Plans by an Israeli group to lay the cornerstone of the Third Temple of
Israel were quashed by Jerusalem police today, which cited safety reasons
for its actions.
Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement had
planned to ascend the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem with a four-and-a-half ton block of marble that was to be anointed as a cornerstone of the Third 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 70 A.D. 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. 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.
Police allowed the Temple Mount Faithful to gather only at the Western Wall plaza, where the Wailing Wall is located — the only remaining structure from the Second Temple. From there, the group was to march to the holiest of places for Israelis. In the past, members of the group were allowed to go to the Temple Mount as individuals. However, that practice was not continued today.
The Arab-American community last week urged U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright to encourage the Israeli government to prevent the laying of the cornerstone, calling the act a “blatant provocation.”
Vice President of the
American Committee on Jerusalem Khalil Jahshan, whose group sent the letter to Albright, supported the Jerusalem police’s decision to stop the event.
“This is a provocative action from an extremist group,” Jahshan said today. “Preventing that visit, hopefully, saved violence and bloodshed on both sides.”
Gershon Salomon, leader of the Temple Mount Faithful, called the police’s decision a “tragedy for the Jewish people, and a capitulation to the brutal Arab violence of the past two weeks,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
A cornerstone for 3rd Temple?