Select Page

The Red Heifer Obsession: Decoding the Settler Agenda

The Red Heifer Obsession: Decoding the Settler Agenda

On January 14th, 100 days into the war, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeydah released a statement reiterating the motives for the October 7th resistance against Settler state. During his speech, he cited arrival of red heifers into occupied Palestine as a provocation. This seems like an odd point given the more widely recognised grievances behind the October 7th operation, such as the ongoing occupation, expansion of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, thousands of Palestinian prisoners arbitrarily held in Israeli prisons, blockade and siege of Gaza, normalisation deals between Zionist entity and Arab regimes. However, upon closer examination, arrival of red heifers is an even more significant event, in this context.

Bayt al Maqdes complex in Jerusalem stands as a symbol of religious beliefs, political tensions, and historical narratives that has shaped the conflict at large. For Muslims, the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem houses the Masjed al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, as well as the Dome of the Rock, believed to mark the spot where the Prophet Muhammad SAAWS ascended to heaven. Jews view, the compound as the former location of the Biblical Jewish temples, but Jewish law and religious authorities prohibit Jews from entering and praying there due to the pending “purification rite”. Currently, Judaic rituals are officially limited to wailing at the bottom of Buraq Wall, which is where the Prophet Muhammad tethered al-Buraq, during his Night Journey to heavens.

These complex dynamics are further complicated by the factor of red heifers in Jewish theology. According to Jewish tradition, reconstruction of a “Third Temple” is a necessary precursor for the arrival of the Messiah. Red heifers play a significant role in this prophecy, with organisations like the Temple Institute actively preparing and funding for their sacrifice.

Political agendas and movements have contributed to the volatile situation surrounding Bayt al Maqdes complex. Some notorious groups advocate for the destruction of Masjed Al-Aqsa and the reconstruction of the Third Temple, driven by Zionist groups and Evangelical Christians. Evangelical Christians, particularly in the United States, have also become involved in the conflict, adding another layer of complexity to the situation. The actions and statements of these groups only serve to heighten atrocities and increase of violence and genocide impacts.

Since 1967, officially, Department of Jerusalem Awqaf & Masjed al Aqsa affairs of the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic affairs & Awqaf has administrative control over the compound, while Zionists oversees external access control. Zionists officially allows non-Muslims to visit during designated hours but prohibits non-Muslim prayer within the site. However, rising settler movements like the Temple Mount Faithful and Temple Institute have challenged these limitations. As such, Zionist forces have been, since past couple of years, routinely facilitating access for groups of Zionist settlers from the occupied West Bank territories to enter the Al-Aqsa compound under its armed protection. This stokes fears of an impending Israeli takeover of the sacred site. According to the Sama news agency, a record 47,988 right-wing Jewish individuals illegally entered and desecrated the Bayt al Maqdes compound over the past year from September 2021 to September 2022. The Temple Mount Administration, a right-wing group, boasted that this represented the busiest year yet for Zionists storming Islam’s third holiest site in the apartheid state’s history. Their goal is to build a Third Jewish Temple on the premises, claims that are bolstered by reported funding from members of Zionist government, despite official assertions of upholding the status quo.

From the Jewish perspective, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple after the Babylonians ravaged the First Temple. This was seen as God abandoning the temple, severing the relationship between the Jewish people and God. For thousands of years, rebuilding the temple to restore this covenant and herald the coming of the Messiah seemed an impossibility – until Zionists occupied East Jerusalem, including Al Aqsa compound, in 1967. It revived long-awaited hopes for a Third Temple among some Jews who viewed the Six Day War’s outcome as a divinely ordained, cataclysmic event enabling this prophetic rebuilding.

This bloc working towards building a temple over Bayt al Maqdes complex is no longer a fringe one. Currently, Knesset members vocally advocating for Jewish prayer rights at the site is quite sizeable. More than 20 “Temple Mount” groups now operate, including organisations that facilitate visits to the compound and encourage Jewish worship there, as well as others focussed on “research” and “disseminating information” about building the temple. One prominent group, Beyadenu, has explicitly stated its intention to demolish Bayt al Maqdes for this objective. While claiming “hundreds of supporters,” it aims to recruit “thousands and tens of thousands” to “really bring the Temple Mount back to our control.” Beyadenu runs a parliamentary lobbying arm that includes members of Israel’s governing coalition like Ben-Gvir. Another group called “Return to the Temple Mount” argues the Al-Aqsa compound should “not be abandoned to foreign hands.” It invites visitors to join if they “also promote the building of the temple.”
Officials at Masjed al-Aqsa have raised concerns over Zionist excavation work beneath the holy site, that has caused cracks, dislodged stones, vibrations – causing plaster to fall from its ceilings – & other damages to the mosque’s structure. Azzam Al-Khatib, Director-general of the Awqaf department, warns that the mosque could collapse if the digging continued at its current scale. Al-Khatib said they have unsuccessfully requested Israeli police to allow inspection and repairs, and have appealed to Jordanian authorities who oversee the holy sites. A committee has been formed to investigate this situation.

These temple dreams is shared by some powerful Evangelical Christian denominations in the West, as they believe it to be a necessary precursor to the Second Coming of Christ. However, ultimate motives of these two groups differ. While, Zionist groups believe that with the coming of the Messiah, non-Jews will serve the Jewish people, Evangelical Christians believe that Christ will either convert or kill the Jewish people upon his return. Despite this theological divergence, both groups currently share the common objective of constructing Temple by removal or destruction of Masjed Al-Aqsa. This objective of theirs places these groups at odds with the Muslim world.

According to Jewish theology, the Temple in Jerusalem cannot be constructed until Jews undergo a “purification” ritual. This ritual requires the sacrifice of a rare red heifer or cow that meets very specific requirements outlined in the Book of Numbers. Such a red heifer must be entirely red in colour, without any blemishes or defects, and must have never been yoked. Finding such a perfectly unblemished red calf is extremely rare, making it difficult even with modern breeding techniques. In 2022, five red heifers meeting all the requirements were discovered on a farm in Texas. “Temple Institute” spent over USD 500,000 to transport these red heifers to Zionist entity, where they are being protected and raised on a secretive farm. However, the ritual cannot be performed until the heifers reach at least 3 years of age. These red heifers are supposed to reach the appropriate age for sacrifice in April 2024. In preparation, “Temple Institute” and associated groups have been making arrangements. The sacrifice must be conducted by priests with a direct bloodline to Aaron, the brother of Moses. These priests are also required to have been born at home, as they cannot have come into contact with human remains, which would occur in a hospital birth. The sacrifice itself must take place east of the Temple Mount, near the Mount of Olives but within sight of the compound. Land has already been acquired for this purpose.
What transpired on October 7th served as something greater than a mere desperate plea – it was a forceful wake-up call demanding the world’s attention to the upcoming threats. They served as a warning to the entire Muslim world that one of their holiest sites, the Masjed Al-Aqsa, is under threat of destruction. The current Zionist government’s policies, coupled with the indoctrination of younger generations, make their intent to destroy the mosque and replace it with a Third Temple disturbingly clear.

In conclusion, the intricate interplay of Zionist agendas surrounding Bayt al Maqdes complex in Jerusalem underscores the complexity and volatility of the Zionist aggression. The role of red heifers as a catalyst for the operation highlights the religious intentions in the background. It is imperative to address Zionist violence and their political actions to protect sacred sites.

Author Profile
Umar Mukhthar

Currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Political Science at Pondicherry University after completing an undergraduate honors degree from the University of Delhi.

About The Author

Umar Mukhthar

Currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Political Science at Pondicherry University after completing an undergraduate honors degree from the University of Delhi.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x