“All of Jerusalem is on fire today,” begins a reporter’s account of the fighting in East Jerusalem on Tuesday. The speaker was wrong… but still, there were small fires burning. They were arson, lighted by Fatah and Hamas leaders who urged Palestinians to violence because an ancient synagogue reopened on Monday.
Tuesday was designated Temple Mount Awareness Day by the Temple Institute, among other organizations. I’d hoped to go to the Temple Mount for this event, to observe and photograph. However, prayer house commitments kept me from going. A colleague said very few showed up. In any case, the Temple Mount was closed to all non-Muslims as a security measure.
While some Jews are calling for religious freedom on the Temple Mount, Hamas called for a ‘day of rage’ and urged Palestinians to start a third infitada, or uprising. All the while, the United States and others are chastising Israel for not promoting peace.
Whoa! Back up! In 1967, Israel retook Old City Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. In an effort to stabilize Muslim-Jewish relations, Israel allowed the Muslims to control the Temple Mount. Non-Muslims have not been able to do anything religious up there since. And now, because Hamas and Fatah and other extremist factions seem to fear a 200 year old prophecy by a rabbi, the Temple Mount is on lock down and Muslims are fighting Israeli police on the Via Dolorosa.
Even better, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says “Israel must prove peace commitment.” Are you kidding me? Who is calling for ‘day of rage’? Who has called on Palestinians to rise up? Who is busing Muslim bedouins from southern Israel to “defend” the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount?
Israel, meanwhile, is doing a darned good job of making sure the skirmishes that have broken out are contained. I knew that there was rock throwing and fire bombings in parts, and still I traveled safely and peacefully to the open air market by bus, walked the streets with my housemates.
There is so much I want to say, but it is late here and I have class in the morning. I just wanted to say that I am safe and very much at peace. The Lord has brought me here at this time. I am excited… especially after receiving some direction about what will follow my three months here. More on that later.
Remember that Psalm 122 urges us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That means peace for all here. The Lord tarries because He wishes no one to perish. So, even as we cry, “Maranatha,” that is “Lord come,” we keep our hand to plow, we keep sowing seed, we keep reaping the harvest of souls.