An Arab MK found an opportunity yesterday (Sunday), on Tisha B'Av, to tell Army Radio that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
MK Masud Ganaim (Joint Arab List) was interviewed, along with MK Yinon Magal (Jewish Home), about the day's clashes on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. When the interviewer asked MK Ganaim about attacks on the police, the legislator claimed that Arabs throwing rocks is not a problem. Instead, he insisted that the true issue is Jews wanting to pray.
In particular, he blamed Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) for visiting the site, saying that the minister is an "occupier" for setting foot in eastern Jerusalem and that his visit was an "incitement."
According to Ganaim, "The State of Israel knows that Jews and Israel have no legitimacy to the site, except for their legitimacy as an occupier — a legitimacy [won] by force."
MK Magal countered by claiming that there is a system of apartheid on the Temple Mount, but against Jews. Even though it is the holiest spot in the world for Judaism, a Jew who wants to eat an apple and says a blessing over it is arrested for incitement. At the same time, Arabs regularly mocking, yelling, and throwing stones at Jewish visitors are tolerated.
Ganaim did not respond to these charges, but repeated multiple times that the Temple Mount has always been holy to Islam and never to another religion. When asked directly whether there was ever a Jewish Temple on the site, he insisted that it never existed.
Both the interviewer and Magal pressed Ganaim for an explanation on this point. Ganaim said that he knows it to be true because he is a history teacher. At most, there may have been a temple somewhere else, and Jewish scriptures only refer to a future Jerusalem Temple descending from heaven. He finished his remarks by saying that Jews should wait until such an event before they try visiting the Mount.
Tisha B'Av is considered the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples. Despite MK Ganaim's assertions, there is an abundance of contemporary accounts and archaeological evidence of a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.