Israeli authorities have unveiled a new synagogue in Jerusalem underneath the Temple Mount that is now open for prayer after 12 years of construction and an investment of $50 million.
The significance of the new Jewish worship center placed beneath the foundation of the holy site is of biblical proportions.
“[I]t is located directly under the Western Wall, where Jews have gathered for centuries to pray at the retaining wall for the Temple Mount,” WND reported.
A bridge between history and the future unveiled
The grand opening of the synagogue took place a week before Christmas after the traditional Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall plaza.
“The synagogue – which was funded by donations from the Delek Foundation and Delek Group owner Yitzhak Tshuva – is deep inside the complex, adjacent to the area above which the ancient Jewish temples stood on the Temple Mount, and the inner sanctum of the Holy of Holies, in particular,” The Jerusalem Post explained. “The subterranean synagogue has a dramatic feel to it, with low-arched ceilings and walls of ancient stones on all sides, and a unique spherical, metal ark to house Torah scrolls.”
Visitors find themselves immersed in the imagery and words of millennia past.
“The ark’s walls are formed from the words of the ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer and the biblical book of the Song of Songs cast in metal and running the entire circumference of the sphere, topped by a cast metal sculpture of the burning bush,” the Post’s Jeremy Sharon described.
Regulations on prayer in the underground synagogue are slated to be published by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation (WWHF), which invites all who want to learn more about God’s people and Jewish history.
“[The new synagogue] will be open to anyone who desires to study and connect,” WWHF informed.
The foundation, which is an Israeli government body, describes the newly unveiled Jewish house of worship as a balance between the past and present.
“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” WWHF announced in a statement, according to WND.
In addition to Scripture on the walls and the sculpture of the burning bush that Moses witnessed – as described in the Old Testament – many components inside the synagogue are designed to replicate the worship atmosphere described in the Bible that took place in ancient Jerusalem.
“In the new synagogue, the bimah, or altar, and seating are made of wood,” WND reported. “The synagogue features dozens of elegant benches, arranged in separate men’s and women’s sections.”
For those familiar with the cityscape of Jerusalem, the new synagogue is situated not far from the Dome of the Rock – the golden structure also know as the Islamic Al-Aqsa Mosque, which could possibly be standing above a future Jewish Temple.
“In a related development, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev has suggested the government allocate another $50 million to explore the foundations Temple beneath Muslim Al-Aqsa Mosque,” WND noted.
The subterranean synagogue was not built without protest.
“In recent years, Islamic institutions in East Jerusalem have lodged repeated protests over excavations being carried out by the Israeli authorities under the flashpoint mosque compound,” The Middle East Monitor reported.
The head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Council, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, who is also a former imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, made the unbiblical claim that the so-called ”Al-Buraq Wall” – underneath which the new synagogue was built – was a component of the Western Wall where Al-Aqsa Mosque is located.
“The wall is part of our Islamic heritage and will remain so until Judgment Day,” Sabri insisted, according to the Monitor. “The Israeli occupation has no claim on Jerusalem’s heritage. This new synagogue … doesn’t have any historical roots. All new construction by the [Israeli] occupation authorities in Jerusalem is illegitimate and lacks a historical basis … [and the holy city] cannot be partitioned.”
Keeping true to its anti-Semitic policies, the United Nations declared the Dome of the Rock standing atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount as an Islamic historical site and designated it as a place of worship for Muslims.
“In October 2016, UNSECO voted on a resolution which denied any Jewish connection to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Buraq Wall in occupied Jerusalem,” the Monitor recounted.
Israel’s effort to reclaim the land that God has clearly given them – as stated in Scripture – has been backed by President Donald Trump, who has been targeted with harsh opposition by the global community after his highly contested decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Tension has mounted in the occupied territories since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, drawing condemnation from across the world,” the Monitor noted. “[On December 18], United Nationals Security Council voted 14 to one against Trump’s decision. However, due to the U.S. power of veto, a resolution could not be passed against his unilateral move.”