Haram el-Sharif? Jerusalem Councilman enlightens Mike Pence
The Temple Mount is the holiest site for Jews, and only third in line for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina.
As the announcement of the ‘Trump plan’ gets closer, a Jerusalem City Councilman was moved to gently explain to US Vice President Mike Pence, a lover of Israel, why his using the Arabic term ‘Haram el-Sharif’ to refer to the Jewish people’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, was inaccurate.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. Vice President:
I would like to thank you for your first, greatly moving visit to Israel and its capital Jerusalem, last month. As a Councilman for the City of Jerusalem I was thrilled by your visit in our city particularly because Jerusalem is the eternal capital, now officially recognized by your great country, of Israel and indeed of the Jewish people throughout the world.
I also profoundly appreciate the tremendous support that the State of Israel has received from the United States — all through Israel’s close to 70 years, and under the current administration in particular.
In your moving words in our city, you described Jerusalem as a city belonging to all religions. A city where the daughters and sons of the three monotheistic religions can visit their holy places with dignity. This beautiful description precisely reflects the efforts of the Government of Israel, the Jerusalem Municipality and the entire Israeli public to achieve tolerance and peace between religions.
It appeared to me however that there was one inadvertent inaccuracy in your moving words, and that was when you listed the sacred sites of each religion. What you referred to as Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary and described as a location of supreme importance to Muslim worshippers, is the Temple Mount, Har Habayit, where the Holy of Holies of our ancient Jewish tradition once stood .
There stood the Temple of King Solomon as well as the the Temple of Herod restored by Ezra and Nehemiah thousands of years ago. Har Habayit is the holiest site of the Jewish people.
The two sites of supreme importance to Muslims are Mecca and Medina, located in Saudi Arabia. Muslim sites on the Mount were built in the 8th century.
I take the liberty of respectfully drawing your attention to this matter, since I regard you and the American administration as most cherished and honored friends and allies of Israel, and if we can not mention these concerns between friends, then where could we mention them? It is my pleasure and honor to express once again our gratitude for your visit. We greatly look forward to seeing you in Israel at any time.
Most respectfully, Elad Malca Councilman, City Council Jerusalem Municipality Jerusalem, Israel;