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IDF makes the Dome of the Rock vanish from photo, and lies about it

The Military Rabbinate distributes a photo showing the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock missing. In response to criticism, the IDF Spokesman lies for them.

The Military Rabbinate recently distributed a presentation ahead of Hanukka to soldiers, which contained a picture of the Wailing Wall square all wrapped in holy light. Yet, lo and behold, the picture is bereft of any signs of the mosques on Temple Mount. When Haaretz went knocking (Hebrew; pay attention to the photo), the IDF Spokesman replied as follows:

The questions of the reporter are ridiculous and biased, for which we are sorry. This is a presentation sent to IDF Spokesman on the occasion of Hanukka. The aforementioned slide shows an illustration image of the Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period. As the reporter was informed, the Dome of the Rock did not exist at the time. Hence there was no need for it to appear in the picture.

You don’t say.

I don’t know how to put it to the IDF Spokesman, who was probably not all that awake during history classes, but during the Second Temple period there was a rather dominant building on Temple Mount which somehow fails to appear in this “illustration picture.” A hint: Its name contained the words “Second” and “Temple.”

An eagle-eyed reader, Sapir Peleg, noticed this is actually a photoshopped picture of the Waling Wall square as it is today, which fogged out the Dome of the Rock, a major Islamic holy site. An “illustration of Second Temple Jerusalem,” my foot. You can see the full-sized comparison here.

The image used by the IDF. Note erasure marks near the arrow. (Photo: Peleg Sapir)

The image used by the IDF. Note erasure marks near the arrow. (Photo: Peleg Sapir)

It’s also worth mentioning that the IDF further claimed that the goal was “an illustration of the days of the Maccabees.” Alas, there was no wailing wall during that time; it was built by the Hasmoneans’ nemesis, Herod. Furthermore, even during the late Temple period, between the building of Herod’s temple (about 4 BC) and its destruction (70 AD), nobody paid it any attention. It only became important after the destruction of the Temple, as its sole relic. I am also told by military historians that the current Israeli flag wasn’t in common use at the time, yet it appears in the lower lefthand corner of the IDF Spokesman’s “illustration picture.”

So, what do we have here? Aside from the exposure of the Rabbinates’ secret wish for the eradication of the Dome of the Rock – no real surprise here – we see how the IDF Spokesman first response to any criticism is a lie. Even if the lie is clearly idiotic, even if the lie forces the Spokesman to deepen the hole it is already in. In a normal country, a spokesman – particularly one employed by the public – caught in such a colossal gaffe would be sent home. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Update: The doctored photo was created by Michael Levit, and, as the JTA found out several years ago, was used for a short while by Christians United for Israel (CUFI), John Hagee’s outfit. Interesting, how the mind of Jewish and Christian fundamentalists work.

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    1. Jalal

      I saw this picture in Jerusalem near Jaffa gate the other day. I stood there with a few friends staring at it, while I was laughing, my friends were saying “What the fuck is this?” it is some messed up shit.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Berl

      We should speak about the “Third Temple”: the history of the universe does not start with the Jews. That place was already holy much earlier than the “First Temple”. The city of Ur-Shalem itself was holy already many many centuries before David did conquest it.
      Quoting an Israeli author, the Temple of Solomon “was probably built upon the ruins of an older Canaanite temple [dedicated to the supreme Canaanite god, Baal], just as the Aksa Mosque was built upon the ruins of Solomon’s Temple”. O. BALABAN, Interpreting conflict, Peter Lang, New York 2005, p. 68.

      Reply to Comment
    3. AYLA

      Jalal: It is some messed up shit.
      I want a revolution that fights for cultural preservation on/of this rich and dynamic land for all her people. This shouldn’t be experienced as some liberal agenda (one people fighting for preservation of another people’s blah blah); we should fight for preservation of our history: Lifta, Arabic language, actual photographs of actual places… we should feel deeply grateful to live on this land *because* of the significance for all her people, and the interconnectedness of all of the historical threads.
      Jalal–Coffee next time I’m in Jerusalem? If you’re able and willing, you’re also welcome to coffee in the Negev, any time. We sit here on the internet; we could be doing something.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Sheikh Jarrah

      The strange thing is, that it’s not that difficult to take a picture of the Wall and exclude the Dome of the Rock. In fact, the steps from Jaffa gate leading into the plateau almost seem to be designed with that purpose in mind.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jalal

      @Ayala, I’d love to! But I’ll be starting school again in the next couple of days. we’ll see until then 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    6. A

      I don’t know if the spokesman response is more funny, more sad or more embarrassing.

      Reply to Comment
    7. AYLA

      Jalal–friend me :), or just feel free to message me on fb: ayla peggy adler

      Reply to Comment
    8. Igor

      Another funny thing about this picture is that it has the Al-Aqsa mosque in place (last time I checked, it also wasn’t there during the 2nd Temple period). It can be seen clearly on the right side of the original picture, but somehow got cut off in this post.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Mikesialor

      Not only is the picture truly stupid, and the lie and ‘explanation’ told by the IDF imbecilic, apparently neither the writer, nor the commenters, have examined its probable effect on those Muslims who, unlike Jalal, who do not recognize this as a farce. Instead, they will see this as more proof that Israel and the IDF wish to demolish the Dome of the Rock. In other words, they will see Islam as under attack by the Jews, not as a ‘joke’ or ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘attempt’ to recreate ‘history’. What self-respecting Muslim, not aware of this amateur attempt at Photo-shopping’ will miss this underlying message and not harden his/her hatred of Israel? This was more than a ‘mistake’ and the ramifications will probably be far more severe than most seem to realize.

      Reply to Comment
    10. aristeides

      It also has a lot of funny-looking people in the courtyard, dressed in wierd clothes that nobody wore during the Temple period.

      Reply to Comment
    11. AMIR.BK

      BERL: The torah actually has some insightful verses regarding the pre-davidic jerusalem. most notably Avram’s meeting with Malchitsedek king of Shalem who is described as a priest of the “supreme god”. Of course the torah makes it appear as though avram and Malchitsedek both worshipped the same god which is very strange chronologically. This is off topic I guess.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Carl

      Igor and Aristeides, you two are just cynical. Don’t you know that verse blah of some book in the Old Testament specifically mentions the holy antenna masts and satellite dishes of Jerusalem? Not to mention Moses saying that electric lighting is like, well popular in the old city and no one who’s anyone uses oil for lighting as that’s stone age, yeah? Serious. Check your bibles.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Danny

      A quick observation: Is that a fog that surrounds the temple mount, or smoke? Looks like something up there just blew up…

      Reply to Comment
    14. I didn’t know they had solar panels and water boilers during the second temple period either! The military rabbinate should lose its photoshop privileges.

      Reply to Comment
    15. borg

      My guess is that the original photo contained the mosques, but the waqf complained that the mosques were used for idf purposes, so the idf photoshopped out the mosques

      Reply to Comment
    16. Clif Brown

      Christian fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, Muslim fundamentalists. They really do have a lot in common in their outlook that makes the particular religion they follow almost irrelevant compared to the similar frame of mind – there is only one right way, those who do not follow it are damned either now or later, If God doesn’t do the damning then we will act to help him.

      Here we are a few hundred years past the Enlightenment and still with millions all set to repress others (if not already doing it) in the name of this or that mythology. Sometimes I wonder if Newton’s, Darwin’s and Einstein’s intellectual contributions have had any impact on the majority of humanity.

      The Internet is a bright spot where the truth can come out and the fundamentals of the fundamentalists can be examined by all.

      Fundamentalism continues because the young who are raised in any variety of it become adults with a mindset entrenched against reason and fully equipped with “answers”, ready to reproduce the same characteristics in the next generation.

      We rightly laugh at this photo, but it’s only a mild example of what would be forced down our throats if those who produced it were given the power to do so.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Yossi,
      Your slogan “Wish you Orwell” I thought an exaggeration; I see it is not.
      You are right that the greater worry is the IDF’s failure to reprimand its spokesman. These people are licensed to kill, yet ignore reality.
      I fear going to the next 972 post.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Adam

      I’d read the HaAretz article – I thought it was strange that it was supposedly an illustration from the second temple period, when it was clearly a modern picture showing people congregating at the Kotel. What a load of fucking shit.

      Reply to Comment
    19. omutunde

      Lol, such hypocrisy among these Israel-bashing commenters….Arab/Islamist and PA (the so-called moderates) material routinely wipes out Israel from their maps….

      Reply to Comment