A Jewish Boy’s Discovery Rebuts ‘Palestinian’ Temple Mount Revisionism
By JEROLD S. AUERBACH
A 10-year-old Russian boy, Matvei Tcepliaev, recently made an extraordinary discovery in Jerusalem. Working as a volunteer in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, he found a 3,000-year-old seal—engraved limestone about the size of a thimble, with a hole at one end so it could be hung from a string—from the time of King David.
The artifact was nestled in the hundreds of tons of earth and rock that had been illegally excavated from below the Temple Mount in the late 1990s by the Muslim Waqf, a trust that retains authority over the contested site. The Temple Mount is sacred ground for Jews, Muslims and Christians, but Jewish historical claims are denied by many Muslims.
The sifting project in Emek Tzurim National Park in Jerusalem, started in 2005 and has uncovered several historically significant objects, but the seal may be the most important. Dating from the era of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem and the building of the Jewish First Temple by his son and successor, Solomon, the seal confirms the ancient Jewish presence in Jerusalem—more than a millennium before the Muslim Dome of the Rock was built above the ruins of the ancient temples.
If it is ironic that the Muslim excavation, undertaken to build an underground mosque, ultimately confirmed Jews’ historical claims, it is no less ironic than the fact that the Waqf came to rule the site at Israel’s instigation.
Following Israel’s extraordinary victory over its Arab foes in the Six-Day War in June 1967, which included capturing the entire city of Jerusalem, Israeli Col. Motta Gur proclaimed: “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” Joyous Israeli soldiers gathered at the Western Wall below and sang Hatikva, the national anthem. Shlomo Goren, a brigadier general and future chief rabbi of Israel, exultantly blew his shofar.
But Defense Minister Moshe Dayan had other ideas about Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount. A secular Israeli, he relied on a rabbinical consensus that Jews were forbidden to set foot on the Mount lest they risk
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