IDF Brig. Gen. (ret.) Aryeh Eldad, a noted physician and former far-right MK, was profiled in this week’s Israel HaYom magazine. The lede says:
I think we must build the Temple on the Temple Mount and afterward we should remove the Dome of the Rock.
On the one hand, it’s not at all surprising that this long-time leader of the settler movement, and son of a key leader of the Jewish terror underground, Lehi should harbor such views. But it is surprising that Israel HaYom would offer him its lead story in the most-read Friday edition of the week. Especially on a week when Israel inched that much closer to full-scale religious confrontation.
Views which in the past were viewed as delusional or aberrant are now mainstream. There are those Israeli apologists who argue these views remain marginal. But that’s no longer true. Any fool can see that in terms of U.S. presidential politics. The unthinkable is not only thought, it’s made real.
Even if we never see an actual Third Temple, the views Eldad represents will inevitably lead somehow to a catastrophe of epic proportions. We Jews remember the destruction of two previous Temples. It’s entirely possible that the destruction of the Third Temple will be the death of the Israeli state. The alternative to destruction is an Israel which vanquishes its enemies in a Middle East transformed into a nuclear wasteland.
Eldad is a leading Israeli physician and burn specialist, internationally renowned in his field. Ironically, if he got his way and Israel did rebuild the Temple, there would be a great need for his medical services as the ensuing war would leave tens of thousands of dead and dying, including those with major burns.
When he was a Knesset member he chaired the ethics committee. My guess is that he doesn’t believe that ethics, as far as Israel is concerned, need concern itself with anything other than Jews.
On a related, satirical note, this article is a further sign that Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper has completely dumped Bibi Netanyahu. What was once a marriage made in heaven (or the other place) has turned into a rather ugly divorce. Adelson has already found his next political bashert, Naftali Bennett. Since its founding the paper has been known as Bibiton (“Bibipaper”). But I’ve devised a new moniker: Bennetton. Not to be confused with the Italian clothing retailer!
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.