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Orthodox Jews plan rebuilding of sacred templ -

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Orthodox Jews plan rebuilding of sacred temple

Anne Barker reported this story on Friday, January 29, 2010 12:34:00

ELEANOR HALL: Nearly 2,000 years ago the Romans under Emperor Vespasian destroyed the city of
Jerusalem and according to Judaism demolished the second temple sacred to Jews.

Orthodox Jews have prayed ever since for the temple to be rebuilt and an 18th century rabbi even
predicted that construction would begin in March 2010.

But one modern-day institution in Jerusalem has taken on the task of preparing for the temple's
reconstruction now.

Middle East correspondent Anne Barker has our report.

(Sounds from the Western Wall)

ANNE BARKER: Every day thousands of Jews in Jerusalem pray at the Western Wall, said to be the last
remnant of the second temple which was demolished by the Romans in 70 AD.

Jews believe the second temple and Solomon's ancient temple before it were both built on the same
site that today houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam.

(Sounds from Al-Aqsa Mosque)

It's arguably the most contested piece of land on earth because of its historic importance to
Muslims and Jews.

And for nearly 2,000 years Orthodox Jews have recited daily prayers for the temple's reconstruction
in keeping with the biblical commandments.

(Sound of prayers)

Today one Jewish institution has taken on the job of turning the prayer into reality.

YEHUDA GLICK: I believe that we're like 2,000 years late, but I'd say that in our modern era, in
1967 when the state of Israel united Jerusalem we should have immediately begun. And I think every
single day is a day late.

ANNE BARKER: Rabbi Yehuda Glick is a director at the Temple Institute whose sole purpose is to plan
the construction of the third temple which many believe must be done in time for the coming of the
Jewish Messiah.

YEHUDA GLICK: One of the 613 obligations in the Jewish Torah is an obligation to build the temple
and it exists every single day, whether the Messiah has arrived yet or not.

ANNE BARKER: Already the Temple Institute has spent around $30 million preparing for the temple's
reconstruction.

Architectural plans have been drawn up and vast funds have been spent employing the best craftsmen
to make the priestly robes and vessels to be used once it's built.

YEHUDA GLICK: We have the altar which is made of stone as you can see.

ANNE BARKER: Rabbi Glick shows me glass cabinets filled with dozens of objects fashioned on those
in the Bible - among them a pure gold menorah, silver trumpets (sound of trumpet), an incense
altar, even a new Ark of the Covenant to hold the tablets of law given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

YEHUDA GLICK: Actually it's very interesting because they were brought from the exact location of
the altar built originally by Joshua.

ANNE BARKER: There are even plans to produce a sacrificial red heifer which the Bible says must be
slaughtered before the temple can be built.

For all the biblical specifications though Rabbi Glick believes the third temple will be a
thoroughly modern building.

YEHUDA GLICK: The third temple doesn't have to be as was the second temple or the first temple in
terms of, I mean there can be air conditioning, parking lots, computers. I mean just the fact that
people used it at the time used oil doesn't mean that today we can't use electricity.

ANNE BARKER: There is of course one not-so-small problem. The temple site has for around 1,300
years housed the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Many Muslims in fact say no Jewish temple ever existed here and that Jews are yet to produce a
single shred of archaeological evidence.

Not surprisingly some, like one Palestinian leader Mahdi Abdul Hadi, warn of warfare if Jews try to
build another temple over the Dome of the Rock.

MAHDI ABDUL HADI: We will defend it, we will fight for it, whether we are religious, non religious.
It's our place. It's our holy place. And this is bringing us back to the Middle Ages and the
empowerment of self with the idea of killing each other.

ANNE BARKER: For now though the mosques are safe. But if the 18th century Rabbi Vilna Gaon was
correct in his prophesies the temple's construction would begin in about six weeks.

This is Anne Barker in Jerusalem for The World Today.