On Monday, at the opening ceremony of the International Forum on Al-Quds Wakfs (Islamic trusts) in Istanbul, Erdogan called for hundreds of thousands of Muslims to ascend to the Temple Mount, thundering, “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us.”
Rabbi Berger, rabbi of the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion, believes that Erdogan’s call to Muslims was based in a Jewish prophecy that predates Islam.
“Erdogan is fulfilling a prophecy as the leader of his country,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Just like Pharaoh in Egypt.”
The rabbi related a prophecy written in Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer, a collection of Biblical exegesis believed to have been compiled in the seventh century. He explained that according to the prophecy, the “sons of Ishmael”, which the rabbi identifies as Islam, will wage a war against “Edom”, which the rabbi identifies as Christianity. After this war, the sons of Ishmael will wage three wars against the Jews focused around Jerusalem.
“Rabbi Ishmael (the High Priest) said, ‘Three wars of turmoil the Sons of Ishmael are destined to wage in Israel in the end-of-days’,” the prophecy reads, citing a verse in Isaiah.
For they fled away from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. Isaiah 21:15
The prophecy continues, “And from there, the Messiah from the House of David will grow, and he will witness their destruction, and then he will come to Israel.”
Rabbi Berger explained how the prophecy, written hundreds of years before Muhammad founded Islam, related to current events.
“The war between Islam and Christianity has been going on for some time now, in Europe and America,” Rabbi Berger said. He identified the two intifadas Israel has suffered, the first from 1987-1993 and the second from 2000-2005, as the first two wars to which the prophecy refers.
“Erdogan has just declared the third and final war for Jerusalem as foretold in the prophecy,” Rabbi Berger said.
He noted that while Erdogan might not seem the natural Arab leader to unite the Muslims, he had touched on a universal message in targeting Jerusalem which would, in a sense, ‘activate’ the need to fulfill the prophecy.
“The world of Islam is fighting among itself and Erdogan is not a major Islamic leader,” Rabbi Berger said. “But his call to unite in the fight for Jerusalem will resonate among the Muslims because it is the call they have been waiting for. It is written in their soul.”
The Islamic war for Jerusalem was also predicted in the Zohar, the foundational work of Jewish mysticism. It is written in the Zohar that in the sixth cycle of 1,000 years, “there will be a spiritual process of 70 days”, which “will return the Torah to Moses”. After that, “a great cry will go up to God from Israel from the suffering.” The Zohar (Vayera 1:119a) then predicts a multinational war for Jerusalem led by Islam, basing this prophecy on a verse in the final chapter of Zechariah.
For I will gather all nations against Yerushalayim to battle; and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity but the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Zechariah 14:2
Professor Ze’ev Maghen of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic studies (BESA) explained that Turkey has a powerful political interest in Jerusalem as well which relates to the historic ties between the two regions.
“It should be remembered that Erdogan inherited the title of leader of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over Jerusalem and its holy places, politically and religiously, for 400 years,” Dr. Maghen told Breaking Israel News. “Erdogan is, after all, an Islamist, and Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam.”
The professor explained that as leader of the current incarnation of the Ottoman Empire, Erdogan sees it is his role to lead the Islamic battle for Jerusalem.
“Since Saudi Arabia as the leader of Sunni Wahabism rules over the holy city of Mecca, it is only natural that a call to war would focus on Jerusalem,” said Dr. Maghen. “For that reason, Iran has a Jerusalem Day.”
Iran instituted ‘Quds Day’ in 1979 as an annual holiday held on the last day of the Ramadan period of fasting. It was intended to be in direct opposition to Israel’s celebration of Jerusalem Day. At its inception, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran, declared the “liberation” of Jerusalem a religious duty to all Muslims.
Essentially, Dr. Maghen concluded, “Erdogan’s call for Islam to unify in the fight for Jerusalem dates back to Suleiman the Magnificent, leading to the 200-year battle against the Christian Crusaders.”