Yesterday, I gave you two reasons why Israel will not be able to give East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. One was that the average Israeli wouldn’t stand for it. Two was that the Palestinian leadership would screw up the process, anyway.

But, there is a three.

Most people do not know that the Jordanian royal family is the caretaker of the Mosque al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. They finance the waqf (Islamic religious endowment) that pays for the renovations of the buildings and the salaries of the caretakers for the buildings on the Temple Mount.  

This might sound like a pretty upsetting arrangement to you. The idea that a foreign monarch could have so much influence over a place that is at the center of Jewish life… that the holiest site for both Judaism and Christianity is financed by a foreign power… that the capital of Israel would have a someone who once sought Israel’s destruction be allowed to manage the financial needs of the Har haBayit (Hebrew, Mount of the House)… I can imagine that this sounds both shocking and horrifying.

Let me horrify you some more by explaining why it is in Israel’s best interest to make sure that this arrangement continues.

Firstly, having the Hashemite royal family in control of the Islamic functions of the al-Haram al-Sharif (Arabic, The Noble Sanctuary) keeps things moderate and far less politicized than it could be. The Jordanians do NOT want instability in the West Bank or in Jerusalem. Instability in Palestinian areas tends to spill over into Jordan. 

Secondly, Israeli law rules everywhere on the Temple Mount, and in the rest of the Old City. From an Israeli perspective, whoever is paid to maintain Islamic buildings is meaningless, as long as no one causes any trouble.

However, a little bird told me that there is something far more important than all of that. Being the caretakers of the Al Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock is an important raison d’etre for the Jordanian royal family. I was told by a reliable source that if the Jordanian royal family were removed as caretakers of the Haram al-Sharif, they would fall from power in Jordan.

A part of me still struggles to believe it, but I am forced to admit that it does make a certain kind of backward sense. Arab society is heavy on symbolism. (Most centralized, repressive, non-democratic, patriarchal societies are.) So, when I was told that if the Hashemite monarchy loses control of the Temple Mount waqf… that they would be in a lot of trouble…

Well, I wasn’t going to discount it out of hand.

Dome of the Rock.

Why else would the late
King Hussein of Jordan have spent
$8.2 million of his own money
to plate the dome in gold?

Let me cut a long story short. If the Israeli government hands control of the Temple Mount over to local Palestinians, there could be serious and severe repercussions for the region. The Jordanian monarchy could lose one of its few claims to legitimacy, and it could even contribute to its fall from power. In the resulting chaos, Syria, Hamas, Hizbullah, or some other Jihadist organization could gain power. No one wants that – no one sane, that is.

If it is true that the Temple Mount is vital to the stability of the Jordanian monarchy, this means that Israel will need to do everything that it can to ensure that the Jordanian royal family stays in control of the upkeep of the Temple Mount. And, the only way to do THAT is for Israel to STAY in control of the Temple Mount itself. 

The alternative is unimaginable.

7 thoughts on “Three”

  1. Is it true that the Jewish Temple, although believed to be directly under the Dome of the Rock, actually isn’t? I’ve heard that it really is a few hundred feet or yards away from the site of the Dome.

  2. Hi Tedders!

    There’s a lot of fuss and feathers surrounding the issue. Some people want the ‘rock’ to be the ‘Holy of Holies’ (i.e., The Temple Mount Faithful), and some want ‘the rock’ to be the altar.

    My own best guess is that the latter is the most true. It would have been the ‘threshing floor of Ornan’. It would have been the place where Avraham built his altar.

    But, I don’t think that it matters too terribly much.

    – John

  3. I was just wondering because if the Temple is to be rebuilt, it may be easier to accomplish if the Dome doesn’t have to be demolished. You know how those Muslims can be! (LOL just kidding….kinda)

    I’m pretty vague on the whole issue, I may be asking the wrong questions. Do you know enough about the biblical reference to the rebuilding of the temple and what that would signify?

    “Some people want the ‘rock’ to be the ‘Holy of Holies”
    ” some want ‘the rock’ to be the altar.”

    I’m a little confused, a Muslim building being the Holy of Holies or an alter?

  4. Oh man … that huge mess reminds me just too much of the discussion I had today. That guy said he didn’t think there would EVER be peace in Israel-Palestine and I answered I’d love the place just too much to believe in that. That, even though I had as for not the slightest idea how to get the place peacefull, I just cannot allow myself to give up hope. There just HAS TO BE some kind of solution one day.
    Giving up hope for Israel-Palestine is too much of a symbol of giving up hope for all mankind – as is NOT giving up hope …
    … even though in all that huge mess it’s really, really tough …

  5. Hey Tedders,

    I think that the appropriate answer is that the building of the Temple is meaningless from a Christian perspective, but vital from a Jewish perspective.

    If a third temple is built, the Dome would hafta go, and the location of the original Kodesh Kodeshim (Holy of Holies) would be vital.

    Check out the Temple Mount Faithful website for a view from their angle.

    – John

  6. Hey Magda!

    It’s good to see you here.

    Don’t give up hope.

    But, as with most things in the Middle East, the situation will need to get worse, so that it can get better. Every catastrophe in Israeli history has lead to an incrementally better situation. Unfortunately, these catastrophes are horrifying.

    Both the Palestinians and the Israelis are people and therefore creatures of compromise, and Peace is about compromise.

    Peace will come, but there will be a ‘whole lotta shakin goin on’ to get through, first.

    Vaya con dios!

    – John

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