Photo appears in army packet on Hanukkah describing the Jewish revolt against Hellenistic rule; IDF spokesman: Image meant to illustrate a period in which holy Muslim site did not exist.
By Gili Cohen
Israel’s military rabbinate released an educational document ahead of the holiday of Hanukkah last month, featuring a photo of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount without the Dome of the Rock, Haaretz learned on Thursday.
The photo was featured in a packet prepared by the Military Rabbinate issued to Israel Defense Forces bases ahead of Hanukkah, under the section titled “The Festival of Jewish Heroism,” which included an article and a quiz on the Jewish struggle against Hellenistic rule.
One reserves officer talking with Haaretz said that when he “received the materials from the battalion rabbi something seemed strange about that picture.”
“We get material from the rabbinate every week and it’s mostly positive things,” the IDF officer said, adding that the edited picture was part of an “official release, which is why it’s problematic the army is distributing it.”
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in the response that Haaretz’s description was “absurd and biased, a fact which we can only regret,” adding that the educational packet included a photo meant to illustrate Jerusalem during the period of the Second Temple.
“As was explained to the reporter, the Dome of the Rock did not exist at that time, so there was no need for it to appear in the picture,” the IDF said.
Speaking with Haaretz, the reserves officer said he expected “the Military Rabbinate to be more alert about the educational messages it passes on, especially considering the Temple Mount’s history,” adding: “A world war could break if someone would try to do something about that place, and I think they should be more cautious when approaching the subject.”
“It’s infuriating that the rabbinate isn’t more being more responsible about this,” the officer added.