Archive for November, 2015

November 24, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An example of media bias against Israel

In this week’s update, we share with you an example of media bias against Israel wherein British media does an interview with the head of the religious Zionist political party, Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett. In the interview, the interviewer, Tim Sabastian, is persistent in trying to portray those who love the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem as taking extremist positions regarding the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 17, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Friday, November 13th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An examination of the European Union decision to label products made from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights differently than products made in the rest of Israel

At a meeting in Brussels on November 11 an EU executive said that the European Commissioner “adopted this morning the interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.” The EU holds that all territory over the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank are not part of Israel and therefore its products cannot be labeled as “made in Israel.”

The detailed text on the European Union labeling of products made from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights contains the following guidelines:

1. The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. The Union has made it clear that it will not recognize any changes to pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties to the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP).

2. The application of existing Union legislation on indication of origin of products to products originating in Israeli-occupied territories has been the subject of notices or guidance adopted by the relevant authorities of several Member States. There is indeed a demand for clarity from consumers, economic operators and national authorities about existing Union legislation on origin information of products from Israeli-occupied territories. The aim is also to ensure the respect of Union positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the Union of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

3. While this Notice reflects the Commission’s understanding of the relevant Union legislation, enforcement of the relevant rules remains the primary responsibility of Member States. According to the case-law, while the choice of penalties remains within their discretion, Member States must ensure that penalties for infringements of provisions of Union law are effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

5. When the indication of origin of the product in question is explicitly required by the relevant provisions of Union law, it must be correct and not misleading for the consumer.

7. Since the Golan Heights and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are not part of the Israeli territory according to international law, the indication ‘product from Israel’ is considered to be incorrect and misleading in the sense of the referenced legislation.

10. For products from the West Bank or the Golan Heights that originate from settlements, an indication limited to ‘product from the Golan Heights’ or ‘product from the West Bank’ would not be acceptable. Even if they would designate the wider area or territory from which the product originates, the omission of the additional geographical information that the product comes from Israeli settlements would mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product. In such cases the expression ‘Israeli settlement’ or equivalent needs to be added, in brackets, for example. Therefore, expressions such as ‘product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)’ or ‘product from the West Bank (Israeli settlement)’ could be used.

Since the EU labeling issue was first raised in 2012, the EU has downplayed the labeling guidelines as a technical matter and  independent of any political considerations. It has explained that it is not a boycott of Israel but rather a measure design to inform the consumer that the products were not made in Israel. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU ambassador to Israel, said that the EU decision was a “technical matter” aimed at clarifying previous legislation on the matter. He said: “This is a small technical addition to something that has existed for a very long time, the trade facilitation between products coming from Israel proper, within its 1967 lines, and products coming from beyond the 1967 borders, but I want to emphasize strongly that this is not a boycott.” He further added: “The EU does not recognize lands captured in 1967, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, as Israeli territory. “This is something that also happens to be the view of 99 percent of the international community,” he said.

The EU had delayed the publication of these labeling guidelines in 2013 at the request of the US, which at the time was brokering a nine-month negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinians. That process failed in April 2014 and no new initiatives have replaced it. In the absence of any prospect of renewed negotiations, the EU decided to press forward with its labeling decision.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the EU announcement by summoning EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Anderson for a harsh rebuke. The Foreign Ministry warned the plan could affect ties between the EU and Israel saying, “Israel condemns the decision of the European Union to label Israeli goods originating over the ’67 lines. We regret that the EU chose for political reasons to take an unusual and discriminatory step which is drawn from the realm of boycotts, just as Israel is facing a wave of terror directed at all citizens,” the statement read. “The claim that this is a technical step is a cynical, baseless claim. We regret that the EU took this politically motivated and unusual and discriminatory step that it learned from the world of boycotts,” the Foreign Ministry said.

In a sign of further displeasure with the EU labeling decision, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said that Israel will suspend a series of ongoing meetings with the European Union to protest the EU’s decision to begin labeling exports from West Bank settlements. In doing so, she said that Israel was sending a “very strong message” of displeasure. “We say you can’t be involved in what is going on in the Middle East while you are taking such an extreme step of labeling products… boycotting us,” she said. In addition, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that Israel would suspend a series of regular dialogues with the EU on political issues in the Middle East, human rights and international organizations.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the European Union decision by saying that the EU should be “ashamed of itself” for announcing a decision to impose labeling guidelines on Israeli products manufactured over the 1967 borders. This move is “hypocritical and applies double standards, targeting Israel when there are over 200 other conflicts around the world,” Netanyahu said. “The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labeling the side that is being attacked by terrorism,” he said. “The Israeli economy is strong and will withstand this [decision]. Those who will be harmed will actually be Palestinian workers in Israeli factories [over the 1967 borders]. The European Union should be ashamed of itself,” Netanyahu continued.

Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who traveled to Europe last month in an attempt to prevent the move said: “Labeling products is a boycott,” she declared. “Europe has today taken a discriminatory and grave step.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said the move unfairly singles out Israel, describing the decision as “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. European hypocrisy and hatred of Israel has crossed every line,” she said.

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called the move “a shameful step giving a prize to terrorism and the people behind it. Even if this or that European has a dispute with the State of Israel regarding the status of the territory and its future, the decision to label products is pure hypocrisy,” he said.

Former Israel foreign minister Avigdor Liberman charged Europe with anti-Semitism, comparing the decision with the continent’s darkest days. “Every time that Europe labels Jews, its a sign that anti-Semitism, insanity and hypocrisy has taken over and that they are leading the entire free world to a catastrophe,” he said.

Israel opposition leader Isaac Herzog from the dovish Zionist Union camp called the decision “dangerous and detrimental” and said it would damage peace efforts. “This decision is based on hatred, falsehood and ignorance, devoid of any moral value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper, and we must treat it as such,” he said.

Yesh Atid chairman, Yair Lapid, who is not a part of the current Israeli government coalition said: “The European Union is hiding behind legal jargon and trying to paint a picture that this is a legal matter,” Lapid said. “This is incorrect. It’s a political issue. They are capitulating to the worst elements of jihad. The labeling of settlement products is a direct continuation of the boycott movement against Israel, which is anti-Semitic and misguided,” he said.

Lapid discussed the issue in an interview with CNN.

Avi Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities in the West Bank, wrote a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini saying: “At a time when Palestinian terrorism is running high across Israel, the EU has decided to boycott the industrial areas in the West Bank which are islands of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Businesses like these, in which Arabs and Jews work together, should be used as the gold standard for peace, not boycotted. If the EU wants to see real coexistence, they should come and visit the West Bank then it would be clear they are labeling the wrong people,” Ro’eh said.

At a meeting in Athens, the Conference of European Rabbis said that the EU’s move smacked of anti-Semitism. Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said: “The EU’s decision to label products imported from the settlements and from the Golan Heights in Israel is a disgrace and is characterized by hatred of Israel.”

The research institute NGO Monitor, Itai Reuveni, a senior researcher at NGO Monitor’s Israel Desk, explained the implications of the EU decision to label Jewish products from the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. He said that this step is part of a well-planned European scheme to boycott all of Israel based on an analysis of the publications put out by those groups leading the boycott movement.

Quoting the EU Ambassador to Israel who claimed the step is merely technical and not part of a general boycott, Reuveni said that “if he really means it, that contradicts the declarations of the organizations who advanced the labeling; these are organizations who receive European funding. Their goal is not technical labeling, but rather (it is) the first stage in a layered plan that ends with a general boycott on those who do business with Israel. To claim this is just labeling for transparency is a sin against reality. The labeling is meant to do something with it.”

The researcher referenced the comments of organizations who call for a general boycott against Israel and who pressured Europe, revealing the stages in their plan, beginning with labeling products so as to boycott those coming from beyond the 1967 borders and then identifying companies with any sort of business connections over the 1967 borders followed by pulling all investments from Israel. “They say it clearly,” he remarked, noting that when he visited the European Parliament he saw on the tables of parliament members reports arguing the importance of boycotting Israel.

In addition, Reuveni pointed out that the labeling only targets Israel despite the fact that there are numerous other areas in the world with disputed territory that are not labeled or boycotted at all. One example of the discrimination against Israel is Western Sahara, which Morocco is occupying while exporting a large amount of fish products to the EU. Aside from Western Sahara, Reuveni brought up the example of northern Cyprus, Tibet and other locations classified as disputed territories, and where the Europeans continue business as usual with the nations in power without even raising the possibility of a boycott or labeling.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, meanwhile, welcomed the EU decision as a positive development but said it did not go far enough. The PLO negotiations department said that the “EU labeling of settlement products is a step in the right direction but insufficient.” PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat called it a “significant move toward a total boycott of Israeli settlements which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian lands.

The Obama administration supported the EU labeling guidelines saying that it doesn’t consider a new European Union rule outlawing “Made in Israel” tags on goods from the West Bank as a boycott of the Jewish state, only a technical guideline for consumers. However, the U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said before the EU announcement that the move “shouldn’t come as a surprise” as Israel continues to expand settlements. “This underscores the urgent need for Israel to change its policies with regard to settlements,” he said.

The economic impact is likely to be minimal. While the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, settlement products account for less than 2 percent of Israel’s $14 billion dollars in exports to Europe each year. However, the move is highly symbolic.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) READ: Full European Union labeling guidelines
2) EU envoy insists settlement labeling purely ‘technical’
3) Israel denounces EU move to label settlement products
4) Israel: EU decision to label settlement products may harm ties with Brussels
5) Israel suspends meetings with EU over settlement labeling
6) PM: EU ‘should be ashamed of itself’ for settlement labeling
7) Lapid to German TV: EU surrenders to jihad by labeling settlement products
8) WATCH: Yair Lapid is interviewed by CNN over EU labeling guidelines
9) European rabbis condemn Brussels’ labeling of settlement goods
10) EU labeling ‘just the first stage in total boycott of Israel’
11) PLO celebrates EU labeling but ‘it isn’t enough
12) US OK with new EU labeling rule for Israeli settlement goods

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 10, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Monday, November 9th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An examination of the BDS movement against Israel as it relates to the efforts by the EU to label Israeli goods made in the West Bank

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) is a global anti-Israel campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to achieve the political goals of the Palestinians regarding the Israel / Palestinian conflict. The campaign was started on 9 July, 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause for boycott, divestment and international sanctions against Israel. The BDS campaign called for “various forms of boycott against Israel until Israel meets its obligations under international law.”

In response t0 the BDS movement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that these efforts will not achieve their aims. He said: “First of all, they cause the Palestinians to become entrenched behind their obstinate positions and push peace farther away, and secondly, no pressure will cause me to give up Israeli vital interests, first and foremost the security of Israeli citizens.”

As a form of an initial boycott against Israel, in April, the foreign ministers from 16 out of 28 European Union countries sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini asking her to push forward the process of labeling goods produced in Israeli settlements that are sold in grocery chains across the continent. Signing the letter were the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Malta, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In the letter, they said: “[The] continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967 threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.” The German Foreign Minister was the only one of the five major European foreign ministers not to sign the letter. Germany has dissented from the initiative to mark settlement products in the European market, in great part due to its historic and symbolic relationship with Israel. Germany’s ability to prevent a decision on the matter is limited but it has clarified that it opposes the step and will be the last country in Europe to implement such a process.

European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen said that this policy is the by product of “the EU position that we do not recognize Israeli authority in the West Bank. It is not part of Israel. It is not part of what we understand to be Israel’s international recognized borders.”

The effort to advance EU guidelines for labeling settlement products across the continent began several years ago. In April 2013, the foreign ministers of 13 EU countries sent a similar letter to Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton. She began pushing the initiative forward, but put it on hold in the summer of 2013 at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who was trying to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

European and Israeli diplomats said that in private discussions between EU states that took place before the March Israeli elections that many of the countries representatives said that if Netanyahu was reelected and forms a right-wing government, they will have no choice but to impose sanctions on settlement products and take other steps to prevent Israel from crossing “red lines” that would make a two-state solution impossible.

The actions considered “red lines” by the Europeans are building in the E1 area between the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, construction in the Givat Hamatos and Har Homa neighborhoods of Jerusalem, both of which are beyond the Green Line. The EU believes Israeli construction in those areas would jeopardize the possibility of creating a contiguous Palestinian state and would not enable Jerusalem to serve as the capital of both states.

In July, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) published a report claiming that the EU is in violation of its own laws by not differentiating more actively away from companies and institutions that operate in “occupied Palestinian land.” The report cites as a legal basis the European Commission guidelines from 2013 in which it states that the EU and member-state-funded lending cannot be provided to Israeli entities operating in the West Bank. The ECFR includes East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank as occupied territory.

According to the report by ECFR, the main purpose of the new law is to push for a larger separation between the EU and any company or person associated with the West Bank. The ECFR seeks to force Israel to reevaluate its relationship with the EU and to push Israel to adopt a Palestinian state. Additionally, the EU and its member states have been heavily funding NGO’s whose primary aim is to internationally delegitimize Israel. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry estimates, these NGO’s, many of whom are located in Israel as well as in the West Bank receive between 100-200 million Euros annually.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzippi Hotovely (Likud) recently traveled to meet foreign ministers from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. She demanded that they take a closer look at the spending that their countries are doing to prevent these funds from being transferred to NGO’s that Israel has classified as anti-Semitic. According to Hotovely, the financial assistance to anti-Israel NGO’s “support boycotts against Israel, blacken its face around the world, accuse it of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and war crimes; deprive the Jewish people of their right to self-determination, call to prosecute Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and negate the right of return”.

In response, the European Union agreed to push through a new law labeling products made in the West Bank in a move that has greatly angered Israel and was seen as a major win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. EU diplomats have long said that labeling products is only the first step in financial actions that will be taken against Israel’s presence in the West Bank. When approved, the new proposal will create financial hardships for Israelis who have dealings with the EU or EU banks in the areas of banking, loans and mortgages, tax exemption status, visas for citizens of Israel who live in the West Bank, qualifications earned in academic institutions such as Ariel University, and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli companies or organizations that have a presence in the West Bank.

In September, the European Parliament passed a resolution that called on the EU to play a greater role in the Mideast diplomatic process and stated that the parliament “welcomes” the EU’s commitment that all agreements with Israel “must unequivocally and explicitly indicate that they don’t apply to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,” and encourages EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “take the lead” on “completing the work on EU-wide guidelines on the labeling of Israeli settlement produce.” Furthermore, the resolution stated that “preserving the viability of the two-state solution through concrete action and ensuring full respect for the rights of civilians on both sides must be an immediate priority for the EU and the international community.”

Furthermore, European parliamentarians called on Mogherini and EU Special Representative Fernando Gentilini to promote a two-state solution within the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative, and said individual member nations needed to play a greater political role in the peace process. The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories in exchange for full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world.

Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the resolution “unjust,” and implied that it echoed decisions taken during the German Nazi era. He said: “It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace; it does not advance peace. The root of the conflict with the Palestinians is not the territories and the root of the conflict is not the settlements. We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labelled Jewish products.”

The Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon lashed out against the EU in a scathing response to the EU action, saying, “The State of Israel takes the parliament’s decision seriously, in particular the call for labeling products. The process of labeling is discriminatory and reeks of boycott. He added: “Under the cover of a technical move, this is an attempt to impose a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations,” he said. “Europe acts toward Israel with sanctimonious hypocrisy while it would never consider proposing a similar solution to northern Cyprus or the Western Sahara.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said it was necessary to “call the child by it’s name,” and that “labeling products is a boycott.” She added: “Israel will not allow any body to discriminate between products made by Israeli citizens and the territory of the state of Israel,” she said. “Efforts to move forward any [diplomatic] agreement by unilateral moves, especially labeling products, will fail and lead nowhere,” she said. Former Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman responded by sayin that the European Union might as well label West Bank settlement products with “yellow stars.” As part of their initial decrees against the Jews, the German Nazis forced them to wear yellow stars. Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid spoke with the EU’s foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and asked her not to move forward with the matter because “This is a de-facto call to boycott Israel,” he said.

After the EU decision, Netanyahu went to England. He impressed upon British Prime Minister David Cameron that efforts in Europe to restrict trade with the Jewish state could cost the continent access to Israeli tech and strategic influence in the region. He said: “The future belongs to those who innovate. Britain and Israel are two great centers of technology. Israel is a global hub of innovation especially in cyber security. And I think that if we pull our resources together we can offer a better future and a greater prosperity.” In addition, Netanyahu stressed that Indian and Chinese investment in Israel could surpass Europe’s in the future especially amid increasing efforts in Europe to limit business between its companies and Jewish settlement-related companies.

In late September, a senior European Union official  said that labeling of products manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank would become effective October 1. According to the official, the EU was set to finalize by mid-October remaining legal and technical issues regarding the settlement labeling, such as how exactly to mark the products and how to execute the process. The official added that the EU will consider further punitive measures if the Israeli government announces plans for more construction beyond the Green Line in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. “If this is the case, we will continue with moves against settlement expansion, and the marking of products will just be the beginning,” he said. However, in November, the EU announced that they would publish the guidelines that would require the labeling of consumer goods produced in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

For the EU, the labeling of Israeli settlement goods is political. It is meant to put pressure on Israel to support the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It will not lead to great economic harm to Israel as exports from the settlements to the EU make for less than one percent of Israel’s total exports to the EU.

Ohad Cohen, who heads the foreign trade section in the Israeli Ministry of Economy said that efforts are underway to find new markets for Israeli goods, besides Europe and the United States. He said: “Israel is trying to develop markets in Asia and Latin America, to give those Israeli exporters who could run into difficulties while exporting to the European Union new possibilities.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
2) Boycott of Israel ‘amoral, unjustified,’ Netanyahu says
3) EU Votes to Label Goods Made in Judea & Samaria
4) EU Considers Sanctioning Israeli Banks
5) Labeling settlement products gets further push as European Parliament backs move
6) Liberman likens EU to Nazis in light of reported plan to label settlement products
7) PM: EU vote to label Israel settlement products echoes Nazi era
8) Report: Netanyahu Tells UK That Boycotting Israel Would Be EU’s Loss
9) EU official: Labeling of settlement goods to begin in October
10) After EU labeling of West Bank goods, paper proposes banking steps on Israel
11) EU code on Israel settler exports expected by December
12) European FMs Urge Policy Chief: Label West Bank Settlement Products
13) Israel squirms over EU’s change in labeling products from West Bank
14) EU plans to label West Bank products proceeding

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 3, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The history of the Temple Mount and the modern day conflict between Israel and the Palestinians over it

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. It is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. To the east of the Temple Mount is the Kidron Valley. To the West is the Tyropoeon Valley. According to the rabbinic sages whose debates produced the Talmud, it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first human, Adam. Since at least the first century, the site has been associated in Judaism with the location of Abraham’s binding of Isaac. In the Bible, this event took place on Mount Moriah.

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Temple Mount was originally a threshing-floor owned by Araunah, a Jebusite. David then bought the property from Araunah, for fifty pieces of silver and erected the altar. The God of Israel instructed David to build a sanctuary on the site outside the city walls on the northern edge of the hill. The building was to replace the Tabernacle that Moses build in the wilderness and serve as the Temple of the Israelites in Jerusalem.

King Solomon the son of King David built the first Temple in 957 BCE. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second Temple was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE. It was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE.

In around 19 BCE, Herod the Great extended the Mount’s natural plateau by enclosing the area with four massive retaining walls and filling the voids. This artificial expansion resulted in a large flat expanse which today forms the eastern section of the Old City of Jerusalem. The southern section of the western flank is revealed and contains what is known as the Western Wall. The ambitious project which involved the employment of 10,000 workers more than doubled the size of the Temple Mount to approximately 36 acres. A basilica (the Royal Stoa) was constructed on the southern end of the expanded platform which provided a focus for the city’s commercial and legal transactions and which was provided with separate access to the city below via the Robinson’s Arch overpass.

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE, the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, rebuilt the city in 130 CE and renamed Jerusalem to be Aelia Capitolina. Aelia came from Hadrian’s nomen gentile, Aelius, while Capitolina meant that the new city was dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus to whom a Roman temple was built on the site of the Temple Mount in the 2nd century.

In those days, the Roman Emperor Hadrian constructed a giant statue of himself in front of the Temple of Jupiter. In addition, the Temple of Jupiter had a huge statue of the god Jupiter inside of it. Therefore, there were two graven images standing on the Temple Mount. In addition to this, Hadrian issued a decree prohibiting the practice of circumcision. It was the normal practice of the adherents of the Hellenic religion to sacrifice pigs before their deities.  These three factors, the graven images, the sacrifice of pigs before the altar, and the prohibition of circumcision, constituted for non-Hellenized Jews a new abomination of desolation. As a result, the Jewish military leader Bar Kochba launched the Third Jewish Revolt around 135 CE. After the Third Jewish Revolt failed, the Romans decreed that all Jews were forbidden from entering the city or the surrounding territory around the city on the condition of death if the decree was violated.

From the 1st through the 7th centuries Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and Jerusalem became predominantly Christian. Emperor Constantine I decreed Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 321 CE and Hadrian’s Temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount was demolished immediately following the First Council of Nicea in 325 CE on orders of Constantine.

Revered as the Noble Sanctuary, Muslim’s believe that the Temple Mount was the location of Muhammad’s journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven. In 637, Arabs besieged and captured Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire. As a result, Rashidun Caliph Umar built a mosque known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In 691, an octagonal Islamic building topped by a dome was built by the Caliph Abd al-Malik around the sacred rock located on the Temple Mount. The Dome was completed in 692 CE, making it one of the oldest extant Islamic structures in the world. The Al Aqsa Mosque rests on the far southern side of the Mount facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Dome of the Rock currently sits in the middle, occupying or close to the area where the Holy Temple previously stood. The shrine became known as the Dome of the Rock. As a result, today’s Temple Mount is dominated by three monumental Islamic structures: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain. For Sunni Muslims, the importance of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque makes Jerusalem the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina.

An Islamic Waqf has managed the Temple Mount continuously since the Muslim reconquest of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. Even today, the mosque and shrine are currently administered by a Waqf (an Islamic trust).

On 7 June 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israeli forces advanced beyond the 1949 Armistice Agreement Line into West Bank territories, taking control of the Old City of Jerusalem inclusive of the Temple Mount. In order to celebrate and remember that day, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate declared a religious holiday on this yearly anniversary, called “Yom Yerushalayim” (Jerusalem Day) to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem.

At that time, the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Defense Forces, Shlomo Goren, led the soldiers in religious celebrations on the Temple Mount and at the Western Wall. Many saw the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as a miraculous liberation of biblical-messianic proportions. A few days after the war was over 200,000 Jews flocked to the Western Wall in the first mass Jewish pilgrimage near the Mount since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Islamic authorities did not disturb Goren when he went to pray on the Mount until, on the Ninth Day of Av, he brought 50 followers and introduced both a shofar, and a portable ark to pray, an innovation which alarmed the Waqf authorities and led to a deterioration of relations between the Muslim authorities and the Israeli government.

A few days after the Six-Day War, on June 17, 1967, a meeting was held at al-Aqsa between Moshe Dayan and Muslim religious authorities of Jerusalem regarding the regulation of the Temple Mount. In their agreement, Jews were given the right to visit the Temple Mount unobstructed and free of charge if they respected Muslims’ religious feelings and acted decently. However, Jews were still forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount.  It was decided that the Western Wall was to remain the Jewish place of prayer. The Prime Minister of Israel at that time, Levi Eshkol, gave control of access to the Temple Mount to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. Eshkol made the following declaration: “no harm whatsoever shall come to the places sacred to all religions”.

Together with the extension of Israeli jurisdiction and administration over east Jerusalem, the Knesset passed the Preservation of the Holy Places Law ensuring protection of the Holy Places against desecration as well as freedom of access thereto. While ‘Religious sovereignty’ was to be with the Muslims, Israel was in charge of the ‘overall sovereignty’ of the Temple Mount. Today, the Temple Mount can be accessed via eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each.

Although freedom of access to the Temple Mount was enshrined into Israeli law, as a security measure, the Israeli government currently enforces a ban on non-Muslim prayer on the site. Non-Muslims who are observed praying on the site are subject to expulsion by the police.At various times, when there is fear of Arab rioting upon the mount resulting in throwing stones from above towards the Western Wall Plaza, Israel has prevented Muslim men under 45 from praying in the compound, citing these concerns.

Following the June, 1967 agreement, Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount continued to be a source of contention between the Jews and the Palestinians. In response to an appeal in 1976 against police interference with an individual’s personal right to prayer on the site, the President of the High Court of Justice, Aharon Barak, expressed the view that, while Jews had a right to prayer there, it was not absolute but subject to the public interest and the rights of other groups. He wrote:

The basic principle is that every Jew has the right to enter the Temple Mount, to pray there, and to have communion with his maker. This is part of the religious freedom of worship, it is part of the freedom of expression. However, as with every human right, it is not absolute, but a relative right… Indeed, in a case where there is near certainty that injury may be caused to the public interest if a person’s rights of religious worship and freedom of expression would be realized, it is possible to limit the rights of the person in order to uphold the public interest.

Subsequently, several Israeli prime ministers also made attempts to change the status quo regarding prayer on the Temple Mount but failed to do so. In October 1986, an agreement between the Temple Mount Faithful, the Supreme Muslim Council and police, which would allow short visits in small groups, was exercised once and never repeated, after 2,000 Muslims armed with stones and bottles attacked the group and stoned worshipers at the Western Wall. During the 1990s, additional attempts were made for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount which were stopped by Israeli police. Today, the Temple Mount remains, under the terms of the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty, under Jordanian custodianship.

Since 2010, fear arose among Palestinians that Israel planned to change the status quo and permit Jewish prayers or that the al-Aqsa mosque might be damaged or destroyed by Israel. As a result, Al-Aqsa was used as a base for attacks on visitors and the police from which stones, firebombs and fireworks were thrown.

There is a disagreement between Orthodox Jews whether religious Jews should pray on the Temple Mount. A few hours after the Temple Mount came under Israeli control during the Six-Day War, a message from the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim was broadcast, warning that Jews were not permitted to enter the site. This warning was reiterated by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate a few days later, which issued an explanation written by Rabbi Bezalel Jolti (Zolti) that “Since the sanctity of the site has never ended, it is forbidden to enter the Temple Mount until the Temple is built.” The signatures of more than 300 prominent rabbis were later obtained. Rabbinical consensus in the post-1967 period, held that it is forbidden for Jews to enter any part of the Temple Mount and in January 2005 a declaration was signed confirming the 1967 decision.

Due to its extreme sanctity of the Temple Mount, many Orthodox Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood during the days of the Temple. Most of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis are of the opinion that the Mount is off limits to Jews and non-Jews alike. Their opinions against entering the Temple Mount are based on the current political climate surrounding the Mount along with the potential danger of entering the hallowed area of the Temple courtyard and the impossibility of fulfilling the ritual requirement of cleansing oneself with the ashes of a red heifer. The boundaries of the areas which are completely forbidden, while having large portions in common, are delineated differently by various rabbinic authorities.

In December 2013, the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, reiterated the ban on Jews entering the Temple Mount. They wrote, “In light of [those] neglecting [this ruling], we once again warn that nothing has changed and this strict prohibition remains in effect for the entire area [of the Temple Mount]”. In November 2014, the Sephardic chief rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, reiterated the point of view held by many rabbinic authorities that Jews should not visit the Mount. On the occasion of an upsurge in Palestinian knifing attacks on Israelis, associated with fears that Israel was changing the status-quo on the Mount, the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Mishpacha ran a notification in Arabic asking ‘their cousins’, the Palestinians, to stop trying to murder members of their congregation, since they were vehemently opposed to ascending the Mount and consider such visits proscribed by Jewish law.

However, there is a growing body of Modern Orthodox and national religious rabbis who encourage visits to certain parts of the Mount, which they believe are permitted according to most medieval rabbinical authorities. A leading proponent of the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount is Rabbi Yehuda Glick. Glick is the leader of HaLiba, a coalition of groups dedicated to “reaching complete and comprehensive freedom and civil rights for Jews on the Temple Mount.” Glick has led groups of Jews to walk the Temple Mount, and has been repeatedly arrested while praying, walking and filming videos on the Temple Mount. On 4 June, 2015, a Jerusalem district court banned Glick from entering Temple Mount, overturning a lower court decision. The judge ruled that Glick’s presence was inflammatory and that “there is a risk of violence breaking out if the respondent returns to the compound before the end of legal proceedings in his case.”

On 29 October, 2014, Glick survived an assassination attempt by Mutaz Hijazi, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement. In 2015, Glick was awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism for being “Active for human rights and religious freedom on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.” Under current regulations, Muslims may visit and pray on the Temple Mount. Jews may also visit during limited hours, but are prohibited from praying or doing a range of things — kneeling, bowing, even crying — that resemble worship.

The most recent round of violence between Jews and Muslims at the Temple Mount started on September 9 following Israel’s decision to bar an Islamist protest group from entering the Temple Mount. Israel said the group, known as the Murabitat, and its corresponding men’s faction have been yelling at Jewish visitors and throwing stones at them. In announcing the ban, the Israeli government said: “The aforesaid organizations strive to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, change the existing reality and arrangements at the site and infringe on freedom of worship.”

On September 12, Israeli police raided the Temple Mount uncovering a stockpile of pipe bombs, firebombs and rocks that they feared would be aimed at Jewish worshippers. On Sept. 18, police barred Muslim men under 40 from the mount in anticipation of unrest following Muslim Friday prayers. Some 200 Palestinians protested the move at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City. Three Israeli policemen and 21 Palestinians were injured in the Friday clashes.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also declared “war” on stone throwers. Netanyahu is pushing through a new law that would allow police to fire more quickly on Palestinian stone throwers as well as increase the stone throwers’ prison sentences and fines. Netanyahu said: “We attest to the fact that we decided to change the policy and declare war on those who throw stones and firebombs, shoot and riot. In the State of Israel, people do not throw firebombs, or shoot at trains, or throw stones at will. Those who do so will pay a very heavy price.”

Regarding the clashes on the Temple Mount, Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas said: “Israel will not be allowed to continue its steps. The Al-Aqsa mosque is ours. They have no right to dirty it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to do that.” Jordan’s King Abdullah II criticized Israel’s actions, saying that “any more provocation in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel.”

Israel’s action, Netanyahu said has come only to prevent violence at the site. In addition, Israel insists that it is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount. Netanyahu said: “Israel have no plans to change the status-quo on the Temple Mount. However, we also have no intention of allowing anyone to cause the deterioration of the arrangements on the Temple Mount by resorting to explosive and widespread violence.” The Israeli status-quo limits Israeli sovereignty over the Mount, leaves the Islamic Waqf responsible for managing the site and bans Jewish prayers there.

In early October, Netanyahu barred all Cabinet ministers and Jewish lawmakers from visiting the Temple Mount. As a result of the recent violence associated with the Temple Mount, US Secretary of State John Kerry reached an agreement with King Abdullah of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late October to formalize arrangements governing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The terms of the understanding reinforce the status quo and will be backed up with 24-hour monitoring of the Temple Mount. “Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu said. “Those who visit or worship on the Temple Mount must be allowed to do so in peace, free from violence, from threats, from intimidation and from provocations. We will continue to ensure access to the Temple Mount for peaceful worshipers and visitors, while maintaining public order and security.”

Based upon a suggestion by Jordan’s King Abdullah, the new agreement will provide “24-hour video coverage of all sites” in the compound. US Secretary of State, John Kerry said: “The 24-hour video coverage will provide comprehensive visibility and transparency and that could really be a game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of the holy site.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) The Temple Mount
2) Rabbi Yehuda Glick and Jewish Access to the Temple Mount
3) 5 Things About the Violence Spike on the Temple Mount
4) Temple Mount Violence Rooted in Contradictory Views and Cynical Politics
5) Agreement on Temple Mount Formalizes Status Quo But Violence Continues
6) Netanyahu bans Jewish officials from Jerusalem holy site
7) Kerry: Israel okays 24-hour video cameras on Temple Mount

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l