Sharing the Temple Mount

      Rabbinic statement on sharing the Temple Mount: The Temple Mount is desecrated by the shedding of blood

Jewish Peace Lobby

    As human beings, as Jews, and as rabbis, we are horrified by the shedding of blood in our Holy Land. We mourn the senseless loss of life, both Palestinian and Israeli. We are more horrified by the emergence of mob violence on both sides of the ethnic divide.

    We appeal to all those responsible not to inflame or use the passions and anger of young people. This is a weapon over which you will ultimately have no control.

    We are still more horrified that blood has been shed at and because of the site holy to both Judaism and Islam. The Temple Mount is the home of peace, the place from which peace is to go forth to the entire world. This is the place of which the prophet Isaiah says, "my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." It is desecrated by shows of military force, by cries of hatred and the throwing of stones, and most of all by the shedding of blood.

    In the face of this horror and desecration, it is time to step back and reflect. We applaud all efforts to end violence and bloodshed. After an appropriate period of mourning we hope and pray that peace efforts will go forward. We have learned from recent events that peace cannot be made by leaders alone. We commit ourselves to teaching and spreading receptiveness to peace and changes of attitude, especially among the youth. We long for Palestinian partners, religious leaders and educators on all levels, who will make the same commitment.

    We understand that it will require great courage for you to come forth. We promise to support that courage as best we can. As Jewish religious leaders, we do not want the site of our holy temple to be an obstacle to peace between our two peoples.

    Judaism does not demand exclusive Jewish sovereignty over this site, one we are not permitted to visit in pre-messianic times. Judaism has always respected Islam as a fellow monotheistic faith. The presence of Islamic holy places on the Temple Mount in no way desecrates the temple mount for us and we see it as a partial fulfillment of our prophet's vision. We oppose any effort to harm or remove those shrines.

----- Jewish Peace Lobby

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