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The sacred gold-covered wooden chest believed to contain the two stone tablets on which Moses inscribed the Ten Commandments, which disappeared from Jerusalem over two thousand years ago, has long become the stuff of legends, with historians and archeologists engaging an intense debate regarding its whereabouts.

The long-lost Ark of the Covenant made it into the news again late last year after archeologists from Tel Aviv University uncovered a large stone table among the ruins of a temple in the town of Beit Shemesh, about 20 km west of Jerusalem, on which they believe the Ark was once stored before being transferred to Jerusalem in the 10th century BC.

It is thought that the ruins of the temple at Beit Shemesh may have been an attempt by King David of Judah to find a permanent place for the Ark. King Solomon, David’s son and successor, who ruled the United Kingdom of Israel between 970 and 931 BC, placed the Ark in a small room in the Temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, forbidding anyone except for men of the cloth to be in its presence. About three centuries later, the Ark disappeared, with debates about its location (and even about whether it still exists) continuing to this day. Below is a summary of the debate, compiled by Russian journalist and religious researcher Anton Skripunov:

The last recorded mention of the Ark dates back to 622 BC, when King Josiah told men of the cloth that there was no longer any need to carry the holy artifact around on display to show ordinary believers. According to legend, the Ark disappeared from Jerusalem before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed the city in 586 BC and led the Jews away to Babylon. Mysteriously, however, the relic was never mentioned in the list of items seized by the Babylonians, nor was it among the items returned to Jerusalem by Persian King Cyrus the Great a century later. It is known that since its restoration, the Temple of Jerusalem has remained empty.

According to biblical legend, the Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed because the Jews turned away from the worship of the one true God during the 55-year reign of Manasseh of Judah, who propagated the cult of Phoenician deity Baal and the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar.

The Judeans’ ‘sin of apostasy’ was spoken about by the Prophet Jeremiah, who according to legend gained possession of the Ark and hid it in a cave at Mount Nebo, beyond the River Jordan. But the cave was not marked, leading to the Ark’s loss. This story appears in the Second Book of Maccabees, and prompted Franciscan monks to carry out a large-scale search for the shrine in the 1930s. Commenting on this expedition, Jordanian archeologist Rustom Mkhjian recalled that the monks “searched for the grave of the Prophet Moses, and the Ark of the Covenant, but to no avail. Instead, they uncovered several 6th-7th century Byzantine temples with unique mosaics.”

However, other historians have doubts about the account. The Books of Maccabees were not included in the Hebrew Bible, and the story of Jeremiah and the Ark appeared only with the compilation of the Second book of Maccabees in about the second or first century BC.
An aerial view shows the Jordan River estuary of the Sea of Galilee near the community settlement

An alternative account, proposed by individuals including Shlomo Goren, a 20th century Orthodox Zionist rabbi and Talmudic scholar, suggested that the Ark never left Jerusalem at all, but remains hidden under the Temple Mount. In end times, the legend goes, when the Hebrew ‘Messiah’ – the future Jewish king from the Davidic line, returns to Earth, the Third temple would be built, and the Ark will be delivered there.
As Skripunov points out, it would be difficult to verify Goren’s theory archeologically, as the Temple Mount, which contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most important shrine of Islam, is guarded by the King of Jordan, while the area surrounding the Mount, including part of the temple’s foundation, is controlled by Israel. In this situation, Skripunov notes, “the ambiguous legal status of the Temple Mount prevents full-scale archeological surveys from being carried out. Of course, Israeli archeologists have repeatedly carried out digs at its base, but this has only led to international scandals and increased tensions in the region.”

Australian geologist and young-Earth creationist Andrew Snelling, for his part, believes that even if the Ark truly was in Jerusalem, it would have been placed in the Second Temple as soon as it was completed by Judea’s King Herod the Great and his descendants in the first century AD. Snelling believes the Ark was destroyed by the Babylonians. However, critics of his theory suggest that such a major event would have been spoken of in the Bible.

Another idea, also popularized in the early 20th century, and based on a papyrus dated back to the 5th century BC, speculates that the Ark of the Covenant may have been brought to the island of Tana Kirkos in modern day Ethiopia, and kept there from 400 BC to 400 AD before being taken to a palace in the city of Axum, northern Ethiopia. In 2008, researchers from the University of Hamburg said that they had found evidence allowing them to indirectly confirm the authenticity of events described in legend.

The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Axum, claims to be in possession of the Ark. The artefact remains closed off from viewing to the general public, and only one priest chosen for life to guard it is given access. Godefa Mehra, a minister at the church, explained that before the invasion of Ethiopia by Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s, the shrine was open to believers once a year. The practice was stopped after the end of the war, as many of the country’s holy sites were desecrated and vandalised.

However, others continue to doubt that the Ark at Axum is the true Ark, and say that this copy of the ‘Ark’ was brought there by Christian believers at the end of the third century AD. In any event, Ethiopia’s Christian community continues to insist on the inviolability of its main shrine, with Mehra describes as containing “not only the tablets with the Commandments, the manna and rod of the Prophet Aaron, but also the soul of our people.”
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From Jerusalem :: Wishing everyone good health and peace this special Shabbat.


The final chapter of the book of II Samuel tells the story of the plague that led to King David purchasing the threshing floor of Aravnah the Jebusite which was located on Mount Moriah, building an altar on the spot and making offerings to HaShem, and act which caused G-d to stay the plague which had taken the lives of 70,000 souls of Israel. David would not be allowed by G-d to build a Holy Temple on the spot where he built the altar, but King David's son Solomon would build the Temple in his father's stead.

II Samuel, Chapter 24:

And again the anger of HaShem was kindled against Israel and He moved David against them, saying, "Go count Israel and Judah." And the king said to Joab the captain of the host that was with him, "Go please, to and fro throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan as far as Beer-sheba and take census of the people, so that I may know the number of the people." And Joab said to the king, "May HaShem your G-d add to the people a hundredfold of whatsoever they may be, and the eyes of my lord, the king may see it; but my lord the king, why does he desire such a thing?" But the word of the king prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people, the Israelites. And they crossed the Jordan, and they camped in Aroer, to the right of the city that is [situated] in the middle of the valley of Gad, and to Jaezer. And they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan to the city of Jaan and round about to Zidon. And they came to the stronghold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites; and they went out to the South of Judah, to Beer-sheba. And they had gone to and fro throughout the entire land, and they came at the end of nine months and twenty days [back to] Jerusalem. And Joab presented the sum of the number of the people to the king; And Israel consisted of eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. And David's heart smote him after he had counted the people. And David said to HaShem: I have sinned greatly in what I have done; and now, 'O Lord, put aside please, the iniquity of your servant, for I was very foolish! And David rose up in the morning; and the word of HaShem came to Gad the Prophet, the seer of David, saying: "Go and speak to David, 'So says HaShem, "Three things I offer you, choose for yourself one of them, and I shall do it to you". And Gad came to David and he told him, and he said to him, "[Do you prefer] that seven years of famine in your land shall come upon you? or three months that you shall flee before your oppressor while he pursues you? or, that there be three days pestilence in your land? Now know and consider what I shall reply to Him that sent me. And David said to Gad; "I am greatly oppressed; let us fall now into the hand of HaShem; for His mercies are great; but into the hand of man let me not fall." So HaShem sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time; And there died of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men. And the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, and HaShem regretted the evil, and he said to the angel that destroyed among the people, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And the angel of HaShem was by the threshing-floor of Aravnah the Jebusite. And David said to HaShem when he saw the angel that smote among the people, and he said, "Behold I have sinned, and have acted iniquitously; but these sheep, what have they done? I beg that Your hand be against me, and against my father's house." And Gad came to David on that day, and said to him, "Go up to erect an altar to HaShem in the threshing-floor of Aravnah the Jebusite." And David went up according to the word of Gad, as HaShem had commanded. And Aravnah looked afar and he saw the king and his servants passing on towards him: and Aravnah went out and he bowed down to the king with his face to the ground. And Aravnah said, "Why has HaShem my king come to his servant?" And David said, "To acquire from you the threshing-floor, in order to build an altar to HaShem, that the plague be stayed from the people." And Aravnah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good in his eyes; behold the oxen for the burnt-offering and the threshing tools, and the [wooden] tools of the oxen for [fire] wood." All this Aravnah the king gave to the king. And Aravnah said to the king, "May HaShem your G-d accept you." And the king said to Aravnah, "No; for I will only buy it from you at a price; so that I will not offer to HaShem my G-d burnt-offerings [which I had received] for nothing." And David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to HaShem, and he offered up burnt-offerings and peace offerings. And HaShem was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
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3 weeks ago



by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

The Trump administration’s recently released “Peace to Prosperity” plan may be controversial, but it includes one provision on page 16 that gets to the core of the conflict it seeks to solve: “People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.”

Whomever disagrees with this stipulation is quite simply not interested in a genuine peace.

No matter what the details of any peace plan might look like, there is no justification for barring Jews from freely visiting and openly praying at their faith’s holiest site. The fact that nobody really dares to say so goes a long way towards explaining why the conflict between the Palestinians — supported by the wider Arab-Muslim world — and the world’s only Jewish state has remained so intractable.

The long Arab-Muslim war against self-determination for the Jews in their ancient homeland began a century ago, prominently led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose enthusiastic collaboration with the Nazis would eventually earn him the moniker “Hitler’s mufti.”

Husseini realized early on that fanning the flames of religious Jew-hate would enable him to mobilize murderous mobs whose savage violence was meant to demonstrate the futility of Jewish hopes to establish a safe haven in their ancestral homeland.

Fabricating a charge that was no less vicious than the medieval blood libel, Husseini insinuated that the Jews were plotting to take over and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in order to rebuild the Temple. This vicious libel was not only used to incite the notorious Hebron massacre in 1929, but it also remained a powerful source of incitement during the years of the murderous Al-Aqsa intifada (2000-2005).

Even now, the Al-Aqsa libel is reflected in the false reports that are regularly spread by Palestinians and their supporters whenever Jews visit the Temple Mount. Just google “settlers storm Al-Aqsa” and you will get hundreds of thousands of “reports” denouncing Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount as vicious intruders bent on desecrating an exclusively Muslim holy site.

But apparently no one feels that the countless hate preachers who regularly hold forth at the Al-Aqsa Mosque are desecrating what is supposedly Islam’s third holiest site. In the latest example from last month, a preacher fired up a large crowd in the mosque’s courtyard with rhetoric that echoed the ideology of the most extremist Islamist terror groups.

One could cite a depressingly long list of examples to illustrate that the seeds sown by “Hitler’s mufti” proved all too fruitful. Anyone who claims to want peace must work to put an end to his poisonous legacy. Yet as far as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials are concerned, Husseini should be honored as a Palestinian “pioneer” and “role model.”

When it comes to the Temple Mount, it is downright pathetic when politicians and pundits insist that the “status quo” on the site must be preserved for the sake of peace. How does it promote peace when the “status quo” encourages Muslims to threaten violence in order to prevent Jews from praying at the holiest site of their faith? How does it promote peace when the “status quo” indulges persistent Muslim denial of the historic Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount, as well as the site’s significance for many Christians?

So if you want peace in the Middle East, start with page 16 of Trump’s plan — you don’t even have to be religious to realize that once Jews, Christians, and Muslims can pray together for peace on the Temple Mount, the extremists that have condemned the region to war and misery will face decisive defeat.

Petra Marquardt-Bigman is a German-Israeli freelance writer and researcher with a Ph.D. in contemporary history.
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Please SHARE the TRUTH about Jerusalem and help protect Israels eternal unified capital!
Prayers today in Jerusalem for those suffering in China...

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In their joint press conference on Tuesday, in which the details of the Trump administration's 'Deal of the Century' were revealed for the first time, both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that the current status quo on the Temple Mount is to be preserved.

There is much to be recommended in the Deal of the Century and much to be dismissed, (the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heartland of Israel, to give one example), but the preservation of the status quo on the Temple Mount is an affront to all freedom loving people, and contradicts the spirit of the proposed agreement, which has otherwise made far-reaching strides toward addressing other issues vital to Israel's interests.

The Temple Mount status quo is a most egregious relic from Israel's post 1967 Six Day War arrangement with Jordan, which had illegally occupied the Temple Mount for nineteen years. The agreement was to allow the Muslim Waqf which administered the Muslim sites on the Temple Mount to remain in place. Jewish presence was to be minimized. This status quo evolved over the decades to today's farcical status quo, in which the Muslim Waqf claims, and works actively and illegally to control the entire Temple Mount under the absurd and patently false claim that the entire Temple Mount is a Muslim mosque and therefore exclusive only to Muslims. Non-Muslims, Jews and Christians alike, are left with the table scraps: exceedingly limited hours in which they are allowed access to the Mount, and a total ban on any religious worship on the Mount.

While gains have been made in recent years enabling very limited Jewish prayer on the Mount, the current situation remains an open and festering atrocity.

Any attempt toward attaining peace in the land of Israel that does not ensure unlimited access and freedom of worship to peoples of all faiths is doomed to fail. Any international agreement that does not honor the vision of Isaiah, who spoke in G-d's name, "For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations," (Isaiah 56:7) is not worth the paper it is written on.

It was very disheartening to hear both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu voice allegiance to the discriminatory and disgraceful status quo on the Temple Mount.

The written text of the Deal of the Century likewise calls for the preservation of the status quo, but immediately after, oddly enough, calls for the eradication of the status quo:

The relevant section (on page 16 of the “Peace to Prosperity” document released Tuesday), reads as follows:

“Unlike many previous powers that had ruled Jerusalem, and had destroyed the holy sites of other faiths, the State of Israel is to be commended for safeguarding the religious sites of all and maintaining a religious status quo. Given this commendable record for more than half a century, as well as the extreme sensitivity regarding some of Jerusalem’s holy sites, we believe that this practice should remain, and that all of Jerusalem’s holy sites should be subject to the same governance regimes that exist today. In particular the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif should continue uninterrupted.

“Jerusalem’s holy sites should remain open and available for peaceful worshippers and tourists of all faiths. People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.”

What will it be: religious freedom or the preservation of the status quo on the Temple Mount? They cannot coexist. One cancels out the other.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed this double-speak before. The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty of 1994 reads as follows:



1 Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.

2 In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.

3 The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

The Israeli government's insistence on maintaining the status quo as a sop to the Jordanian monarch is in direct violation of both the treaty's word and spirit, plain and simple.

Trashing the persistent and pernicious status quo, for one and for all, while it may ruffle King Abdullah's feathers, and guaranteeing, protecting and providing freedom of worship on the Temple Mount for all faiths, is the only way to attain peace and justice and make immeasurable strides towards the fulfilling of Isaiah's timeless vision of harmony and brotherhood for all mankind.
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2 months ago

Important questions...  Israel must never compromise on its eternal unified capital!
Today is International Holocaust Rememberance Day.  It is a day we remember the loss of over 6 million Jewish people.  Jerusalem will never remain silent and the light of TRUTH will continue to shine forth from Israels capital city!

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