Yes, you read that headline right–almost. Aish’s goal appears to be to hasten the birth pangs of the messiah, a new Middle East and Holy war. A hat tip to Rabbi Haim Beliak for pointing me to Linda Gradstein’s eye-opening radio story (mp3) (PRI’s The World) on Aish HaTorah’s dedication of a scale model of the Temple on the rooftop of its International Outreach Center just a stone’s through (literally and figuratively) from the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This is not just a papier mache “model.” It took a year to build, weighs a ton, and contains the same gold, silver, and marble as the original. It cost “a lot of money” to quote Gradstein. In fact, Robert Zarnegin’s family (he was a Southern California real estate mogul) won the right to put his name on the Temple model with his single $360,000 gift (presumably there are others as well), which gives you an idea of how much “a lot” is. This clearly is serious business and not just wishful thinking on the part of a few crazy messianists.
But in case you’re worried, Rabbi Ephraim Shore, Aish’s Israel director, wants to make clear (ahem, ahem) that the group is by no means advocating the erection of a Third Temple in Jerusalem. Certainly not:
It’s true that in Judaism there is a concept that there will again be a Temple on this spot, but most religious authorities, and that’s…Aish HaTorah certainly goes into this…is that that’s God’s job to do.
Apparently, other Jews attending the model dedication didn’t get Shore’s memo. One woman said after the model was lifted into place by a construction crane:
What we just witnessed is just a little tiny taste of what’s to come. Hopefully, speedily and in our days…the real Temple come down from above just like that one did, standing right there where that gold shiny thing is [she points in the distance to the Muslim Dome of the Rock].
What she neglects to mention is that the real Temple would presumably have to supplant that “gold shiny thing,” a development that would not be welcomed by a few Muslims. Aish understands this is an issue fraught with tension and conflict and it would never contribute to such inter-religious hostility, now would it? In fact, Rabbi Shore invites Muslims to visit the Temple model which he apparently believes they’ll find spiritually uplifting:
We invite people of all religions, Jews, Christians, Muslims to come and visit and see this spot and learn more about the Temple that stood here. And we don’t really anticipate any controversy because after all the Temple, and Judaism and the Torah is part of the heritage of Christians and Muslims.
I have no doubt whatsoever that Muslims around the world will welcome the idea that a right-wing extremist Jewish group supporting the settler enterprise and fomenting hatred against Muslims and Barack Obama in the last election campaign, will welcome the Temple model as an expression of the peace-loving intentions of the Jewish people.
Gradstein also interviews a rabbi from the Temple Institute who has done all the research necessary into the vessels, ritual objects and ceremonies that will be needed for the rebuilt Temple. Ateret HaCohanim Yeshiva has trained rabbis who will become the priests for the Temple, God willing, when the time comes. They’ve got the whole thing worked out, I tell ya.
The only thing they don’t have worked out is the religious war that will ensue as soon as Muslims believe the Jews are crazy enough to bring this project to fruition. So thanks to Aish HaTorah for playing their constructive role in bringing that moment just a little bit closer to reality. When you think of Aish, think of Holy War, because that’s what these Jewish zealots are advocating whether they acknowledge it or not.
Let’s keep in mind this is the same Aish which created the Clarion Fund, which produced the two anti-Muslim films, Obsession and Third Jihad. The same group which distributed tens of thousands of DVDs of the former film to voters in swing states before the presidential election. How can anyone doubt that Aish’s intentions are anything but honorable and absolutely non-political in everything they do?
“We have no political intentions whatsoever,” he [Shore] said.
Just like they had no intention whatsoever of taking sides in the presidential election–except when the Third Jihad website compared the security policies of Obama and McCain and found guess whose wanting?? These are very slick, cool operators. They’re down and dirty and dangerous. And there will never be peace until they are exposed for all the Jewish world to see.