For three decades , Gershon Solomon , a militant Israel who head an organisation dedicated to the destruction of Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine, had led Zionist zealots in armed assaults on the Muslim grounds of Haram Al Sharif , or Noble Sanctuary, that encloses both the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Masjid.
No Israeli political leader has spoken out against the assault on the Masjid, holy to billion Muslims around the world. Moreover no Israel rabbi has condemned them. Indeed, beginning in 1967, many of the assaults were led by Jewish rabbis.
I first heard about the Israel militants intent to destroy the Masjid in 1979 when I went to Jerusalem. I talked at length with Bobby Brown, a third generation american from Brooklyn, flying to the Jewish state and instantly become a new citizen, confiscated land from Palestinians to help build an illegal Jewish settlement. ' The Masjid" he told me " has got to go. It is a blot in our land".
Militant Jews such as Brown and Solomon want a Jerusalem that si pure Jewish - without evidence of inhabitants of the other monotheistic faiths and their shrine. Surprisingly , millions of U.S. evangelical Christians endorse and financially support this Jewish plan.
Although united in the immediate goal of destroying of the Masjid , the Israel militants and Christian zealots have different long-range agendas.
Secular Jews, such as Stanley Goldfoot, one of the perpetrators of the dynamiting in 1946 of the King David Hotel which killed some 100 Christian, Muslim and Jewish civilians, want the Masjid destroyed for political reasons. Other Jews believe that the building of the temple on the Muslim grounds will usher in the Jewish Messiah.
A growing number of Christians embrace the idea that in all history, Israel is on the center stage. They say God has planned epochs of time ("dispensations") such as "in-gathering of the Jews in the ancient land of Canaan. One epoch, they say , includes the present time when Jews are obligated to build a Jewish temple and re-institute animal sacrifice , such epochs or "dispensations" are necessary, they say before Christ can return. Ironically, when Christian dispensationalists place Israel as the most important nation in all the world , they do respect or even like Jews-as-Jews. Yet, because they believe Christ can only land in a "safe" area near Jerusalem, they make a cult of the land. They thus give total , unquestioned support to Israel.
Goldfoot and Solomon are welcome in countless U.S. pulpits, where Christian Zionists give generous donations of money, as well as their gold weeding rings and gold earrings to finance the Masjid destruction. They know its destruction might well trigger wars culminating in Armageddon , but they welcome this. They push Armageddon along, saying they, as "Born Again Christians," will be spared any suffering, because they will be "Raptured," wafted up into heaven to view the slaughter below. " I am not worried," Lynchburg, Virginia televangelist Jerry Falwell shouts. " You know why? I ain't gonna be here!"
This dispensationalist doctrine, less than 200 years old , pervades Assemblies of God, Pentecostal and other charismatic churches, as well as the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention and count-less so called Bible churches and mega-churches. It's estimated that at least one out of every 10 Americans is a devotee of this cult.
In both Israel and the U.S. a conspiracy of silence reigns as militants lay siege to the Jerusalem Masjid. No political leader - or religious leader - in Israel or the U.S. addressed this issue. In the case of Israel rabbis, if they themselves have not aided and abetted planned assaults on the Masjid , they have kept silent. In the case of all major U.S.Christian church leaders - the voices that are heard through out the land - if they themselves are not raising money to destroy the Masjid , they keep silent about the conspiracy.
" I don't favor it ," one Christian told me. " But if it happens " - the destruction of the Masjid -- " it doesn't mean i won't support."
Courtesy: The Washington Report For Middle East Affairs, March 2000.