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Third Temple Movement (Israel)

Last modified: 2022-07-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: third temple movement | israel |
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image located by Bill Garrison, 10 May 2022

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Third Temple Movement

A white-field flag with a blue-colored outline of an unknown location, with the blue "Star of David" in the center [similar to the Israeli National Flag], with a "crown" and Hebrew writing below it - which I cannot read. While I cannot read the Hebrew slogan, I surmise that it pertains to some Israeli political party or some Jewish religious organization. The original caption was: "Religious Zionist MK Itamar Benn-Gvir during the May 10 [2021] Jerusalem Day March of the Flags (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)"
Bill Garrison, 10 May 2022 

This flag may belong to a political/religious party, but, more importantly, it reflects an idea and aspiration of several extremist and ultra-orthodox groups in Israel and in the United States. Here is the explanation of the elements, all of which are from an imaginary/aspirational future, and have no official codification:

1. The crown is "Messianic" or "King David".

2. The "gate" is actually the "Third Temple" that extremists believe must replace the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine in the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. The first temple was allegedly Solomon's. The second was Herod's reconstruction, and destroyed by the Romans in the Jewish war of 66-73 CE. (This narrative overlooks a much more complicated history involving other temples and disputed locations.)

3. The map is a crude representation of Eretz (Great, or Greater) Israel, which several Bible verses describe as "from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates." Again, extremists and their maps don't agree on the exact borders, but the western side is the Mediterranean and Nile (or Suez Canal). The top of the triangle is mostly the Euphrates. The bottom of the triangle is an arbitrary line across Saudi Arabia from Egypt to the mouth of the Euphrates. Thus, the territory depicted includes present Israel, occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan, most of Syria, a large chunk of Iraq, Kuwait, a big slice of Saudi Arabia, and part of Egypt (always including all of the Sinai Peninsula.)

Some believe that Eretz Israel represents a restoration of the fullest extent of the kingdom in Solomon's time. The problem is that there is zero evidence for the existence of Solomon, and whatever proto-Israel/Judah state (tributary to the Egyptian and Assyrian empires) existed around that time was smaller than modern Israel. Some modern politicians have a much more territorially-conservative vision of Eretz Israel, i.e. Israel plus the West Bank, and sometimes the Golan Heights. This area is also often called "Judea and Samaria," which can be interpreted as a sly way of signaling that its adherents really do believe in the more grandiose Eretz Israel.

This flag probably belongs on the Israel parties page:

but I think it is premature to link it decisively to Temple Mount Faithful or Chabad. (The other main organizations in this movement are Temple Institute and Return to the Mount.) A 2013 poll commissioned by the Joint Forum of Temple Mount Organizations found that 30% of Israeli Jews want a Third Temple on Temple Mount. The Third Temple Movement has only grown in numbers and influence since then, moving from fringe to mainstream politics. It also has strong support from about half of American evangelicals, for whom a Third Temple is central to their end-times theology. Thus, the flag might also represent an American organization dedicated to this cause.

T.F. Mills, 27 June 2022

For those needing a better visual of the "Eretz Yisrael Greater Israel," I located this map once I knew what to look for.
Pete Loeser, 27 June 2022