On Tuesday, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) passed a Palestinian-initiated resolution that accused Israel of actions that have “altered, or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City” (or as the Arab States call it Judiacized as if the city never had a Jewish identity and there was never Holy Temples atop the Temple mount). It also declared that the city is “occupied” and Israel’s rule over the Holiest place in all of Israel is “null and void.”
“Once again, the United States rejects the adoption of these anti-Israel resolutions at Unesco,” a spokesperson from the US mission to the UN told the Times of Israel.
“Like other parts of the UN system, Unesco is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to deride and delegitimise the state of Israel.”
With or without UNESCO’s approval, Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish State, as it said, “Israel is the heart of the Jewish people, Jerusalem is the heart of Israel, and the temple mount is the heart of Jerusalem.”
This UNESCO vote echoes the propaganda of Palestinian Chairman Abbas, and Muslims across the Middle East. The propaganda ignores that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Christians, and even the ancient Muslims, reported Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were the property of the Jewish people.
There was never a Muslim nation of Palestine. After the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE, the Romans punished the Judeans (Jews) for revolting for the second time in sixty years by changing the name of their country from Judea to Syria Palaestina (after the ancient enemy of the Jews, the Philistines who were destroyed a thousand years earlier). At the same time, they changed the name of the holy city from Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina (literally Capitoline Hill of the House of Aelius).
For the ancient Muslim, Greek and Roman pagan authors, Jerusalem was a Jewish city. Their text indicates the unanimous agreement that Jerusalem was Jewish by virtue of the fact that its inhabitants were Jews, it was founded by Jews, and the Temple located in Jerusalem, was the center of the Jewish religion.
These ancient texts, disprove recent attempts by Muslims and others to deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and the location of the Temple in Jerusalem through fabrications and lies. Below are just some of the examples from Greek and Roman times originally published in a November 2008 Report issued by the JCPA:
- Some writers recall distinctive Jewish customs, such as the absence of representations of the deity, male circumcision, dietary laws and the observance of the weekly day of rest, the Sabbath. Indeed, in 167 BCE, the Greek Seleucid King Antiochus IV ordered Jews to place an idol of Zeus in the Temple, outlawed circumcision, demanded the sacrifice of swine and forbade Sabbath observance (I Maccabees 1:41-50). He thus desired to eliminate those unique features of the Jewish religion which had been noted by pagan writers.
- In an account by Hecataeus of Abdera (c. 300 BCE), Jerusalem appears toward the conclusion of his counter-Exodus account and before his description of Jewish society and practices. He attributes the expulsion of the Jews to the pestilence which the Egyptians blamed upon the presence of foreigners, not only Jews, who caused the natives to falter in religious observance. “Therefore, the aliens were driven from the country.” While some went to Greece, most “were driven into what is now called Judaea … at that time utterly uninhabited … on taking possession of the land, he [Moses] founded, besides other cities, one that is the most renowned of all, called Jerusalem. In addition, he established the temple that they hold in chief veneration, instituted their forms of worship and ritual, drew up their laws and ordered their political institutions.”
- Several of the selections in Against Apion which include the anti-Exodus narrative also provide descriptions of the interior and exterior of the Temple and some of its rituals. For example, Hecataeus states that in the center of the city is an enclosure where there is “a square altar built of heaped up stones, unhewn and unwrought.” The Temple itself is “a great edifice containing and altar and a lamp stand, both made of gold … upon these is a light which is never extinguished … there is not a single statue or votive offering, no trace of a plant in the form of a sacred grove, or the like.”Hecataeus “On the Jews”, in Against Apion I, 198-199; Stern, I, V, No.12, 36-37
- And in his account of Titus’ siege of Jerusalem, Tacitus describes the Temple as “… built like a citadel, with walls of its own … the very colonnades made a splendid defense. Within the enclosure is an ever-flowing spring.”[Tacitus, Historiae V:12:1 (Stern, II, XCII, no. 281) 22,30.
- In addition to physical descriptions, the authors mention the religious aspect of the Temple which differed radically from Greek and Roman paganism. In the text preserved by Diodorus, Hecataeus mentions the priests and their duties in the Temple and even describes a worship service and sacrifice. Similarly, the first century Roman historian Livy remarks that the Jews do not state “to which deity pertains the temple at Jerusalem, nor is any image found there, since they do not think the God partakes of any figure.”Hecataeus, in Diodorus, Aegyptiaca, Bibliotheca Historica XL, 3, 4-6; Stern, I, V, No. 11, 26-28.
It is noteworthy that an earlier capture of Jerusalem by the Greek-Egyptian King Ptolemy, son of Lagus, provided an opportunity for the obscure Agatharchides of Cnidus (second century BCE) to remark about the fact that “the people known as Jews, who inhabited the most strongly fortified of cities, called by the natives Jerusalem” lost their city because they would not defend it on the Sabbath. Josephus includes this selection in Against Apion as one of the early pagan critiques of the Jewish Sabbath which Agatharchides deemed as “folly,” “dreams,” and “traditional fancies about the law.”