The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD is seared in Jewish memory and carved in marble on the Arch of Titus in Rome, which depicts legionnaires carrying off the temple menorah. Every day since then, Jews have prayed that the temple may soon be rebuilt.
For most, this has been an abstract longing for a future perfection, to be realised when the Messiah appears. Until then, they have been content to pray at their traditional holy place, the Western (formerly Wailing) Wall, at the foot of the mount where the temple once stood. For a growing band of zealots, however, this is not enough. Rabbis and activists have been preparing for the restoration of the temple and challenging the ban on Jews praying on the esplanade on top of the mount, the Haram al-Sharif, site of two venerable Muslim shrines, the golden Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque.
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