TROUBLE IN THE HOLY LAND
'Third Temple' event on again
Israeli government sanctions laying of cornerstones
By Jon Dougherty
In what could trigger further violence between Jews and Palestinians, an Israeli organization says it has rescheduled earlier plans to "lay and anoint" the cornerstones for the "Third Temple of Israel."
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, in a statement released yesterday, said the event was being planned for Oct. 4 at 9:30 a.m. local time in Israel. Officials are instructing those who wish to participate "to march … to the Temple Mount and to participate in the ceremony of the anointing of the two cornerstones."
The event has the blessing of the Israeli government, which has pledged to protect event organizers and participants, the group said. Last October the event was canceled by Jerusalem police over safety concerns, WorldNetDaily reported.
Two 4.5-ton blocks of marble will be anointed as cornerstones for the new temple.
In biblical times, the people of Israel worshipped at the temple in Jerusalem – the hub of Jewish activity. After Israel's enemies destroyed the temple, it was rebuilt only to be destroyed again in A.D. 70 by the Roman Empire.
Previous efforts by the group to lay the cornerstone of the Third Temple were also stopped by officials due to the potential for further violence in the war-torn region.
The event poses a threat to Muslims, since the site of the new temple, the Temple Mount, is also the location of the Dome of the Rock – a Muslim mosque.
Some Israelis believe that to begin full-scale construction of the temple, the Dome of the Rock must first be torn down. Others believe the temple can be built adjacent to the Muslim shrine.
Arabs say any effort to rebuild the temple would amount to a "grave provocation."
In its "Vision of Redemption," the Temple Mount Faithful Movement states its belief that the creation of the modern state of Israel is "the beginning of the redemption of the world," which is completed with the building of the Third Temple.
According to yesterday's press release, the group plans little changes in the way it will stage the event from previous attempts. Group members and participants are to gather at the Western Wall plaza, where the Wailing Wall is located. From there, participants will march to the Temple Mount.
In the past, members of the group were allowed to go to the Temple Mount as individuals.
In July, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., introduced a measure that would halt all U.S. monetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority until excavation of the Temple Mount – being undertaken by Chairman Yasser Arafat – is stopped.
Two weeks before introducing his bill, Cantor returned from a trip to Israel, where he says he met with individuals and government officials who verified the media reports of the destruction