Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute released a sharp response to a contentious UNESCO vote Monday, after the latter over the weekend passed a motion divorcing the Temple Mount and Judaism.
"UNESCO’s resolution which ignores the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount is another politically-motivated act of revisionist history, obscene even by the standards of this morally bankrupt organization," Richman stated. "Judaism was founded over 3500 years ago; Islam dates to the seventh century. The resolution flies in the face of both the Bible, bedrock of civilization, archaeological evidence, and scholarship."
"It also stands in denial of Islam itself, and the official statements of the ‘Supreme Moslem Council (sic),’ the Muslim Waqf which administers the Temple Mount," he continued. "In the English-language booklet ‘A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al Sharif’ published by the Waqf in Jerusalem in 1924, it states: Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot according to the universal belief, on which ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings’ (II Samuel 24:25)."
"This perversion of history is not only a deliberate degradation of the Jewish people, but an insult to all people of intelligence – and all people of faith," Rabbi Richman added. "It is the latest of the United Nations’ calculated moves aimed at denying the Jewish people’s very right to exist."
"Wiping out a people’s past is the best way to ensure that they have no future," he emphasized. "Thus the Muslim Waqf has been systematically destroying tons of archaeological evidence dating from the Second and First Temples – with no protest from UNESCO."
Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount remains under Jordanian jurisdiction. Israeli police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf which was left in charge of the Temple Mount compound after the 1967 Six Day War, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship.
Richman then called "upon the Israeli government to exercise full sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and grant freedom of religious expression to non-Muslim at the Temple Mount (in accordance with basic human and civil rights enshrined in Israeli law) so that Israel and all of humanity will finally experience true freedom."
"UNESCO’s heinous resolution was not born in a vacuum but is a direct result of Israel’s ambivalent, nebulous policy towards the Temple Mount," he concluded. "We call upon Jews to ascend in purity and with proper halachic guidance to the Temple Mount and to exercise their right to pray openly at the site from where the Divine Presence never departed, the location of the Holy Temple."