A Millennium-Old Arabic Inscription Acknowledging the Presence of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

While it has become a mainstay of Muslim anti-Israel propaganda to deny the historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and the very existence of the two Temples there, an obscure Arabic inscription serves as a reminder that it was not always thus, as Ilan Ben Zion writes:

The previously overlooked dedicatory inscription from the mosque of Umar in Nuba, a village some sixteen miles southwest of Jerusalem, mentions the village as an endowment for the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. But what’s striking is that the Dome of the Rock is referred to in the text as “the rock of the Bayt al-Maqdis”—literally, “the Holy Temple”—a verbatim translation of the Hebrew term for the Jerusalem Temple that early Muslims employed to refer to Jerusalem as a whole and to the gold-domed shrine in particular. . . .

Israeli researchers, who presented their findings during a conference on Jerusalem archaeology last week, dated it to the 9th or 10th centuries CE, based on the Arabic writing’s orthography and formulation comparable to dedicatory inscriptions from mosques in Ramleh and Bani Naim. . . .

Further, medieval Muslim traditions surrounding the Dome of the Rock cited by the authors “identified the mount again and again with King David and with King Solomon’s Temple” and “understood the mount to be the ancient Temple rebuilt, the Quran the true faith, and the Muslims the true children of Israel.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: First Temple, History & Ideas, Islam, Jewish history, Temple Mount

Why Arab Jerusalem Has Stayed Quiet

One of Hamas’s most notable failures since October 7 is that it has not succeeded in inspiring a violent uprising either among the Palestinians of the West Bank or the Arab citizens of Israel. The latter seem horrified by Hamas’s actions and tend to sympathize with their own country. In the former case, quiet has been maintained by the IDF and Shin Bet, which have carried out a steady stream of arrests, raids, and even airstrikes.

But there is a third category of Arab living in Israel, namely the Arabs of Jerusalem, whose intermediate legal status gives them access to Israeli social services and the right to vote in municipal elections. They may also apply for Israeli citizenship if they so desire, although most do not.

On Wednesday, off-duty Israeli soldiers in the Old City of Jerusalem shot at a Palestinian who, it seems, was attempting to attack them. But this incident is a rare exception to the quiet that has prevailed in Arab Jerusalem since the war began. Eytan Laub asked a friend in an Arab neighborhood why:

Listen, he said, we . . . have much to lose. We already fear that any confrontation would have consequences. Making trouble may put our residence rights at risk. Furthermore, he added, not a few in the neighborhood, including his own family, have applied for Israeli citizenship and participating in disturbances would hardly help with that.

Such an attitude reflects a general trend since the end of the second intifada:

In recent years, the numbers of [Arab] Jerusalemites applying for Israeli citizenship has risen, as the social stigma of becoming Israeli has begun to erode and despite an Israeli naturalization process that can take years and result in denial (because of the requirement to show Jerusalem residence or the need to pass a Hebrew language test). The number of east Jerusalemites granted citizenship has also risen, from 827 in 2009 to over 1,600 in 2020.

Oddly enough, Laub goes on to argue, the construction of the West Bank separation fence in the early 2000s, which cuts through the Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem, has helped to encouraged better relations.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Jerusalem