Dr. Gabriel Barkay, a professor of biblical archaeology at Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explained in an interview the Jewish and Christian connections to the Temple Mount and why it is vital to stop the destruction of Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount currently being carried out by Muslim religious authorities who are digging a trench at the site:
The Temple Mount is the heart, soul, and spirit of the Jewish people. It is the only holy place that Jews have and it is the place chosen by the Almighty which is mentioned in Deuteronomy. This is the place believed to be the site of the binding of Isaac. This is the place where David built the altar on the threshing floor of Aravna the Jebusite to stop the plague. This is the place where the First Temple was built and the Second followed it, built by the returnees to Zion from Babylonian captivity. This is also the place of the third edifice built on the site by King Herod the Great – the building so frequently mentioned in the New Testament.
The Temple Mount occupies about 1/6th of the total area of the old city of Jerusalem and this is one of the most important cornerstones of Western civilization. It is at the moment the focus of a political battle that embodies within it the crux of the Near Eastern conflict, as both parties claim to have historical linkage to the site.
The Temple Mount represents the Near Eastern conflict in a nutshell and whatever happens to the Temple Mount will happen to the rest of the country. If the Temple Mount is under Palestinian rule and there is no accessibility for Jews to the Temple Mount and no control on the antiquities discovered there, that means that the legitimacy of Jews in the entire country is questioned.
The gigantic stones of the Temple Mount are mentioned in the New Testament: Jesus was brought to the Temple Mount as an infant, and later in his career he chased away the money changers from the Temple Mount. There are approximately twenty references to the Temple Mount in the New Testament and beyond any doubt the Temple Mount is an integral part of the Christian heritage. It should be sacred and important to any civilized person all around the world.
I am amazed that there was a world outcry concerning the blowing up of the statues of Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley by the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, while the destruction on the Temple Mount didn’t hit the media and there was no outrage expressed.