June 7, 2007, - 5:12 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Forty years ago, today, during the Six Day War, Jerusalem was reunited. The Eastern part of the city was recaptured by Israel, rescued from Muslim occupation.
Contrary to popular thought and claims, the Holy City was never “Palestinian” insofar as “Palestinians” are Arabs (previous Palestinians were Jews named David and Shlomo). Before June 7, 1967, Jerusalem was for a few decades under the control of the minority-ruled Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. There was no screaming and yelling that it “belonged” to the Palestinians. For thousands of years, there had and has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem.
When Israeli soldiers liberated the Temple Mount area, site of the Western Wall–the holiest site in Judaism–they found the area to be dusty and garbage strewn. To the Muslims who controlled it, “East” Jerusalem was not important. Instead, they forsook Jerusalem, focusing their attention on Amman, Jordan’s capital. It was only after Israel reclaimed Jerusalem–after Jews reclaimed it from Muslim occupation–that it’s “importance” to Muslims was suddenly reborn.
Upon their entry, Israeli soldiers saw these signs of Muslim respect for “East” Jerusalem, among others:
* Various holes were drilled into Jewish graves and coffins on the Mount of Olives, also a holy site in Judaism, so that Jordanian Muslims could urinate into them. Jordanian Muslims also desecrated Jewish headstones from gravesites by making them into sidewalks and floors of barracks, just like the Nazis did.
* The Intercontinental Hotel–a prominent meeting place for PLO terrorist leaders and operatives–was deliberately built atop yet more Jewish graves.
But–even the desecration of dead Jews and holy Jewish sites aside–how important is Jerusalem to Islam, anyway? In truth, not very . . . except as a political football against Jews and Israel.
Jerusalem is mentioned exactly ZERO times in the Koran. On the other hand, it appears in the Torah–the Jewish Bible–at least 667 times. It appears in the Christian New Testament 154 times.
Nothing of Islamic significance ever happened in Jerusalem, unless you count the building of the Dome of the Rock Mosque on top of a Church, which was built on top of the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple, the “Beit HaMikdash.” Ditto for the building of Al-Aqsa Mosque nearby on the holy Jewish Temple Mount. (The fact that many Islamic terrorists met in Jerusalem to plot attacks on Jews and Christians there and elsewhere, does not establish an Islamic religious claim to the city.)
Although many authorities on Islam have written about how Jerusalem suddenly became of such (fictional) import to the “Religion of Peace,” the best summary is by Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Professor in the Department of Arabic Studies at Bar Ilan University, “How Did Jerusalem Come to Be So Holy to Muslims?” which originally appeared on the excellent site, IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis). Two other great articles, “Jerusalem in the Sources,” and “The Muslim Direction: Jerusalem’s Lack of Importance in Muslim History,” both by Moshe Kohn, also from IMRA, also exposes the empty Muslim claim to Jerusalem.
Kohn notes that until the 10th Century, Muslims called Jerusalem, “Ilya.” From the 10th Century on, Muslims used names with Jewish references: “Beit Al-Makdis,” the Arabic version of Beit HaMikdash (the Hebrew name for the Jewish Temple), “Al Quds”–a version of “Ir HaKadosh” (Hebrew for Holy City) and even “Siyyun” (Zion). The 13th Century Arab biographer and geographer, Yakut, wrote:
Mecca is holy to Muslims, and Jerusalem to the Jews.
The holiest cities in Islam are Mecca and Medina. Period. So, what about the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, you ask?
As Dr. Kader notes:
Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Mohammad’s death. In 682 CE, Abd Allah Ibn Al-Zubayr rebelled against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims [Hajjis] from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. Abd Al-Malik, the Ummayad caliph, needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage and settled on Jerusalem, which was then under his control.
In order to justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (sura 17, verse 1), which states:
Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs . . . .
Clearly there is nothing here noting that Jerusalem is the site of the “Farthest Mosque.” The site is actually and had always been Mecca. But because Abd Al-Malik needed a place to send the Hajjis, and needed a solution fast–with Mecca blocked by warring Muslims–he randomly chose Jerusalem and made up a story to justify it.
Dr. Kedar writes that Abd Al-Malik made up all kinds of stories to justify this new, apocryphal version of Islam. He claimed Mohammed was conveyed to Jerusalem one night (even though at the time the journey took three days by camel) on a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, and the tail of a peacock. But many Muslim thinkers believed that it was just a dream of Mohammed, that he was never in Jerusalem. And the people of Mecca at the time, who knew Mohammed well, did not believe the story. Before that, Al-Aqsa–the “farthest mosque”–was well-known to be in Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia.
Since then and in keeping with his new, creative story, the Ummayad Islamic dynasty invented many “traditions” as a basis for the new-found “awareness” of the “holiness” of Jerusalem in Islam.
Jerusalem simply wasn’t a Muslim city. Ever.
Contrast that with the Jewish claims to and continuous presence in Jerusalem throughout the ages, for thousands of years. In Judaism, in the Bible, Jerusalem is referred to as “Ir Kadosh”–the Holy City. It is also called “Ir David”–the City of David. Here’s a tip: David was neither “Palestinian” (in the new Arab sense) nor was he a Muslim.
Aside from the Jewish Temple–again, it’s the holiest site in Judaism–there are those graves the Muslims urinated into and built a hotel over on the Mount of Olives.
The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives is the oldest Jewish cemetery in continuous use anywhere in the world. It is also one of the holiest places in Judaism, where for two thousand years, Jews have come to pray for redemption. It is believed that when the Messiah comes the departed would rise from their graves and gather in the Valley of Yehoshaphat, so many Jews have striven to be buried there. Jews believe that to be buried in that cemetery will enable one to be on site when the Messiah arrives and to be among the first to rise from the grave to participate in Messianic events.
Many great Yeshivot–Jewish academies of Biblical study–which housed many of the great Jewish scholars and rabbis were in Jerusalem, as Jerusalem was one of the two major centers of Jewish Torah scholarship. The “Talmud Yerushalmi” (Jerusalem Talmud) is a compilation of Jewish Biblical and legal thought and analysis published sometime during the 4th Century.
There are so many other sites of great importance to Judaism throughout Jerusalem, so many sites of great importance to Christianity throughout Jerusalem.
But the only site of “importance” to Islam is the result of a myth. And even after the myth became common thought, Muslims–when “East” Jerusalem was under their control–desecrated and disrespected the City. And–unlike under Muslim occupation–Israelis have accorded full respect to Muslim and Christian worshippers.
No-one rational–only the vast Muslim population, dominated by hate–wants to return to the days of Muslims urinating in and building hotels on graves, desecrating gravestones by using them for Nazi-like floors and sidewalks, and throwing trash on holy sites, and preventing pilgrims and tourists from praying there.
Jerusalem has been united for 40 years. Let there be many, many more.
Whose Jerusalem? History makes it quite clear it’s not a Muslim city.
And it never should be.
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