It appears that the recent killings at a synagogue in Jerusalem have their roots in tensions over the sacred site known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is also known in the Bible as Mount Moriah. For Jews, it is the holiest place in the Universe and the place where the temples of Solomon and Herod stood and where the ‘Third Temple ‘ will be built. Jews also believe that it was on this very spot that God created Adam out of the dust of the earth, where Abraham bound Isaac as a sacrificial offering and where Jacob dreamt of a ladder going up to heaven. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD and since then Jews have prayed three times a day ‘May the Temple be rebuilt speedily and may it be in our time.’
Most orthodox rabbis forbid Jews to set foot on the Temple Mount as there is no way for them to do the ritual purification that is necessary. However, some groups, like the Temple Institute and the Temple Faithful believe it is their duty to go to the Temple Mount to state their claim for it. They take care to walk only around the perimeter so that they do not walk on any place where the temple stood.
Muslims believe that Haram al-Sharif is where Mohammed was carried up to heaven by the angel Gabriel it is the third most holy site in Islam. In the centre of the site is the Dome of The Rock, a Muslim shrine, which was built in 692BC and is one of the oldest Islamic structures in the world. While Israel has controlled Jerusalem since the Six Day War in 1967, the Temple Mount is managed by an Islamic Trust. The competing claims to the site between Jew and Muslim have led to numerous conflicts over the years. We visited the Temple Mount in 2009. We had to pass through Security to get onto the Temple Mount. We were told that no smoking, no religious insignia, no prayers, no laughing, no holding hands and no public displays of affection. Visitors to the Temple Mount are closely watched by armed soldiers and the atmosphere was tense. What does Latter-day Saint revelation tell us? One of the signs that must be accomplished before the Second Coming is that the Jews must rebuild the temple. In 1843 Joseph Smith said,’ Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed [see Ezekiel 47:1–9]. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, etc.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. ‘ Presidents John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff also both taught that the Jews would rebuild the temple before the Second Coming. D&C 124:36 also implies that a temple were work for the dead is done will be built in Jerusalem “For it is ordained that in Zion and in her stakes and in Jerusalem those places which I have appointed shall be the places for your baptisms for the dead.’ It would seem that this small patch of land in Jerusalem which has been at the centre of so much devotion, controversy and contention for so many centuries will continue to play an important role in the history of mankind.