EEEEKKKK!!! This is my first post and we are already on Day 3 of our trip! I have LOTS of catching up to do! Regarding my posts and our tour of Israel, I have still yet to decide the ‘best way’ to write all of this. We learn so much, see so much and hear so much in such a short time, I think I am going to have to post about each site individually. This means long (and numerous) posts. Feel free to read what you will, and I hope that what you choose to peruse will bless you. BTW, I still cant post pics because my connection is too slow. If I cant find a faster one, I wont be uploading til I get home. Disclaimer: these notes are from a compilation of my trips to Israel. I have done the best I can to take notes and write accurate information. I would encourage each of you reading to take these notes and compare them to scripture and teachings you have heard and believe and to seek out the truth for yourself. I am not sure about all of the political correctness of everything either. I dont mean to offend anyone so please extend grace if I incorrectly term something! Anyway, on to the posts!! First of all, I would like to mention how fabulously I slept last night! Most people wake up a time or two due to the change in time zones and jet lag however I was out like a light. I think I got a full 8 hours and didn’t even move once! By 8:30 am, we were on the bus and headed to the Old City. Our day started out at Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites for Muslims. Infidels, or non-believers are only allowed on Temple Mount for two hours a day (from 8-10 AM) so our time was limited. You have to go through security before you can go on Temple Mount and Bibles (or sacred objects) other than their holy book, the Koran, are not permitted on it. The site is maintained by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Many Jews will not go on the site for fear that they are standing on the holy of holies. As the 10 am hour approaches, the IDF forcefully asks that all groups and infidels move off of the Temple Mount. Their goal is to get them off as fast as possible, with little concern who exits where. One year, I was forced out a different exit than my group and was lost, and the same thing happened to one of our girls this year. Our guide discussed the history of Temple Mount and the significance of it to all. Much of it comes down to a birth right conflict between the Jews and Muslims, who both believe that it is one of their holy sites. In short (and from my notes as best as I could write them) the conflict in Jerusalem is a conflict of the inheritance of the rightful son of Abraham. Sarah was barren, so she gave her maidservant Hagar to Abraham. Sarah was mad and sent Hagar and the new baby away. When Sarah was old the Lord opened her womb and she betrothed Isaac. On Mt. Moriah is where Abe went to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22). The Arabs claim that the sacrificed son was not Isaac but Ishmael and that they are the rightful heirs of the land. Muslims claim that the Jews rewrote the original text of the Bible where it says that Abe was to take his only son to sacrifice (Genesis 22:2). Muslims say that it originally said take your number one son. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran. Hagar is upset because she has been sent into the wilderness and has a new baby, and an angel of the Lord shows up to her and says to her that she should return to her maid and that because Ishmael is one of Abe’s sons that he will receive a blessing and that his descendants will be multiplied (Genesis 16). Ishmael is the line of descendants that the Arabs come from. The angel of the Lord tells her to name the child Ishmael and that, “He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, and every mans hand against him. And he shall dwell in hostility toward his brethren.” Gen 16:12 The next time Isaac and Ishmael see each other is at Abe’s funeral. Arabs believe that Isaac stole Ishmael’s birthright from him. It is here on Mt. Moriah where the Jews old temple was until the Arabs took the land. The Dome of the Rock and the Al Asqe Mosque are built. It is considered the third holiest site in Islam next to Mecca and Medina. They believe that Muhammad also ascended to heaven here on a horse though it is not mentioned in their scripture that here is where it happened. The mosque was built 1300 years ago. It is next to the Dome of the Rock that the last remains of the Jews temple is. The Western Wall has the most significance to the Jews because it is the only remainder and the closest thing that they have left to the Holy of Holies. Many believe that if they were to dig through the wall and under the Dome of the Rock they will find the remains of the original temple. Though the Muslims possess it, the Jews believe that they don’t have to search and build and push, that the Lord will reveal it.