Shalom Life | December 10, 2014

Chief IDF Rabbi: Most Arabs Don't Know What's in the Quran

"In the Quran, the word Jerusalem is not mentioned even once"

By: Daniel Koren

Published: November 28th, 2014 in News » Israel

Chief IDF Rabbi: Most Arabs Don't Know What's in the Quran

Photo Caption: Chief IDF Rabbi Rafi Peretz

Photo Credit: Ido Erez


Rabbi Rafi Peretz, the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, had some rather strong words about Muslims and their relationship to Jerusalem recently, in the wake of heightened tensions between Muslims and Jews following rumors that Israelis wanted to convert the Al-Aqsa Mosque into a Jewish site. The rumors came after the site was closed for one day a month and a half ago, following clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators.

The rumors, and one-day closure, were also, many argue, the catalyst for several terrorist attacks on innocent civilians that have left residents of the region in complete disarray.

"In the Quran, the word Jerusalem is not mentioned even once. Nothing. It's not even hinted at," Rabbi Peretz said to a group of seminary students, according to a broadcast by Israel's Channel 10 News.

The Chief Rabbi added that "90% of Arabs have no idea what is written in the Quran."

Strong words. But do they hold precedence?

The rabbi's statement on the matter come as several other Israeli and Arab figures have given their opinions on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and other places of worship that are sacred to both Islam and Judaism.

A controversial New Jersey rabbi, who has since been shunned by the ADL and other Orthodox Jewish leaders, suggested last week that the Mount be "moved to Saudi Arabia."

Rabbi Peretz made the comments after a student asked about the Muslims' relationship to the Temple Mount, know to them as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary).

Peretz responded that many of the Israeli Arabs who have been rioting do not have a thorough knowledge of the Quran, adding that "we know better than many of them, trust me."

The rabbi also commented on the al-Aqsa mosque, located inside the Temple Mount compound. The site is the third holiest site in Islam, but the holiest place in Judaism. "What is al-Aqsa, do you know? It means make me a sanctuary 'at the edge'. At the edge of what? Of Mecca! At the end of the Arabian Peninsula. The Dome of the Rock is not at the edge, and so I said: It's just (an issue of) respect. It has no religious significance for Islamic faith."

The rabbi noted, which most people do know, that Mecca, not Jerusalem, is to Muslims what Jerusalem is to Jews. "They do (religious rites) it at the edge of the Temple Mount, but to which direction do they pray? To Mecca! Their backs are turned to the Temple Mount. So what are they doing on the Temple Mount?" he asked the students.

Following the recording's broadcast, the IDF have issued a statement claiming that "the Chief Rabbi's comments were taken out of context and do not accurately depict the rabbi's position. The rabbi apologizes if his words offended the Arab population."

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