Both the Jerusalem Post and YNet have tapped into the mounting tension in the capital of Israel when only days after the riots erupted on the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem, billboards were posted on the sides of over 200 Egged buses depicting a picture of a new Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount. What was most obvious, all other structures today on the Temple Mount were missing. As the Jerusalem Posts posted:
Jerusalem Post – “The posters, which contain the phrase, “May the Bais Hamikdosh [Holy Temple] be rebuilt speedily and within our days,” were sponsored by the Our Land of Israel group, which is led by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo and activist Baruch Marzel, leave out the site’s current structures – namely the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock…”
The Jerusalem Post reporters questioned Rabbi Wolpe concerning the campaign to resurrect a new temple as he breathlessly spoke of the soon coming of the Messiah with a new Jewish temple awaiting Him. As he spoke:
Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe – “The Arabs and President Obama know that the Temple will be built on the Temple Mount, instead of the temporary buildings that are there today.” Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Marzel said it was no mistake that the Islamic shrines were left out of the picture...
“We’re representing the truth, in front of everyone, and saying out loud what every Jew believes, that the Third Temple needs to be built immediately on the Temple Mount and that the mosque should not be there. When we reach the end of the Pessah Seder tomorrow night, he continued, “we’ll say, ‘Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem.’ What does ‘rebuilt’ mean? It means with the Third temple intact.”
On the other hands, Rabbi Wolpo spoke to YNet:
Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe – “The Arabs and President Obama know that the Temple will be built on the Temple Mount, instead of the temporary buildings that are there today.”
The Islamic response was immediate and violent. As Baruch Marzel spoke;
Jerusalem Post – “It upsets them that we’re alive, and that we’re living here. If such a basic point is going to piss them off, then we might as well say what we truly believe and what we pray for three times a day. That is to rebuild the holy temple on top of the Temple Mount, and tomorrow – not to wait any longer.”
The effect of this campaign took its toll yet made its poignant message. Simmering under the Jewish experience is a volcano boiling Jewish fervent desire to rebuild a Temple to the G-d of Israel. Well, this campaign was short lived as eight days later, the advertisers removed the posters and replaced the posters on the sides of the bus that showed again the al-Aqsa Mosque that was replaced by the Temple and initially sponsored by the “Land of Israel” movement spreading throughout the Jewish population that also called for a speedy construction and rebuilding of the Third Temple. Initially it produced furor and objections by the Arab east Jerusalem neighborhoods and their supporting “left-wing activists” supporting the Palestinian State cause.
Now the “Eretz Israel Shelanu” movement was angered for the posters being removed and according to its spokesman, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Land of Israel movement was considering suing the Egged Bus Company and Cnaan, its advertising franchiser. According to Ynet when a reporter spoke with Ben-Gvir, the advertising franchiser, he said;
YNet News - "The two companies have apparently joined the Palestinian Authority's side, and they too view a prayer for the Temple's construction as a provocation. We will weigh our options in the coming days.”
According to the signpost franchiser director, Kobi Cnaan, the company was receiving threats because of the signs over the prior week yet not wanting to be a part of the larger provocation, the posters were removed, not necessarily because of Arab dissent and threats but Jewish. As he spoke:
Kobi Cnaan – "Most of the elements who made the threats were not necessarily Arabs. They threatened to deface the signs and the buses if we failed to remove the campaign ads. Had we noticed the content of the advertisement, it's possible that we would not have put it up in the first place. We preferred not to be part of a provocation to begin with, but we will consider filing a complaint with the police due to the many threats."
Egged spokesman Ron Ratner said in response that the company had decided not to intervene in ads posted on its buses and that the decision was made by the franchiser.
Ron Ratner - "We have no problem with a utopian vision of one group or another, and we see no harm in the hopes to build the Temple. We view the decision to remove the signs as puzzling, but the Cnaan company is fully responsible.”
At the same time Rabbi Wolpo speaking in reaction to the Jewish response:
Rabbi Wolpo – “Despite the negative emotions the campaign has stirred up in the capital's non-Jewish sectors, the people of Israel look forward on Passover to the construction of the temple and the coming if the messiah. The Arabs and US President Barack Obama know that the third temple will be established at Temple Mount and that the mosque is there temporarily."
By Abe Sellig – Jerusalem Post – “J’lem posters call for 3rd Temple” – Wednesday, March 31, 2010
By Shmulik Grossman – YNet News – “Bus Posters replace Al-Aqka with Temple” – March 28, 2010
By Shmulik Grossman – YNet News – “‘Third Temple Bus Ads Removed” – April 6, 2010