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Islam Under Scrutiny

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UNESCO - Erasing Sacred Culture Organization

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With a name like the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, you would expect UNSECO to be a bastion of virtue in protecting our world heritage and achievements, and maybe it was. But not anymore. Unbelievably, UNESCO is putting pressure on Israel to drop the Tomb of the Patriachs from its heritage listings. T

he cave is the burial place of Judaism's three Patriarchs -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- and three of its four Matriarchs -- Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. The fourth Jewish Matriarch, Rachel, is buried near Bethlehem. This is bit like Australia being asked to proclaim that Ayer’s Rock has no cultural significance to the Aboriginals. 

Imagine the fracas if UNESCO suggested that. First we had UNRWA, the Really Wicked Agency working with the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel and now we have UNESCO, the Erasing Sacred Culture Organization trying to rewrite History and absorb Jewish history into Islam. This of course is necessary as the UN prepares the way for a Palestinian state which happens to include Hebron where the Cave of the Patriachs is. Any connection of Israel to these sites must be erased as it would be offensive to Muslims, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

In this article, we will consider this shameful attempt to erase Jewish cultural history, and also affect over 2 billion Christians who likewise revere this site along with Jerusalem.

Cave of Machpelah

However, UNESCO's timing turns out to be a bit untimely. Because this week, in synagogues around the world, Jews read the "Chaye Sarah" portion of the Book of Genesis, which recounts how Abraham, in his search for a burial place for his beloved Sarah, bought the Cave of Machpelah and its adjacent land from Ephron the Hittite for 400 shekels of silver as a deed in perpetuity. Thus, this week's Torah reminder squarely puts the spotlight on the first real estate transaction in biblical history -- the start of nearly 4,000 years of Jewish ties to the Holy Land. Because of the Cave of the Patriarachs and the Matriarchs, Hebron is Judaism's second holiest city -- after Jerusalem. But UNESCO brushes all this aside.

Like other UN bureaucracies, it already has decided that a future Palestinian state will encompass the entire West Bank as defined by a 1949 armistice line. And since the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem are on the Palestinian side of that line, UNESCO wants Israel to disown their sacred and historic ties to Israel and the Jewish people.

A Brief History

Herod the Great constructed a large edifice atop the traditional burial place of the patriarchs.  Its architectural style is similar to that of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, including the size of the stones (up to 24 feet long), the type of masonry (dry), and the pilasters (engaged columns), the last of which are no longer visible in Jerusalem. The cenotaphs of Abraham and Sarah were added after the city moved to surround this complex in 8th c. A.D.  All the cenotaphs were in their present position by the 10th c. A.D.  

The Mamluks gave the cenotaphs of Jacob and Leah their present form in the 14th century. Three major rooms make up the Machpelah.  In the center are Abraham and Sarah.  On the east side are Isaac and Rebekah; the Jewish people are allowed to visit here only ten days a year.  On the west side are the cenotaphs of Jacob and Leah.  Rachel was buried near Bethlehem. The pulpit (minbar) was made in 1091 for a mosque in Ashkelon and donated by Saladin in 1191.

The double cave, a mystery of thousands of years, was uncovered several years ago beneath the massive building, revealing artifacts from the Early Israelite Period (some 30 centuries ago). The structure was built during the Second Temple Period (about two thousand years ago) by Herod, King of Judea, providing a place for gatherings and Jewish prayers at the graves of the Patriarchs. This uniquely impressive building is the only one that stands intact and still fulfills its original function after thousands of years. Foreign conquerors and invaders used the site for their own purposes, depending on their religious orientation: the Byzantines and Crusaders transformed it into a church and the Muslims rendered it a mosque. About 700 years ago, the Muslim Mamelukes conquered Hebron, declared the structure a mosque and forbade entry to Jews, who were not allowed past the seventh step on a staircase outside the building.

Upon the liberation of Hebron in 1967, the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, the late Major-General Rabbi Shlomo Goren, was the first Jew to enter the Cave of Machpelah. Since then, Jews have been struggling to regain their prayer rights at the site, still run by the Muslim Waqf (Religious Trust) that took control during the Arab conquest. Many restrictions are imposed on Jewish prayers and customs at the Tomb of the Patriarchs despite the site's significance, primacy and sanctity in Jewish heritage and history.

Over 300,000 people visit Ma'arat HaMachpelah annually. The structure is divided into three rooms: Ohel Avraham, Ohel Yitzhak, and Ohel Ya'akov. Presently Jews have no access to Ohel Yitzhak, the largest room, with the exception of 10 days a year.

Please watch this short video on the Cave of the Patriachs.

The IMPLICATIONS

This sinister move from the UN is breathtaking in its audacity. In one stroke they want to deprive Israel of its roots and heritage, and with that insult over 2 billion Christians who revere this site as the foundations of their faith. The UN through its arm UNESCO is proving to be morally bankrupt and destitute in this action.

There can be no doubt at all that this is the “softening up” phase before Islam assumes control and this Holy Site will be downgraded to a Mosque, a place for worshipping the great Satan called Allah.

Islam is already claiming at least East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian State and claiming Hebron will further erode Israel’s claim to the land.

Islam on Jerusalem

Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328) the intellectual godfather of Wahhabism and an important Muslim cleric with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Koran and Hadith, wrote extensively about Jerusalem, and how there were only two holy cities in Islam – Mecca and Medina. If the first four rightly guided Caliphs did not venerate Jerusalem, then it is not important to Islam.

However it was expedient in the 680’s for Abd al-Malik to build the Dome of the Rock to take the pilgrimage revenue away from Mecca during an internal dispute and then in the twentieth century, the Grand Mufti of Jeruaslem Haj Amin al-Husseini resurrected Jerusalem as a Holy site because of his opposition to the state of Israel. Jerusalem is not mentioned even ONCE in the Quran, yet today the calls are louder than ever for Muslims to claim Jerusalem as theirs.

And what do Palestinians want? Everything, actually!
During August 2010, AWRAD (Arab World for Research and Development) polled Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza regarding their thoughts on a peace agreement with Israel. Historic Palestine, from the Jordan river to the sea, is “essential” to 78.2% of people polled. In other words, there is simply no place for “Israel”. No surprises there. Also, 82% claimed that East Jerusalem must be solely under Palestinian control.

CONCLUSION

We cannot let this event simply “slip under the radar”.
We urge everyone to contact your local MP, write to our Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who claims to be a Christian, write to Senators like Cory Bernardi and tell your friends and family.

DEFEND ISRAEL

Remember the famous Arab saying “first comes Saturday, then comes Sunday”.


REFERENCES

UNESCO World Heritage sites

Hebron in History

UNESCO demands removal of Cave of Patriachs from Heritage Listing

Is Jerusalem sacred to Islam?

Public Opinion Poll in Palestine

Last Updated on Monday, 08 November 2010 19:40  

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