A smartphone app promoted by a Zionist organization allows visitors to Jerusalem to virtually destroy the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque and replace them with a Jewish temple.
The site in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem is revered by Muslims all over the world and known to Jews as Temple Mount.
Last month, Rabbi Steven Burg tweeted an image of how the app visually transforms the site, erasing the existing buildings altogether. “One day soon …” he added, indicating he wants the image to become reality.Burg has previously tweeted similar sentiments: Burg is the director of Aish HaTorah, the Zionist religious group sponsoring the “Western Wall Experience” exhibit.
He is also a former director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Israel lobby group notorious for building a “Museum of Tolerance” on top of one of Jerusalem’s oldest Muslim cemeteries.
As part of the Western Wall Experience exhibit, people can download an “augmented reality” smartphone app. When pointed towards the al-Aqsa mosque compound, it makes the Dome of the Rock disappear and replaces it with an image of a Jewish temple standing in its place.
This allows visitors to “to pose for a souvenir photograph” in an imagined landscape where the Muslim holy sites have been destroyed.
Wiping out churches and mosques
This fits into the broader agenda promoted by many senior Israeli politicians and clerics who advocate the construction of a Jewish temple in the place where the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock have stood for more than 1,000 years.
The chief rabbi of this so-called Temple movement is Yisrael Ariel, a religious extremist who has called for the wholesale destruction of churches and mosques unless Muslims and Christians “raise the flag of [surrender] and say, ‘From now on, there is no more Christianity and no more Islam,’ and the mosques and Christian spires come down.”
But it also includes government ministers and lawmakers from Israel’s ruling Likud and other parties.
Funded by Israel
Israeli government-funded extremist groups have already made detailed blueprints – complete with 3D computer animations – of what the new temple will look like once the Muslim holy sites have been destroyed.
Similarly, the ultimate aim of the designers of the Western Wall Experience is barely concealed: its website calls for “Laying the foundation” – presumably for the temple.
And Aish HaTorah also makes it clear that its indoctrination is not its initiative alone.
“The ministry of tourism and the State of Israel are significant funding partners for the construction of the Western Wall Experience,” the group states. “They will be making the Western Wall Experience a mandatory must-see for all visiting dignitaries to Israel, and will play an active role in raising awareness of the Experience.”
The al-Aqsa mosque compound is one of the most sensitive political and religious sites in Palestine. Israel has advanced false claims about the site at the UN cultural body UNESCO in an effort to secure international recognition for its occupation of Jerusalem.
Over the summer, Palestinians staged weeks of nonviolent civil disobedience against an Israeli effort to impose tighter controls on entry to the compound.
Ronnie Barkan contributed research.