ZOA: Jerusalem Holy to Jews Not Muslims – Despite UNESCO Lies

By Mort Klein and Daniel Mandel, ZOA

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Last Tuesday, coinciding with Israel’s 69th Independence Day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution entitled ‘Occupied Palestine.’ The resolution denies Israel any sovereign claim to its own capital city, Jerusalem, and falsely describes Israel as the city’s “occupying power” and speaks of the “cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem.”

Clearly, the intention of the UNESCO resolution is to achieve internationally the direct repudiation of Israel’s Jewish history and sovereignty in favor of Arab claims.

Lying behind this Arab diplomatic offensive is an Arab street and Muslim world, neither of which have reconciled themselves to Israel’s existence nor even the peoplehood of the Jews and thus the Jewish immemorial association and claim to Jerusalem.

However, this clamor and fixation on Jerusalem, quite recent in Muslim history, has led many to conclude that Jerusalem is holy to Islam and central to Palestinian Arab consciousness. This is, however, a propaganda fiction.

Though possessing important Muslim shrines, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosques, Jerusalem holds no great significance for Islam, as history shows.

Jerusalem rates not a single mention in the Quran, nor is it the direction in which Muslims turn to pray. References in the Quran and hadith to the ‘farthest mosque,’ in allusion to which the Al Aqsa Mosque is named, and which has sometimes been invoked to connect Islam to Jerusalem since its earliest days, clearly doesn’t refer to a mosque which didn’t exist in Muhammad’s day.

Indeed, the site of the biblical temples is called Temple Mount, not the Mosque Mount and –– in contrast to innumerable Palestinian Authority statements today –– was acknowledged as such for decades by Jerusalem’s Muslims.

Throughout the British Mandate period, the Jerusalem Muslim Supreme Council’s publication, ‘A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif’, stated of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on p. 4, that “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (After 1954, all such references to the biblical temples were excised from this publication).

During the illegal annexation and rule of the historic eastern half of Jerusalem by Jordan (1948-67), Amman remained Jordan’s country’s capital, not Jerusalem, even as Jews were driven out and their property and sanctuaries laid waste: the Old City’s 58 synagogues destroyed and Jewish gravestones used to pave roads and latrines. Jewish access to the Western Wall was also forbidden, in contravention of Article 8 of the 1949 Israeli/Jordanian armistice.

Historically, Jerusalem under Muslim control was no more a capital city than Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia or Qom in Iran. Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem enjoyed neither the attention nor affection of the Arab world or its rulers.

Quite the contrary: the eastern half of the city became a backwater, infrastructure like water and sewerage were scanty or non-existent, and its Christian population, denied the right to purchase church property, also declined. No Arab ruler, other than Jordan’s King Hussein, ever visited. As Israeli elder statesman Abba Eban put it, “the secular delights of Beirut held more attraction.”

Significantly, neither the PLO’s National Charter nor the Fatah Constitution, the latter drafted during Jordanian rule, even mention Jerusalem, let alone call for its establishment as a Palestinian capital.

This would never be obvious from the tenor and content of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim pronouncements on the city today, which are as emphatic as to the Arab, Muslim and Palestinian primacy of the city as they are in denying its Jewish provenance.

Conversely, Jerusalem, the capital of the biblical Jewish kingdoms, is the site of three millennia of Jewish habitation — hence the ‘Jerusalem 3000’ celebrations initiated in by the government of Yitzhak Rabin.


The holiest of Judaism’s four holy cities, Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Hebrew Bible and alluded to in countless prayers. Major Jewish rituals, including the conclusion of the Passover Seder and Yom Kippur service, end with the age-old affirmation, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’

Jerusalem is the only city in the world in which Jews have formed a majority since the 1880s. Today, Jerusalem, in addition to being home to Judaism’s greatest sanctuaries, is the seat of Israel’s government, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the National Library and the Hebrew University. Its population is two-thirds Jewish.

It is only under unified Israeli rule since 1967 that the city as a whole has been revitalized, enjoyed stunning growth and also, at last, full freedom of religion for its mosaic of faiths ––precisely what would be threatened by its redivision, as is already obvious in the Christian exodus from Palestinian-controlled Gaza and Bethlehem.

Whatever form a final peace settlement might one day take, there is no morally just or legally sound reason inflate or fabricate Muslim claims while denying Jerusalem’s Jewish primacy and history.

The Trump Administration rightly condemned the UNESCO resolution. It should now defund UN bodies that practice this form of delegitimizing political warfare, starting with UNESCO.

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’ s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Establisment of Israel (Routledge, London, 2004).

About the ZOA

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. With offices around the country and in Israel, the ZOA educates the public, elected officials, the media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing Arab war against Israel. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.- Israel relations through educational activities, public affairs programs and our work on Capitol Hill, and to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media, in textbooks, in schools and on college campuses. Under the leadership of such presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, and current President Morton A. Klein, the ZOA has been – and continues to be – on the front lines of Jewish activism. www.zoa.org. For more information contact Morton A. Klein 212-481-1500.

May 5, 2017 | 16 Comments » | 100 views

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16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. :

    Jerusalem .. is the seat of Israel’s government, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the National Library ..

    A chillul HaShem.

  2. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Sebastien, I’m sure you know that the Dome of the Rock was not built as a Jwwish House of Prayer, but for completely a different reason, as a meeting place.. It is well documented that it was built by Abd-El Malik who ruled that area then, to counteract the influence of Mecca, and to turn the Arabs away from Mecca towards the Dome. He was at odds with Mecca.

    It’s also well documented that the Aksa Mosque is a restored Byzantine Church, with a few added domes to give it that Eastern look, and is hundreds of feet away from the Dome, right on the southern edge of the Temple Platform. All the crap about Har El-Sharif and claiming the whole platform as part of the Mosque is a recent Arab lie, dating back no more than about 50 years at most. That It is said by Arabs, is more than enough to know it has to be a lie, which has always been the forte of that race.

    I visited both places several times myself, was all over and right through them with no let or hindrance from anyone. I found the Mosque just a plalce full of dirty old carpets, and the actual Rock, just a rock, with the “famous” cave at it’s bottom, being merely an eroded hollow in no way a cave and barely able to fit a 3 yrar old child. This was in the mid 1970s.

    I have actual photos of the “Dome” taken from the late 1800s to about 1920 and it was just a deserted, ramshackle abandoned place….no roof, just weathered arched rafters, and the Platform was overgrown with weeds and small bushes etc. It didn’t actually look like a rubbish dump, as it was when Abd El Malik came on the scene, but forlorn and desolate..

  3. @ Edgar G.:
    I presume you read the article:

    ” The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that in
    1165 he visited Jerusalem and went up on to the Temple Mount and prayed in the great,
    holy house on the place of the Holy of Holies”

    I googled it for source.
    Sefer HaCharedim Mitzvat Tshuva Chapter 3.

    Where, then did he pray?

  4. @ Edgar G.:
    Is it this? I don’t see the quote:


    Couldn’t find the text with the Maimonades (Rambam) quote but I saw it cited in a few places. Then the rest of the evidence cited in this section. Are you discounting it?

    “Another fact which strengthens Ofir’s theory is the testimony of Jews who visited the
    Temple Mount which tells of the existence of a Jewish house of prayer on the Temple
    Mount in the early times of the Arab occupation of Jerusalem. This is mentioned in A
    House of Prayer and Midrash for the Jews on the Temple Mount in the Days of the Arabs
    by ben Tzion Dinur. From the very early testimonies which Dr. Dinur records in his
    article, we learn that the Jewish house of prayer was built during the early Arab
    occupation of the Temple Mount and that the Jews were evicted at a later time in Arab
    history. Rabbi Avraham bar Chia Hanassi states that “the Ishmaelite kings had the good
    habit of allowing Israel to come to the Temple Mount and to build there a house of prayer
    and Midrash.” Another testimony by the famous Karaite, ben Yerucham, was that “after
    the Ishmaelites occupied Jerusalem they gave permission to Israel to enter the Temple
    Mount to live there. They gave them the courtyards of the house of G-d and they prayed
    there for many years … Later they were evicted.” Another testimony comes from the
    Armenian, Sibias, who said that “after the Jews had for some time enjoyed help from the
    Arabs, they decided to rebuild Solomon’s Temple. They discovered the site of the Holy of
    Holies and they built a house of prayer for themselves on the foundation of the Temple
    using the remains of the Temple.” This testimony is very important because it shows very
    clearly that for the first time after the destruction of the Second Temple, all the Temple
    Mount was in the hands of the Jews and they used the remains of the Temple to build a
    house of prayer. This is confirmed today by the fact that remains of the Temple can be
    seen included in the Dome of the Rock itself. The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that in
    1165 he visited Jerusalem and went up on to the Temple Mount and prayed in the great,
    holy house on the place of the Holy of Holies. All of this evidence is very important as
    further proof of Ofir’s theory.
    Whether or not Ofir’s theory is correct, there is no doubt that this building does not
    resemble an Islamic building…”

    Did you read this news item last year?

    “Centuries before trying to deny it, Muslims carved Jewish link to Jerusalem into mosque”

    ” Newly studied inscription from Mosque of Umar dated to 9th or 10th centuries highlights correlation between Dome of the Rock and biblical Jewish temples”


  5. @ Edgar G.:
    “…The mosque was originally a small prayer house built by Umar the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. The mosque was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and rebuilt by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 754. His successor al-Mahdi rebuilt it again in 780. Another earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033, but two years later the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque which has stood to the present day.
    During the periodic renovations undertaken, the various ruling dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate constructed additions to the mosque and its precincts, such as its dome, facade, its minbar, minarets and the interior structure. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they used the mosque as a palace and the Dome of the Rock as a church, but its function as a mosque was restored after its recapture by Saladin in 1187…”


    Repeatedly destroyed throughout history. Good precedent. Yellowish pimples should be excised.

  6. Muslims claim Jerusalem their third holiest site due to “The Night Journey.” Mo went to the furthest most northern city
    (they think it is Jerusalem, although Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran) where Mo flew on a winged beast to meet the angel Gabriel.During his epileptic hallucination Mo was introduced to the heroes of the Jewish legends and brought before the throne of God, blah, blah, blah.

  7. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    There is obviously a load of information about the Dome, and that which I read was based on the inscriptions inside about it’s construction. I saw it myself. As well, the accounts of well known travellers. I haven’t given it any thought past that; no reason to.

    I seriously doubt that the Jews then built a prayer house right on the presumed site of the Temple as it was completely forbidden from very early times to even walk anywhere close to the area as they were unsure ecactly where the Holy of Holies had been situated and they said that the Shechina was still there. However I know that the Jews were allowed to build Prayer Houses on the Mount, which you exhaustively mention, although exactly where, has not been established. So it can be assumed that they were primarily of wood, or if remains of the Temple as you say, they were not solid enough to have any lasting foundations.

    I don’t doubt any of the info that you’ve written, particularly about the destructions and rebuilding etc. because you’ve obviously found sources for them. Info comes down to us always in a very skewed way, and most of the time the latest discoveries completely negate previous certain beliefs. They are still not completely sure that the Dome is where the Temples stood.

    I can’t get around the early ban by the Sages against Jews even walking on the Mount, which seems solid…. I learned that as a kid in chaidar even, although I don’t depend on anything I was taught as a kid..

  8. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Do you mean the Dome, or the Mosque, because the Dome was never a Mosque. When I see a mention of a Mosque I think of the converted Byzantine Church. Also I forgot to mention, that history records that Jerusalem and Judea being in such turmoil for so many years, basically from around 6 (the Zelotim) to well after the Bar Cocheba War, the exact site of the Temples was lost. It only took a generation or two. Nearly all those who knew and attended the Temple, were slaughtered or taken away forever as slaves-or died of old age. It was not a subject that was regarded as needing to be handed down from generation to generation.. Most of the country-people had no idea of the exact site.

    According to the Talmud, and early historians, (don’t ask me for links, I’ve just read history) the population became so large long before that time, that they instituted a series of local Sanhedrins. Also when it came time to visit the Temple 3 times a year according to the Torah dictums, they would appoint a person from their village or town to take the sacrifice or money to buy it, to Jerusalem and the Temple as their representative, substituting vicarious attnedance.. I think one of the places I saw this was in Solomon Zeitlin’s “The Rise and Fall of the Judean State, A Political Social and Religious History of the Second Commonwealth ” which I have (stored) in 3 volumes..

    On a related matter, the Jews were very prolific, and by a few generations after Bar Cochba, the population was again large. I’ve read copies of letters between Byzantine Bishops of the 5th and 6th centuries, complaining that on their visits to Judea and the Holy Places, they were upset at the numbers of Jews outnumbering the Christian population.

  9. @ Fred Alexander:

    “Fischer-Dieskau was doing one of the Bach Passions with Klemperer and was dying at the slowness of the tempo, he aked the maestro if they could go faster. “Vell Fieskau” growls Klemperer, who always said ‘Fieskau’, “ve’ll tink about it.” Dieskau comes back the next day and says, “Maestro I had a dream that I met Bach and he agreed the tempi are too slow.” “Oh”, replied Klemperer, “Ve vill tink about it a little more.” The next day at rehearsal, Klemperer calls Dieskau over and says, “Fieskau, I too dreamed I met Bach. He said he never heard of you!”


    Also, it occurred to me from re-reading these passages:

    “From the very early testimonies which Dr. Dinur records in his
    article, we learn that the Jewish house of prayer was built during the early Arab
    occupation of the Temple Mount and that the Jews were evicted at a later time in Arab

    “The mosque was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and rebuilt by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 754. His successor al-Mahdi rebuilt it again in 780. Another earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033…”


    SZ: Hmmm. You think God was trying to tell them something?


  10. Google Play Books has one of Dinur’s books in Hebrew. Free. dated Jan. 1922. I had to copy and paste into Google Translate to get title in English.

    “On the threshold of the Middle Ages: the destruction of the Jewish Tsentr in arts-ishral and the beginning of the mitl-alterishe decrees on jews
    Ben Zion Dinur January 1, 1922
    communal existed”


    Shouldn’t such important weapons in our ideological war be reprinted and widely available in every language, especially, English, French, German, Swedish, Arabic, and Farsee?

  11. @ Edgar G.:
    These sources refer to the Temple Mount site which they absurdly claim. I can’t find it now, but I found another source that detailed Jewish prayer on the site continuously as soon as it was permitted from the destruction until the Muslims banned the Jews from the site around around 12 hundred CE, I believe, not long after Rambam prayed there in 1145.

    The dome — along with it’s mosque moles* — is just something for a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon to look at. Ugly-looking growths, but I think they can be safely removed without a scar.

    *Unless, of course, they turn out to be malignant, in which case, major surgery will be indicated.

  12. @ Fred Alexander:
    That ‘winged journey’ sounds like a ‘resurrection on Pegasus’ used to proselytize early Christians and animists still into Greek and Roman mythology, after Mohammed’s natural death.

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