First, the politics part:
Latest news, compliments of the New York Times: The Israeli government has decided to open the temple mount to the general public, Jews, Christians and Muslims. (This is a change from the current de facto situation, where the Muslim waqf that runs the mosque basically controls access to the mount itself) Basically, it’s setting the place up as a tinderbox, apparently on the theory that the area doesn’t have enough of them. Both sides starting to act like they usually do in the vicinity of the heart of the old city, namely like frightening madmen; most of you have probably heard me try to explain this before.
(Actually, it’s more likely on the theory that establishing a status quo on the ground counts for everything in Middle Eastern politics, which is actually a pretty accurate theory, although it tends to only be applied to things that are likely to lead to bloodshed)
(For certain values of the word “amusing”)
Here are the last two paragraphs of the article. The man being interviewed is one of the members of a rabbinical group that’s very excited about the new developments. Yes, he is completely, dead serious.
Asked if he favored violent action to replace the Muslim holy places, Mr. Rogin replied: “We assume everything is being recorded. Officially, we only support legal activities.” He said rebuilding the temple was a project requiring the cooperation of “the Jewish people as a whole.”
For now, he held out a more modest goal, erecting an altar outside the Dome of the Rock. “If this broke into an open war, with people rioting in the streets,” he said, “then it would be possible to bring up a small truck with the altar, and start the sacrifice of animals.”