English عربي עברית
God's Holy Mountain
A vision for the Temple Mount (Al Haram Al Sharif)
A study project of the Interfaith Encounter Association

The world holds dark assumptions that fervent dreams by different faiths for the Temple Mount (الحرم الشريف) must lead to conflict.

We pretend that these dreams no longer matter, but past regional peace initiatives have fallen apart in disputes about the Temple Mount.

Join us in unveiling the prophetic calling of God’s Holy Mountain through close religious study, and in seeing:

The Temple Mount is not a problem but the place for Jew, Muslim, and Christian to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy: “On that day, God will be one and His name one.”

News and Forums Expand this section
"Whose Mountain is this?", a street activity for the 9th of Av took place on July 20, 2010 -- click links for Ynet coverage [English] and interview on Channel Two, Israeli TV [Hebrew, scroll down for link].
Documentary film screening, presentation and discussion of God's Holy Mountain took place in Jerusalem on June 9, 2010 -- see details and picture album here.
The Project's launching event took place on June 18, 2009. See Reuters' coverage as well as video available here.
"A New Vision for God's Holy Mountain" was published in the Washington Post on June 10, 2009, available here.

Support and share the vision Expand this section
To purchase prints or note cards, please email us at ohr@interfaith-encounter.org.
An image of the note card is shown here.
About The painting Back to Home
Temple Painting

It is a normal future day on the Temple Mount (الحرم الشريف) in Jerusalem. Jews, Muslims and Christians, entering through the Gate of Mercy, are waiting for services to begin, respectively, at the Temple, at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, and at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Friends of all three religions and from around the world greet each other, and some gather around an informal group of musicians from the three faiths who are playing together. The Temple Mount has shed the remnants of destruction and conflict left by the Roman Empire and is once again is a joyous place, in which all worship in their respective holy buildings, but bearing witness to the same One God, creator of all.

Features of note in the painting.

Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others from around the world are entering the Temple Mount through the Gate of Mercy, which has special significance as a symbol of redemption in all three religions. The stream, shown running along the Temple, is as mentioned in a prophecy of Ezekiel, but also allows the possibility that the Temple is built on a possible extension of the Temple Mount, mentioned too in prophecies. The ambiguity concerning the stream is complemented by a deliberate ambiguity concerning the location of the Temple shown in the image. Key elements of the painting, including the Gate of Mercy, the Garden Tomb (a key Protestant shrine), and several recognizable buildings shown in the Jerusalem skyline, are all from different directions, North, South, East and West, to be clear that no particular orientation is being specified in the image.

Jews are shown entering the Gate of Mercy and turning left toward the Temple. Muslims are shown turning right from the Gate of Mercy toward the Dome of the Rock, while some Muslims are shown passing by the Dome of the Rock on their way to the Al Aqsa Mosque. Christians are shown coming from the right side of the painting towards the Church of Holy Sepulcher and also toward the Garden Tomb, which as noted above, is shown here in an anomalous position, however, some Christians enter the Temple Mount through the Gate of Mercy. Some Jews, Muslims, Christians and others as well divert from their groups walking toward their respective shines, to mix with friends of different faiths in various informal clusters scattered through the Temple Mount. One of these mixed clusters of people is shown in the foreground, gathered around a group of musicians.

The musicians shown consist of, left to right (standing) a Christian playing a tambourine, a Jew playing a violin, a Muslim playing a trumpet, and (sitting) a Jew playing a harp, and a Muslim playing a Qanun (a traditional Arabic instrument.) The thirteen people gathered around the musicians are meant to represent a mixture of Jews, Muslims, Christians and others from around the world, as are the six children dancing to the right. The number 13 is the numerical value of the word "one" (echad) in Hebrew, thus symbolizing their unity, and with the musicians they add up to 18 people, which is the numerical value of the word Chai in Hebrew, which means "living" or "life". Among the buildings shown in the skyline of Jerusalem, in anomalous locations, are the Supreme Court of Israel, the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus (top right), and buildings from the Technology Park from the south of the city.
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The process of making the painting.

To achieve greatest authenticity and expressiveness in the human faces in the painting, we engaged in two modeling sessions that took place during 2006 (March and November) in Jerusalem.

In these sessions, Jews, Muslims, Christians and others from different age groups and walks of life gathered together. Before photographs were taken, the vision was presented and explained. The participants went through dramatic exercises to help connect with each other and to more closely visualize a future Temple Mount in which all peoples worshipped the same One God together in their respective shrines. Two people were photographed separately; one outside of Israel, but the vision was discussed individually with each before these additional photographs were taken. The people that were chosen to be the musicians in the painting wore garments that were specially made for them and were instructed about the right way to hold their musical instruments.

The painting is 73 x 101 inch and painted by Asher Frolich. Prints and Note Card are available to purchase here.
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The stream and a possible extension of the Temple Mount.

The stream and several geographical anomalies indicate the prophetic rather than precise physical character of this image. These elements are described below followed by additional detail about the stream and a possible extension to the Temple Mount.

The artistic image on the enclosed card depicts a rebuilt Jewish Temple in peaceful proximity to the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque and other existing Islamic and Christian shrines in Jerusalem, in fulfillment of the prophecy: “On that day God will be One and His Name One” (Zechariah 14:9).

Many geographic anomalies have been included to demonstrate that this image represents a general concept rather than a specific blueprint. Mt. Scopus and the Gate of Mercy, actually East of the Temple Mount (Al Haram Al Sharif), are depicted behind it together with the Old City (actually West) and other buildings from various locations such as the Malha technological park (South). Crowds are shown going past the Dome of the Rock, both in front of and behind it, towards the Al Aqsa Mosque, which is South of the Dome. Likewise the stream in the drawing, from prophets, leaves open the possibility of an extension to the Temple Mount, per another scriptural allusion, and indicates the prophetic rather than precise physical character of this image.

In Ezekiel's prophecy (47:1-12) a stream of water is mentioned, which will flow from the threshold of the Temple as a small spring but soon becomes miraculously a great river that reaches the Dead Sea and gives life to it. This future stream is also mentioned in the Mishnah (Midot 2:6) that enumerates the gates in the first court of the Temple and mentions among them the "Gate of Water." Rabbi Eliezer Ben Ya'acov adds there that "from it the water in future will gurgle and flow underneath the threshold of the Temple."

In the painting, the stream allows ambiguity concerning the location of the Temple. The Temple could be standing on the original area of the Temple Mount, or else could be located on an extension to the mount, perhaps on manmade earthworks or as a consequence of a miraculous earthquake, depicted also in prophecy (Zechariah 14:4). It should be noted that according to various Jewish sources (e.g. Ezekiel 40-43, Talmud Baba Batra 75b) the Temple Mount area will be expanded by 36 times, in order to include all the nations there (see the Malbim's commentary on Ezekiel 42:20). In the Talmud, halachic methods to sanctify extensions to the Temple's holy area, are discussed.
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Halachic methods to sanctify Temple Mount extensions.

According to prophecies in Tanach (Ezekiel 40-43, Zechariah 14:4) and as is found in the Talmud (e.g. Baba Batra 75b), dramatic changes will occur to the Temple Mount area. One prophecy states that the Temple Mount's holy area will be expanded by 36 times (in order to include all the nations there, see Malbim's commentary on Ezekiel 42:20).

Halachically, it is possible to extend the area of the Temple Mount as noted in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 1:5, Shevu'ot 2:2) and in Maimonides—"A court [the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High court] that wanted to add to the territory of Jerusalem or to add to the azara [first court of the Temple] could do so, and they can further the azara from the Temple Mount onwards and to further the walls of Jerusalem to wherever they like" (Mishne Torah, Hilchot Bet habchira 6:10).

A possible way of expanding the Temple Mount could be to build an earthen extension in a way that it becomes an integral part of the original mountain (Mount Moriah) and to sanctify that area per the methods described in Maimonides, Ibid. Commentators explain that the changes in the Temple Mount's topography will indeed require a new sanctification of the place—"The Temple and Jerusalem will eventually change, and will be sanctified again eternally in the grace of God" (Ra'avad, Mishne Torah, Hilchot Bet Ha'bchira 6:14).
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The Artist—Oscar (Asher) Frohlich.

Oscar (Asher) Frohlich was born in La Plata, Argentina in 1942 and graduated the School of Fine Arts of La Plata University. In 1965 he immigrated to Israel and studied Creative Arts at Haifa University. For more than 40 years he has been working in a variety of mediums in painting and drawing (mainly oil and watercolor), and masters the techniques of the old masters.

His works were presented in exhibitions around the world (Guatemala, Spain, Argentina and more). He won the 1st prize award in Tel Aviv artist competition in 1993. He runs a gallery of fine art in the artist village of Ein Hod, and is living, teaching and working in Tel Aviv and Ein Hod Artist Village.
More about Asher Frohlich and other examples of Asher's art are shown here.
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Gate of Mercy.

This gate, situated in the Eastern wall that surrounds the Temple Mount, is one of the gates of the old city of Jerusalem. It is a special symbol of redemption and of the opening of hearts in the three Abrahamic religions. It is the only gate that has been blocked since ancient times.

When the Temple existed, the Eastern gate of the Temple Mount was named "Shushan gate" (Mishnah Midot 1:3) and it is assumed that the Gate of Mercy was built later on (5th century C.E). The gate has a unique structure of two arcs, for its two entrances.

In the 9th century, the Muslim regime blocked the gate. However, in a map from the 15th century it is noticed that one of the entrances is open, and it is assumed that Sultan Suliman blocked both of the entrances later on, probably in order to supervise efficiently the coming and going by a reduced number of gates.

The Jewish tradition holds that through the once-opened gate, the messiah will enter the Temple Mount and will bring the redemption. Following that tradition, Jews from all over the world, chose to be buried on the Mount of Olives opposite the gate, preparing themselves to the Messiah's coming and for the Resurrection of the Dead. In Middle Ages, special prayers were cited in front of the gate.

According to the Christian tradition, through that gate Jesus entered the Temple Mount and therefore it is also named "The Golden Gate."

The Muslims believe it to be the gate referred to in the Quran, through it the just will pass on the Day of Judgment.
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The Temple Mount.

God commanded the Jews to build the Temple on Mount Moriah, mentioned in the Torah, that was since called the Temple Mount. Initially, the Temple stood on a small surface on the peak of the mountain, but at 19 B.C.E, King Herod built a huge extension to the mount and a new Temple, making it the largest holy site of the ancient world. In Judaism, the Temple Mount is not just the surface the Temple is situated on, but is a special holy entity in itself. According to halachah, gentiles are explicitly allowed on the Temple Mount area in order to participate in the rituals of the Temple.
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Jerusalem is a holy city throughout the 3000 years of its existence. Not situated at a strategic location or at an important junction of routes nor endowed with natural resources or a major source of water, Jerusalem seems to be a sacred place since its establishment. Jerusalem (meaning "City of Peace") is the holiest city according to Judaism, and Mount Moriah, the site of the Jewish Temple, is situated within the city’s boundaries. Jerusalem is also holy to Christianity as the site of the climactic final events in the life and death of Jesus, and to Muslims as the site of the ascension of the prophet Mohamed to heaven (in particular, from the rock that Muslims believe is under the Dome of the Rock).
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The Dome of the Rock.

The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: Qubbat al tzachra) is situated on the Temple Mount (referred to by the Muslims as al haram al Sharif—"The sanctified and exalted"). It was completed on the year 691 by the Caliph Abed al Malik. The Dome of the Rock is not a Mosque; no official public prayers are held there. According to the Muslims, Mohammed ascended to heaven from the great rock in it.

The Al Aqsa Mosque also on the Temple Mount, is not depicted in the painting, however, Muslims are shown walking toward it. This mosque, built at 705, is third in sanctity to the Muslims as according to commentaries, this is the mosque mentioned in the Qur'an (Surat Al-Isra' ,17, Ayah 1) that is connected to the miraculous night journey of prophet Mohamed.
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The Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Garden Tomb.

According to the Catholics, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was erected on the cave Jesus was buried in. Most Protestants, however, consider the “Garden Tomb” to be at the site of the tomb of Jesus (represented in the painting right to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher).

Per the decision to show buildings in anomalous locations so that no specific orientation is implied, the Garden Tomb is depicted near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, while in reality, it is about 600 meters north of it.
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The Temple.

The Temple in the painting is based upon the layout of the Second Temple. Although the Third Temple as depicted in a prophecy of Ezekiel is different, we used the well-known Second Temple image.

Historically, the First Temple was built by King Solomon at the 10th century B.C.E. and was destroyed by the Babylonians at the year 586 B.C.E. The Second Temple was built by the Jews who returned from the Babylonian exile (516 B.C.E). Later on, King Herod, at the end of the 1st century B.C.E, extended the Temple Mount and created a vast plateau on which he built a magnificent, new Temple. This Temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 C.E.
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