Why are Israeli Children Taught the Western Wall is Judaism’s Holiest Site?

The Temple Mount is back in Israel’s hands, but still the focus remains on the Western Wall. Israelis are starting to wonder why

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Temple Mount
The modern Muslim narrative denies the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, and Israel seems to have acquiesced. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Former longtime media commentator and television news anchor Nadav Perry sparked a social media debate when he lamented that Israeli Jewish school children are taught as part of the official curriculum that the Western Wall, and not the Temple Mount, is Judaism’s holiest site.

“In the state religious education I received (Israel has both secular and national religious public schools), they talked about the Western Wall, not the Temple Mount. First and foremost we got the Western Wall. The picture in the class was of the paratroopers at the Western Wall,” Perry wrote on Twitter, referring to the iconic photo of IDF paratroops standing in front of the Western Wall following the liberation of Jerusalem’s Old City in 1967.

“Whoever speaks of the Western Wall as our holy place does so because that’s how we were educated. Even in religious schools,” noted Perry (emphasis his).

Many see this as a capitulation to the modern Muslim narrative that the Jews have no history atop the Temple Mount, in other words that the Jewish Temples so central to the biblical narrative never existed.

Up until a hundred years ago, Islam did acknowledge the Jewish history at the site, as evidenced by the 1925 edition of the travel pamphlet “A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif” published by the Supreme Muslim Council. The English-language guide states of the Temple Mount that “its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings’.”

And, of course, there are still Muslims today who know their history and do not deny the Jews’ historical connection the Temple Mount.

Muslim scholar Sheikh Omer Salem, a PhD graduate of Al Azhar University in Cairo and author of the book The Missing Peace: The Role of Religion in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, stated in a 2016 interview with a Jewish newsletter that not only is the Temple Mount Jewish, but that one day the Muslims would return it to the Jews of their own volition.

“The Jews can pray peacefully on the Mount. You will get the Temple Mount, but that needs to happen in stages. Muslims will agree to remove the mosque, but it must be initiated by the Muslims. If Jews try to do it there will be great bloodshed. When it [the removal of the mosque] will happen it will be a gift from Allah. He is the one who will turn the hearts of the Muslims,” said Sheikh Salem.

The real question is why Jewish children in a Jewish state that in 1967 so joyously celebrated the return of the Temple Mount to Jewish hands are still being taught that a lesser site, a mere retaining wall, is their central place of worship.

Responding to Perry, our friend Yehudah Glick wondered much the same, and insisted that the time had come to correct this egregious error.

“Entire generations have been educated on a distorted and engineered historical narrative while turning their backs on historical truth,” stressed Glick. “It’s time to tell the truth.”

Former Knesset Member Yehudah Glick spoke with Israel Today readers last year about a variety of issues. You can see a recording of that event here: Yehudah Glick on Vaccines, Elections and Israel’s Divine Mission

The Temple Mount has been in the news a lot in Israel over the past couple weeks. You can find some of the more interesting stories here:

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