Personally, I think it’s crazy for Israel to concede any real estate to the Arabs – and that would go double for something as psychologically and spiritually significant as the Temple Mount.
But there may indeed be more here than meets the eye – something of profound archaeological and spiritual significance.
First the facts.
Israel captured Old Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War in block-to-block fighting that was costly in terms of human lives and blood.
It represented a huge morale boost for the tiny Jewish state. It also gave credence to the belief that the ancient Hebrew prophecies that Israel would be reborn after nearly 2,000 years of being scattered to the four winds and that Jerusalem would be a part of the revived Promised Land were being realized in the 20th century. Among those prophecies in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Amos, Micah, Zephaniah, Zechariah and Malachi were specific predictions that Jerusalem would be in the hands of the Jews – but greatly threatened by enemies – when Messiah came to rule.
For 19 centuries, both Jews and Christians wondered how those prophecies could ever be fulfilled with Jerusalem and what had been the nation of Israel in the hands of gentiles.
However, nearly as quickly as Israel recaptured Jerusalem in 1967, the politicians began negotiating to hand back the Temple Mount to Jordan. When Jordan refused to accept it, they gave administrative authority over the prize to Muslim clerics because two Islamic mosques rest atop what is called the Temple Mount, regarded by most Jews as the site of the first and second Temples. While Israel has maintained claims to the small piece of land, the Islamic Waqf has done its best to discourage Jews from visiting and praying there ever since.
Like most of the world, until recently I was convinced the Temple Mount was indisputably the resting place of the Temple. Where else could it be?
But some recent archaeological work adjacent to the Temple Mount suggests there may very well be a more likely site.
It turns out the Temple Mount may not be the Temple Mount at all, but rather the foundation of the Roman fortress Antonia, which was actually used by Roman provincial soldiers to destroy the Temple – next door.
The recent excavations at the City of David, in the very shadow of the Temple Mount, lend some authenticity to this idea.
Could this be a factor in Israel’s willingness to even consider giving up what is regarded as the holiest site to the world’s Jews and of great significance to prophecy-minded Christians who believe it could well be the place from which a returned Jesus would reign and rule upon His return?
I don’t know the answer to that question.
It’s a possibility. Maybe Israel won’t give the plan a second thought.
But it is equally a possibility that Israel’s politicians are simply worldly secular Jews who have no concern with such ethereal matters.
Nevertheless, it bears close watching.
Note the plan by Obama asks that Israel give up to the Arabs the Temple Mount real estate, while retaining control beneath the ancient platform. What’s beneath the Temple Mount?
The City of David – where there is increasing evidence David built his palace and Solomon his Temple.