Home » Palestinians warn of a Jewish and Christian Zionist plot to threaten Al-Aqsa Mosque, starting with a red heifer from Texas – breaking news

Palestinians warn of a Jewish and Christian Zionist plot to threaten Al-Aqsa Mosque, starting with a red heifer from Texas – breaking news

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Palestinians warn of a Jewish and Christian Zionist plot to threaten Al-Aqsa Mosque, starting with a red heifer from Texas – breaking news

The last thing Palestinians need is another crisis in their homeland. It’s not enough that Israel continues its genocidal war in the Gaza Strip with acute starvation, more daily restrictions on vital humanitarian aid, more Israeli massacres in Gaza, and increased settler pogroms in the West Bank where neither Palestinians nor their land are protected. A regional war in the Middle East still looms as a distinct possibility as long as Netanyahu thinks he can stay out of prison by continuing the violence and having it underwritten by the United States.

Beneath the radar is another overlooked threat to regional stability that could easily expand beyond the Middle East to Asia and Africa and pull the United States deeper into the fray. On April 9, 2024,  a number of Palestinian Christian leaders issued a bulletin and petition drive warning the world of threats by Israeli religious extremists and Christian Zionists who are intent on implementing a bizarre but lethal plot to demolish the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque to make way for the Third Jewish Temple.

Al-Aqsa Mosque (also known as “Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa” or the Furthest Mosque) is the third holiest site in Islam and is referenced in Sura 17 of the Qur’an—-the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey. These holy sites mark the very place where tradition says the Prophet ascended to heaven. Al-Aqsa is also referred to as the Haram al-Sharif or “the Noble Sanctuary,” which reflects the same designation for the Mosque surrounding the Qa´aba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam. Any infraction or attempt to damage Al-Aqsa or the shrine adjacent to it, known as the Dome of the Rock, could instigate a response from approximately 2 billion Muslims around the world.

Unnoticed in the mostly sanitized Western media coverage of the crisis in the Gaza Strip was the alarm sounded by Hamas spokesman Abu-Ubaida on the 100th day of Israel’s genocide (January 14, 2024). He sounded an alarm alerting the Islamic world and anyone listening that Israel recently brought a certain breed of cows to a settlement in the West Bank. What appeared to some as an irrelevant or bizarre comment was a serious warning to Muslim leaders that a sinister plot was afoot regarding the Haram al-Sharif.

Israel had recently bent its regulations banning livestock from entering the country and allowed five red heifers to be transferred from a Christian Zionist ranch in Texas to an illegal West Bank settlement. For the past three decades, various Christian Zionist ranchers in the U.S. have been trying to breed a 100% pure red heifer which according to an obscure ancient priestly cleansing process recorded from the book of Numbers (chapter 19) with commentary the Jewish sage Maimonides could commence various rituals leading to animal sacrifices in a rebuilt Third Temple. However, close to impossible was the necessity to find a pure red heifer before the necessary cleansing ritual could be performed in the revived Third Temple.

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Several ultra-Orthodox Israeli Zionist organizations and  Christian Zionist groups around the globe have been campaigning for the Third Temple and control of what they call the Temple Mount. The event that stimulated speculation on the Third Temple was Israel’s capture of Arab East Jerusalem in June 1967, which was quickly annexed by Israel. Both Christian and Jewish religious extremists interpreted Israel´s victory as the beginning of a new Messianic era and the countdown to the final days of history culminating in the Messiah´s first or second coming depending on your religious preference.

Both Ultra-Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians agreed that the construction of the Third Jewish Temple was a key stage of the Messianic Age. Only two obstacles stood in their path. First was locating a red heifer that was completely pure and had never been yoked, as prescribed in Numbers 19:1-3. With the advent of modern science and genetic manipulation, several Christian Zionist ranchers in the United States embarked on the task of producing a pure red heifer. Through the years, there have been several near successes but in every case a white or black hair disqualified the almost sacred bovine.

However, the second major obstacle remains somewhat daunting. It is none other than Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. Since the late 1960s there have been a series of violent attempts by both Jewish and Christian extremists to blow up the Muslim sites. A memorable attempt occurred on March 10, 1982, when 45 Ultra-Orthodox religious extremists known as the Lifta group, scaled the wall to the Haram al-Sharif armed with explosives. A Muslim guard notified the police who arrived quickly and arrested the perpetrators. At that time the Israeli government was committed to upholding the sanctity of the Muslim sites and honored what was known as the religious status quo in Jerusalem.

Three weeks after the Lifta operation a quarter-page advertisement appeared in the Jerusalem Post demanding the release of the 45 extremists, calling them “earnest, faithful sons of Israel.”  The ad was placed by the U.S.-based “Committee of Concerned Evangelicals for Freedom of Worship on the Temple Mount.” The three co-chairmen of the Committee were the wealthy Oklahoma-based oil magnate Terry Risenhoover, California Businessman Doug Krieger, and Houston clergyman Rev. Ken Loach. What the three had in common was the extreme Christian zionist belief that the Third Temple must be built to hasten the Battle of Armageddon, the Rapture, and return of Jesus. They raised the legal fees, and within a year, the militant attackers were released from prison with minimal penalties. The costly legal fees and other expenses were raised by evangelicals who were given a tax writeoff as the fund secured a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. (see Donald Wagner and Hassan Haddad, All In The Name of the Bible, Brattleboro, Vermont: Amana Books, 1986, pages 25-26).

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Most of the militant Jews in the Lifta operation were disciples of Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose cash (“Thus”) Movement, was declared a terrorist organization in the United States and later in Israel. Prior to Israel banning the Kach organization, Kahane had a small but potent following in several militant settlements such as Kiryat Arba adjacent to Hebron. Israeli journalist Gershom Gorenberg described the cash party platform as including “making sexual relationships between a Jew and an Arab (Palestinian) a capital crime; the party’s eventual goal was the expulsion of all Arabs (Palestinians) from Israel and the occupied territory.” Kahane’s small group of aggressive followers splattered Jerusalem with posters demanding that Israel “erase the Mosques from the Temple Mount.”  Today both Jewish and Christian Zionist websites offer posters of the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount with the Third Temple inserted in place of Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. (Gershom Gorenberg, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, (Oxford University Press, 2000); page 128).

Kahane may be gone, but there is a revival of his racist views not only in Kiryat Arba but across the West Bank settlements, Jerusalem, and Israel, including several members of Netayahu´s Cabinet. They include  Finance Minister Bezalel Smoltrich, Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, National Knesset Security Chair Zikva Fogel, Minister of the Status of Women Mai Golan, and Zvi Sukkot who is Chair of Ben-Gvir´s Jewish Power Party, to mention a few. All are outspoken disciples of the Kahane brand of Zionism and support the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is little wonder militant Jewish extremists have gained more privileges to “pray” near Al-Aqsa or disrupt Islamic prayers and, at times, gain access to the Mosque. Netanyahu’s rule has popularized the racist Kahane views more than at any other time in recent history, raising the possibility of Israeli political support and weaponizing an attack on the Muslim holy sites. The arrival of the prized red heifer could be the first step toward that frightening reality.

There is also concern these views are influencing a larger segment of Israelis including secular Jews. According to a Ha’aretz poll ten years ago, 43% of religious Jews and a surprising 31% of secular Israelis supported removing the Muslim shrines. Today, estimates are well over 70% of religious Jews support a Temple replacing the Muslim sites, while 40-50% of secular Israelis support the project.

Take Beth Kronfield, a secular American Jew who made aliya and founded the “High on Har” organization that provides tours of the Haram al-Sharif to promote the construction of the Third Temple. Recently Kromfield told CBS-TV: “It’s so important for the Jews to return and rebuild the temple. It’s not about taking anything from our Muslim brothers and sisters….. It’s about preserving this place and being guardians over the house of God for all people.”  Apparently, Beth is either ignorant or simply does not care about the violent and sacrilegious impact such an act will have on all Palestinians and the Muslim world.

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The Sabeel petition is an urgent call to people of all religious faiths and of no particular faith who oppose this dangerous plot that weaponizes false religious beliefs and turns them into a political nightmare.

Of significant concern is the growing political support these views hold in not only the  Netanyahu government but among Republican members of the U.S. Congress. Recently a leader of the Third Temple movement, Yishak Mamo of Oven Jerusalem, addressed the National Gathering for Prayer and Repentance,  convened by U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. CBS-TV described the meeting as a “who’s who” among fundamentalist  Christian Zionists including Republican members of Congress. Mamo explained the practical achievements of the project and introduced Byron Stinson, the Texas rancher who helped breed the red heifers. Stinson told the audience that constructing the Third Temple would usher in the Battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus.

If there is any hope after Israel’s attempt to utterly erase Palestinian lives, history, and presence in the Gaza Strip, it is how the ugly dark side of Zionism which rules Israel today has been exposed as a fascist, ultra-nationalist, regime that is perpetrating nothing short of a full-blown genocide of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip. The long-term solution and perhaps the only hope for security for Palestinians and the Israelis is the decolonization of Palestine and the demonization of Israel. It’s a tall order but the process is underway already.

But all hope will be dashed if the Netanyahu government or even a post-Netanyahu group of fanatic Christian and Jewish Zionists attempt to destroy the Harm-al Sharif. The removal of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque to prepare the way for a Third Jewish Temple will unleash unimagined cycles of violence and repression and must be avoided at all costs.

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