said: “Mecca is holy to Moslems and Jerusalem to the Jews”.

On the Temple Mount “triumphant soldiers of Islam” behaved in the same way as they did everywhere where they appeared: destroyed local holy sites and replaced them with their own. When Caliph Omar entered the city of Jerusalem, there was only one holy site on the Temple Mount at that time: the Byzantine Church of Saint Mary of Justinian. Caliph Abd El Malik built here the Dome of the Rock that is still incorrectly called “Omar Mosque”. 20 years later his son, Abd El-Wahd, reconstructed the Church of Saint Mary and converted it into Al-Aqsa mosque.

A historian Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann wrote:

“With this understood, it is no wonder that Mohammed issued a strict prohibition against facing Jerusalem in prayer, a practice that had been tolerated only for some months in order to lure Jews to convert to Islam. When that effort failed, Mohammed put an abrupt stop to it on February 12, 624. Jerusalem simply never held any sanctity for the Moslems themselves, but only for the Jews in their domain”.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran

The myth about Jerusalem being “the third holy place of Islam” began to spread quickly after 1967. Muhammad is believed by all Muslims to have ascended into heaven alive at the site of the Dome of the Rock. Earlier this legend was not considered to be basic in Muslim mythology. Rabbi Joseph Katz wrote that the present Arabian name of Jerusalem “el-KuDS” is an abbreviation for another Arabic name used for Jerusalem until the last century, “bet el-maKDeS”. Under the Arab rule, in the 10th century Jerusalem was always called “bet el maKDeS” The name “BeT el-MaKDeS” is a translation of the Aramaic and Hebrew “BeiT ha-MiKDaSH”, which means Temple”.

As I have already told, Jerusalem became the holy city of Islam, thanks to Haj Amin Al-Husseini. In 1947 the Saudis published “Fatwa” (a religious ruling) calling for “rescuing the Temple Mount from the Jews”. After 1967, Yassir Arafat used this slogan to transform the conflict with Israel to a religious war. Today, Arabs do not recognize that there was the Temple here, or that Jerusalem has ever had any relation to the Jews. What’s more, the existence of the Jews, as a religious and ethnic community, is also denied. The PA Mufti, Ikrima Sabri, appointed by Yassir Arafat, said that there was no such thing as the Western (or “Wailing”) Wall. He claimed that it was the “part of the walls of the Al Aqsa mosque” and called it “Al Burak Wall”.

For decades, the Jerusalem Waqf has been destroying unique Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount under different pretexts. Thousands of tons of dirt full of artifacts were carted away and dumped. If it goes on like this, there will soon be no traces of the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.

That was the Jerusalem story.

Now about Me’arat HaMachpela and Rachel’s Tomb. Genesis, Chapter 23, tells us that Abraham purchased the Cave of the Patriarchs to bury his wife, Sarah. Genesis 35:19, describes that Rachel “died and was buried on the road to Efrata which is Bethlehem”.

It had happened about two thousand years before Islam appeared. Now we learn that Me’arat HaMachpela and Rachel’s Tomb have always belonged to Arabs. According to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas the Israeli cabinet’s decision is a “serious provocation that may lead to religious war”. The USA, EU, and UN have urged Israel to exercise restraint.
We also learn that both sites have no connection to the Jews. One of them is named the Sanctuary of Abraham (Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi), and the second Bilal Ibn Ribah mosque. By the way, Bilal Ibn Ribah mosque was built by the Muslims only a thousand years ago.

All of this without any doubt is a “continuing Israeli provocation”. It can cease only in one case: with the disappearance of Israel and its citizens. In the same way as Zoroastrians and Manichees ceased to exist. As Hindu and Buddhist temples disappeared. As the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian is gone from the Temple Mount and the “Wailing Wall” got its “real” name: “Al Burak Wall”. During the centuries everything that became part of “Dar Al-Islam” (“Land of Islam”) has ceased to exist.


Alexander Maistrovoy’s bio: "I was born in Moscow in 1960. In the 80s I began working in journalism and my work was published in various Moscow newspapers. I immigrated to Israel in 1988 where I work for the Russian-language Israeli press. For about fifteen years I’ve been a political analyst and journalist at the newspaper Novosty Nedely (“News of the Week”). I live in Jerusalem, write about politics, social life and religion. A number of English Internet editions and websites have published my work."


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See also Signs of the times and Media-made "Foes" and Deceptive "Friends"

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