In a reversal of an earlier decision, Jerusalem police have said they will not allow members of the Temple Mount Faithful organization to place a pair of symbolic cornerstones for a “Third Temple” yesterday outside the Old City.
“Due to the group’s public announcements that it plans to hold the ceremony on the Temple Mount, in complete contradiction to the terms agreed upon with police, it was decided not to allow the ceremony to proceed,” Jerusalem police said in a statement released Wednesday night, according to the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
A similar ceremony held by the group last summer on Tisha Be’av, the day marking the destruction of the previous two temples, sparked Arab rioting on the Temple Mount – also the location of the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque.
On Monday, Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Mickey Levy said that “in a democratic state” the group had the right to conduct its cornerstone ceremony, even though it was viewed by many as an unnecessary provocation, according to the Post.
He did say, however, that the two 4.5 ton stones would not be allowed inside the Old City or on Temple Mount.
Gershon Solomon, the leader of the Temple Mount Faithful, criticized the decision, saying police had given in to Arab pressure. He said the police “capitulation to Arab threats of violence” was an “ugly last minute trick.”
WND reported Sept. 26 that the event, scheduled for yesterday, had the full blessing and endorsement of authorities.
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.
In its Vision of Redemption, the Temple Mount Faithful 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.
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.