By Sam Kestenbaum
Step one: Elect Donald Trump president of the United States. Step two: Rebuild the Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. Step three: Welcome the Messiah.
At least, that’s the plan according to certain Israeli religious leaders who praised Trump’s election, describing it as a divinely ordained event that could usher in a messianic age.
“He is connected to the Messianic process which is happening right now,” Rabbi Yosef Berger, who oversees King David’s tomb in Jerusalem, told Breaking Israel News, a website of religious views on current events.
Israel’s political right wing has already embraced Trump. The Republican Party platform crafted under his leadership states that Israel should not be pressured to “recognize or support” a Palestinian state. Hawkish politicians have interpreted that as the end of the effort to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and as license to build more Israeli settlements on contested land.
But he also has fervent supporters in one of country’s most conservative religious camp: the movement that wants to return Judaism to its pre-Diaspora form, which was centered around a priestly class leading animal sacrifice and temple-based festivals.
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