The Foundation Stone of the Temple in Jerusalem

Yisrael Medad reported yesterday that renovation work is again being carried out inside the Dome of the Rock and that scaffolding has been put on The Rock, known as the Foundation Stone.

He rightly complains that none of the Israel State authorities have shown any inclination to commit themselves to the Protection of Holy Places Law:

The Protection of Holy Places Law 5727 (1967), to remind us, reads:

The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places…2 (a) Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of seven years.

His article was accompanied by these pictures, which were scanned from the Makor Rishon newspapaer:

Pails, ropes, the bottom rungs of a construction workers' support platform and other items required for the renovation of a building were placed on The Rock.
The Dome of the Rock is being renewed and no one from amongst Israel's Chief Rabbinate nor any archaeological supervisory institution was asked to either agree, oversee or lend an opinion.

The Rock, known in Arabic as the Sakhra,  around which the Dome of the Rock was built, was of course the location of the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple in  Jerusalem. This drawing shows the location of The Rock inside the Dome of the Rock:

The Rock (yellow) inside the Dome of the Rock is the highest point of Mount Moriah. © Leen Ritmeyer

The plan shows the relationship between The Rock and Solomon’s Temple:

This plan shows The Rock, which is the top of Mount Moriah, (now inside the Islamic Dome of the Rock), where Abraham was sent to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22.2). The Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place) of Solomon's Temple stood on this mountain top. The walls of Solomon's Temple are indicated in blue. When Solomon built the Temple, it was necessary to create flat areas in order for the rectangular foundation stones to stand perfectly horizontal. The foundation trench of the southern wall of Solomon's temple can still be detected. The western and northern walls were built against rock scarps. In the centre of the Holy of Holies is a level depression that was specially made for the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8.6,21). After the destruction of the First Temple in 486 BC, the Second Temple was built in the same location.

Medad’s article is followed up by Nadav Shragai’s blog post “The Temple Mount: Second Temple-era mikveh discovered under Al-Aqsa mosque”. This, of course, is not a recent find, as it was already discovered in the 1930’s by Hamilton, although made public only a few years ago. See these previous posts here and here.

Nadav’s post is, however, worth reading as it gives a potted history of what happened on the Temple Mount since the devastating earthquake in 1927.

 

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