Thursday, June 5, 2008

Christianity’s Stake in the Temple Mount

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

I call upon Christians, indeed, Gentiles, everywhere, to speak up. Speak up for your own sake as well as for the sale of Israel, by organized and vehement opposition to the Olmert Government’s plan to withdraw from eastern Jerusalem and abandon the Holy of Holies, the Temple Mount.

Bear in mind that this treacherous plan has the support of Israel’s very Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and its impotent Defense Minister Ehud Barak. One of these ministers may succeed Ehud Olmert as Israel’s Prime Minister, and neither of them is your friend. Let me exsplain.

In one respect the Temple Mount is of greater significance to Christians and Gentile world than it is to Israel. Listen to the voice of Israel speaking through its leaders, the disparaged Pharisees regarding the sacrifices of seventy calves during the eight days of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, and note their humanitarianism.

In Leviticus Rabbah we read: “If the nations of the world had known how useful the Temple was to them, they would have surrounded it with fortified camps to protect it, for it was more useful to them than to Israel.”

A Midrash in the Song of Songs (4:1) puts it this way:

“Your eyes are like doves” means that just as the dove (offered at the Temple) atones for everyone, so Israel atones for all peoples. For the seventy calves which were burned at the altar at the Feast of Tabernacles were offered on behalf of the nations, in order that their existence might be maintained in this world, which is why it is written in Psalms 109:4: “In return for my love they laid obstacles in my path, yet I pray for them.”

In the treatise Sukkot in the Talmud, we encounter a similar passage:

R. Jochanan says, “Woe to the Gentiles for what they have lost (in losing the Temple). For when the Temple was standing. Atonement was made for them on the altar (by means of the seventy calves offered in sacrifice). But now how will they atone?”

Yes, Israel’s turncoat government has decided to cede the Temple Mount to the enemies of mankind. How did such a government come into power?

Let’s go back to the Autumn of 2005 when Ariel Sharon formed the Kadima Party. But wait! Didn’t he become Prime Minister because his Likud Party won 38 seats in the 2003 elections? Wasn’t the paramount issue of that election Labor’s policy of “unilateral disengagement” from Gaza? Didn’t the parties opposed to that policy win 84 seats, 70% of the Knesset’s membership? But this means that an overwhelming majority of people rejected Labor’s policy!

How was it then possible for Sharon to adopt the opposition party’s policy and thus become Labor’s surrogate prime minister? How could he nullify the 2003 election? Isn’t Israel a democracy?

Moreover, how is it that the Knesset, contrary to the warnings of Israel’s highest military and intelligence officials, enacted “disengagement” into law by a vote of 67 to 45 when the parties that campaigned against that policy won 84 seats?

How was Sharon able to induce 22 Likud MKs to violate their pledge to the nations by voting in favor of that law? Would they have succumbed to Sharon’s political blandishments or arm-twisting had they been individually elected by and accountable to the voters in constituency elections—the practiced of some 85 democracies, 26 of which are smaller in size and population than Israel?

Can it be that Israel, though democratic compared to its Arab neighbors—hardly a cause for national pride—is not in truth a representative democracy? Let the truth come forth from Jerusalem, the City of Truth.

Consider Kadima again. Have you ever heard of a democracy in which a party that had never competed in an election nonetheless gained control of the government as Kadima did toward the end of 2005? It was not until the March 2006 elections that Kadima competed in an election, and all it won was a mere 29 seats—the lowest ever for a ruling party. To form a government, Kadima chairman Ehud Olmert needed coalition partners, including Labor, which had won only 19 seats. This enabled Labor chairman Amir Peretz to become Israel’s inept Defense Minister.

Is it any wonder that the Second Lebanon War was a fiasco for Israel and a victory for Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy? But should we blame this fiasco solely on the ineptitude of Olmert and Peretz and ignore the SYSTEM of government that put them in office?

What shall we say of a SYTEM of government that allowed Olmert to remain in power even though the Winograd Report faulted him for ineptitude, and when his public approval rating dropped to 3%. There was no accountability: no resignation, no removal from office by a Knesset vote of no confidence, and of course no impeachment. The truth is that no Labor- or Likud-led government has ever been toppled by a vote of no-confidence? Yet this is called a “democracy’! I call it a democratically elected dictatorship imposed on the people of Israel; a people whose Declaration of Independence prescribed a constitution—one that has yet to see the light of day. And you know why: the ruling elites did not want to be restrained by the people.

And so a subtle form of dictatorship implemented the Gaza retreat. There was mo Knesset pr public debagte when the Sharon government decided to withdraw from Gaza, expel Gaza’s 8,000 Jewish residents from their lawful homes, and destroy their schools and synagogues, their farms and factories. This unspeakable crime was committed with the sanction of Israel’s Supreme Court, a self-perpetuating oligarchy which had the audacity to call Gaza, along with Judea and Samaria, “belligerent occupied territory.” This ruling contradicts long-established international law, which turned the God-given right of the Jewish people over Eretz Israel into a right recognized by the 52 members of the League of Nations.

By the way, that right was affirmed by the 1925 Anglo-American Convention on Palestine. The treaty was ratified by the Senate and remains in force to this day as the supreme law of the land. The current Bush administration’s support of an Arab state on Eretz Israel therefore constitutes a clear violation of that treaty. President Bush is violating the Constitution. He is also violating his own religion by supporting the surrender of the Temple Mount by Ehud Olmert. Is it not revealing that Olmert, speaking as Vice Premier in June 2005, told a New York audience that he and his colleagues were tired of being courageous, which means tired of being Jewish!

But now, speaking from the Jerusalem, City of Truth, let me answer the question: “What is it that legitimates the Olmert government and enables it to surrender the Temple Mount to mankind’s enemies?” Is it not Israel’s reputation as a democracy? Is it not Israel’s democratic reputation that endows its ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—with respectability in America?

Perhaps you will say, “Yes, but it is Israel’s democratic reputation that prompts the US to give Israel $2.28 billion a year in military aid.” Let me therefore remind you that former undersecretary of state Joseph Sisco once said Israel would not get a cent from the US if it wasn’t worth it. Ponder these facts:

Ÿ For FY 2006, US military grants to Israel was $2.28 BN.

Ÿ Since Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2006 was $170.3BN, total US aid to Israel was less than 1.5% of its GDP! (Israel spent more than that building the “security fence” and redeploying the IDF from Gaza.

Ÿ Viewed over a longer time period – say between 1991 and 2006 – total US military grants and economic assistance to Israel was approximately $47.5B.

What has the US received from Israel in return?

Ÿ Israel must spend about 74% of US military aid in the United States, where it provides jobs for an estimated 50,000 American workingmen.

Ÿ Total exports from the 50 states of the American Union to Israel between 1991and 2006 was $102.4B – more than twice the $47.5B Israel received in US aid during this period. The annual average of US exports to Israel was $6.4BN per year, more than twice the average American aid package. In fact, total exports to Israel from the 50 states in 2006 was almost $11BN – more than four times the US military-economic aid package!

Ÿ Unknown to many observers, US military aid to Israel creates a demand for, and the purchase of, tens of billions of dollars worth of US weaponry by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. US grants to Israel – far from imposing a burden on the American taxpayer – actually enriches the American economy. (American arms manufacturers know this. So do Senators and Representatives who represent states in which corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed, and General Dynamics are located. These elected officials, along with these corporations, have vested interests in opposing any sanctions against Israel if its government were to take a more independent and vigorous stand against the Palestinian Authority.)

Ÿ According to Gen. George Keegan, a former chief of US Air Force Intelligence, between 1974 and 1990, Israeli aid to America was worth between $50-80BN in intelligence, research and development savings, Soviet weapons systems captured and transferred to the Pentagon, and testing Soviet military doctrines up to 1990 when the USSR collapsed. Senator Daniel Inouye put it this way: “The contribution made by Israeli intelligence to America is greater than that provided by all NATO countries combined.”

Moreover, military aid to Israel is good business: it prompts Arab states to purchase tens of billions of dollars of arms from US suppliers.

So it’s simplistic to think US aid to Israel is animated by the idea that Israel is a democracy. Egypt, a dictatorship, gets the equivalent military aid from the US.

In any event, Israel’s reputation as a democracy has a downside. First, it entrenches Israel’s appeasement-oriented Jewish politicians in power. Second, since Israel is regarded as a democracy, it is expected to makes concessions to Arab despots. This is called “confidence building” measures, which has resulted in the release of over 7,000 unrepentant terrorists—an issue never subjected to public debate in this great “democracy.”

Returning, now, to the Temple Mount, ponder the words of another Jewish Sage: R. Pinchas, who said: “All the seventy bullocks which Israel sacrificed during Sukkot were on behalf of the seventy nations of the world, that they might not perish for their sins.”

Christians of America, raise your voices in protest against a government that would abandon the Temple Mount. Our redemption—your redemption—is at stake in this sacred issue.

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