- Israeli scholars are warning of a travesty at
the holiest site in Judaism. They say Palestinian
Muslims are bulldozing tons of stone containing
priceless historical treasures at the famed Temple
Mount, and the government of Israel has done nothing to
In a CBN News exclusive,
last week in Jerusalem Pat Robertson talked with Dr.
Eilat Mazer, an archaeologist at Hebrew University, who
provided photographic evidence of the destruction.
Pat Robertson: I'm
showing pictures here that show stones from the Temple
from ancient days, then I see a stone cutter and little
clean blocks where these ancient stones from the Temple
Mount have been cut up by Palestinians. Dr. Mazer, would
you tell us about it?
Dr. Mazer: Well,
it's quite a long time that the Islamic authorities are
destroying the ancient antiquities of the Temple Mount.
And we are speaking about the area which contains the
remains since the first Temple period, the Biblical
period, and then the New Testament period at the second
Temple period, the time of Jesus at the Temple Mount,
and then later periods, Byzantine period, the Crusades
period. And they destroy it all. They have one goal,
which is very certain and we have very solid evidence
about it: to build the whole area as a mosque and they
couldn't care less what they do.
looking at a picture here that shows — I don't know if
we can get a close-up of this — but this picture shows
the ruins. It shows an arch in here. It shows the
antiquity and it shows the entrance to a mosque. And
then later [a follow-up picture shows] all this has been
bulldozed away and just the arch [from the mosque] is
left. There were several Roman columns I understand.
is a stone from the Herodian period, and you can see
this is characteristic of the Herodian period, the
second Temple period, and you can see the layers by
layers that should have been studied carefully and taken
they just bulldozed it away?
it away. You can see the tractors working [in this
picture]. Then furthermore, they have this stone cutter,
which is on the Temple Mount. The ancient stones are
there. We have one of the pictures showing how they have
the ancient stones piled up near the stone cutter and
then they cut it into new paving stones and new building
stones and we can see afterwards how they built with
them. This is [during] a time — here you can see this
— this is a time when it's like [they were] saying
nothing happens on the Temple Mount by the government,
by the police, nothing happened. But we can see [it
isn't the government of Israel — I talked to Mayor
Olmert and he said he's now learned about it and he's
stopped it. Is that not the case?
said they stop it, but nothing has stopped as you see.
We have aerial photographs taken as we can see the
development, 16,000 meters square are already paved and
constructed and we're speaking just about a progress
that is getting worse and worse.
hasn't someone stopped this?
we are very large group of citizens from Israel, from
all parties, places, name it, but we don't have the
force to influence the government which has such really
hard problems nowadays and it's very hard to be very
determined about what's going on in the Temple Mount. So
that's what happened.
pictures, I'm told if someone knew that these pictures
had been taken, the chances of their being killed is
very real. Is that correct?
why we've been very careful and really, you are the
first to see —
is this? [pointing to an artifact on the table]
is on the Temple Mount. You can see it's clearly seen.
You see this piece of stone, very beautifully decorated.
This is just one that has been taken out, very riskily
out of the Temple Mount. But we know that lots and lots
of material, complete pottery vessels, architectural
elements, we expect to be there lots of inscriptions
also relating to these ancient and most important
structures that are laid there, destroyed, but still so
example, what would be done with this? They're going to
bulldoze it and make it scrap?
First if you realize — I don't know whenever, that it
has been there after it is cut into new material
construction, you never know.
is the date of this piece?
is a late Byzantine architectural element. I also have
with me an ancient lamp. This is dated to the late First
Century AD really less than 100 years after Jesus. And
it's complete. It has been taken out, very riskily. You
can see how beautiful it is.
is lovely, it’s completely intact. It has no damage
we have here, a handle of a cooking pot. This is dated
to the time of Jesus, really. This is First Century —
you telling me that these artifacts would be bulldozed
and just crushed?
is the less important elements that could have been
taken — but the complete vessels, the inscriptions,
the architectural elements — we don't see them even.
They are taken out and we hear that the antiquities
market is full of them, the most important and
interesting pottery vessels and remains and finds. This
is something which we cannot control. As tractors are
bulldozing out, it's like almost 20,000 tons, and we
know it by counting trucks that are going in and out,
have been taken out of the Temple Mount. 12,000 have
been dumped into the garbage area, and then they
received some improvement, like the antiquities
authority is going to watch it. But you cannot watch
tons and tons of dumps.
appalling to me. I know this is a difficult situation,
that Israel controls the Temple Mount, or does it
control the Temple Mount? Who controls it now?
this is a hard question. I can speak just about the
evidence and the evidence is such a brutalic destruction
that couldn't be [tolerated] anywhere else in the world.
But altogether, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which
is so important to so many millions in the world, it's
not just for Jews or just for Israel. This is a common
cultural, most important site.
you taken these photographs to the authorities? Have you
taken them to the prime minister's office or to the
mayor or somebody?
we did. We showed it to so many people, including the
prime minister, including [Security Minister] Uzzi
Landau, including [Jerusalem Mayor] Ehud Olmert,
do they say?
they will see to it that they will try to control it,
that they will do their best, but at the same time, they
hear from local authorities like the police that not so
much is going on, because the police is the only figure
that can go up. They don't allow anybody except the
Muslims to go up. So we cannot bring the media into the
Temple Mount to show the media by themselves, they don't
need us to see the destruction. But nobody can get in.
what you're saying is as we speak at this moment, this
destruction is still going on?
than you think because now we know that hundreds of
people are working in construction on the Temple Mount.
We have very solid evidence about hundreds of volunteers
— it's a volunteer work — are working and they’re
brought by buses and they make the work and nobody, it's
very hurting, nobody is stopping them.
you for sharing this. We'll get this out to see what
happens next. Thank you so much.
are most welcome.
Lee Webb: Since
this interview was recorded, Dr. Mazer has informed CBN
that Palestinians are bringing large amounts of
construction materials into the Temple Mount area.
Observers watched workers haul in 20 wagonloads of
cement, sand and stone chips on Monday. The Israeli
government denies that, but tomorrow ten parties in the
Knesset are expected to call for a discussion and
investigation of the Temple Mount activities.
Pat Robertson: Ladies
and gentlemen, this is the Temple of Solomon, this is
the Temple of Herod. This is the place where Jesus
walked. It is the most holy place of Judaism and the
most holy place of Christianity. The Muslims only have a
secondary claim to it because that Dome of the Rock
mosque was built about the 7th or 8th Century after they
tore down that Orthodox church. So they're latecomers.
But this is the place of Mount Moriah where Abraham was
taking his son Isaac for sacrifice. It is the place
where Solomon built the Temple. It is an incredibly
important place. And the antiquities, we showed you one
pile of marble columns that were recovered intact in the
Temple from the Roman period and the Palestinians took
them outside and broke them and threw them out in a big
pile. You saw the pile of marble columns. This is a
desecration that should send the entire world into
orbit. You heard the outcry about what the Taliban is
doing to some statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Well,
this is every bit as bad and yet, the fact that the
Israelis themselves control this thing and yet they
don't dare go in there and stop it.
I remember when Netanyahu was prime minister.
They opened up some tunnels underneath the Temple Mount
and the outcry internationally, not just from the
Islamic community, but internationally, forced that to
stop and here we have wholesale destruction of
archaeological material that's just being trucked out of
the Temple Mount and there doesn't seem to be any
report, any outcry, anything at all.
Pat Robertson: This
is the first time these pictures have been shown to a
television audience in America. The lady who you saw,
Dr. Mazer is a distinguished archaeologist from Hebrew
University in Jerusalem. She's not some newcomer to the
scene. She's so passionate about this particular matter.
And I'm just fortunate I recorded that interview just
before I left Jerusalem. Ladies and gentlemen, this is
the kind of thing that's happening. We're being snowed
under with an avalanche of propaganda coming out of the
PLO and I'm telling you, it's time that the Christians
of America and those of goodwill around the world call
for a halt to this thing. This is a terrible
The Israeli media
company Media Line contributed to this report.
"Sanhedrin" convened to hold its monthly meeting
in early February 2005, with the question of the
Holy Temple's precise location the main topic on
recently re-established Sanhedrin - ideally,
Judaism's top legal assembly - of 71 rabbis and
scholars also moved to solidify logistical
aspects of the body.
The Sanhedrin heard expert testimony on the
various opinions as to the exact part of the
Temple Mount upon which the Holy Temple stood.
The fact that there has never been an
archaeological expedition or dig on the Temple
Mount, coupled with continuous Muslim efforts to
destroy historical evidence of the Holy Temple
at the site, have made determining the exact
Identifying the spot on which the Temple stood
is a matter of controversy among scholars, and
has serious ramifications for those wishing to
visit the Temple Mount. It is also critical for
the renewal of the Passover sacrifice, and
ultimately for the building of the third and
final Holy Temple. While numerous opinions have
been expressed throughout the years, and while
several of them were expressed at the Sanhedrin
gathering this week, the two main opinions state
that the Temple stood either on the spot
currently occupied by the gold-topped Dome of
the Rock, or just to the north of that spot. An
opinion that the Temple stood south of that
spot, approximately behind the present-day
Western Wall, was also presented - though most
scholars basically discount it.
The opinion that it is impossible to determine
the site of the Temple without prophecy was also
Currently, observant Jewish visitors to the
Temple Mount undergo strict preparations in
accordance with halakhah (Jewish law),
including - but not limited to - immersion in a
mikveh (ritual bath) prior to ascending
the Mount. Once on the Mount, they adhere to a
specific route, based upon the accepted
positions of rabbinical authorities. (A map of
the permitted area reflecting the most central
and widely-accepted route can be viewed
by clicking here).
The opinions were delivered by rabbis,
professors and archaeologists, all experts in
the matter of the Temple Mount. A final
presentation on the matter will be given to the
Sanhedrin by a subcommittee now in formation.
The subcommittee will thoroughly examine the
various opinions, and present its findings to
the Sanhedrin, which is then to make a decision
on whether the site can be determined.
The founders of the new Sanhedrin stress that
they are merely fulfilling a Biblical mitzvah
(obligation). “It is a special mitzvah , based
on our presence in Israel, to establish a
Sanhedrin,” Rabbi Meir HaLevi, one of the 71
members of the new Sanhedrin, has explained.
“The Rambam [12th-century Torah scholar
Maimonides] describes the process exactly in the
Mishnah Torah [his seminal work codifying Jewish
Law]. When he wrote it, there was no Sanhedrin,
and he therefore outlines the steps necessary to
During Temple times, the 71 members of the
Sanhedrin, the center of Jewish jurisprudence,
were seated in a semi-circle within a special
chamber in the courtyard of the Temple.
“It is appropriate that the Sanhedrin convened
to discuss this lofty matter [of the Temple's
location] this week,” Sanhedrin spokesman Rabbi
Chaim Richman told Arutz-7’s Ezra HaLevi, “as
the Torah portion is Terumah – the portion of
the Bible which begins to deal with the
preparations for the Tabernacle. Though
seemingly esoteric, the preparations for
building a Tabernacle and the Temple are at the
center of who we are as a people.”
Richman also said that it was heartening to see
that despite talk of withdrawal from parts of
the Land of Israel, and despite Prime Minister
Sharon’s declaration that Israel has “given up
its dreams,” the Sanhedrin continues to move
toward strengthening the nation of Israel. “As
all these things happen all around us," Rabbi
Richman said, "the Sanhedrin is researching ways
to renew the deepest roots of our faith – to
renew Temple service, reunite Jewish legal
tradition and inspire the Jewish people to
aspire to greatness. Our people have one path
before us, and we will continue to march toward
Sanhedrin member Rabbi Yisrael Ariel - former
Yeshiva head, founder of the Temple Institute,
and one of the paratroopers who took part in the
1967 liberation of the Temple Mount - said:
“People today ask, ‘Who are we in this
generation to even consider building the
Temple?’ But in this week’s Torah portion we see
that the commandment to build a Temple was given
to Jews who had just sinned and committed
idolatry in the Sin of the Golden Calf. The fact
is that what G-d requires in this world is for
regular people to do their best. That is what we
are trying to do.”