If the God particle had not been found in Switzerland, it would have been discovered here. Even if it would have taken another generation, the same particle responsible for matter in the universe would not have passed up an opportunity to show up in the original Holy Land, the same land that possesses patents for slogans uttered by biblical prophets. The land of Israel is filled with holiness and God particles. But try to deal with particles that have no public relations representatives.
Take for example the Foundation Stone, a flat stone that lies at the center of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. According to Jewish tradition, it is the holiest place on earth. Even archeologists have no doubt about its precious value. At the time of the Great Temple, the Ark of the Covenant rested upon it and only the High Priest could enter the area on the holiest day of the year. According to both Judaism and Islam, the world was created from that spot. Muslims have maintained the site, which is holy to them as well, for years. They never touch the stone itself except to dust it off once a year and return it to its place.
Last week, images were published showing huge iron scaffolds and construction material covering the stone. The Waqf, the Islamic body with authority over the Temple Mount, is renovating the ceiling of the dome to enhance the structure and emphasize its Arabic design, and has placed metal tools and pales on top of the exposed stone. Workers with shoddy footwear move about the site, and yes, we need to be worried. The Foundation Stone is a powder keg, and ignoring calls for Israel's sovereignty in the area may lead to a dangerous struggle. But in the midst of all the caution, we forgot to cry. For most Israelis, the image of scaffolds at this sensitive and ancient site does not bring on an immediate heart attack. The indifference hurts. Cry, Jews, cry over the holy of holies where even a single God particle did not survive this week.
Also this week, UNESCO agreed to declare the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as an endangered world heritage site due to damage it incurred at the hands of the "Israeli occupation." UNESCO's advisers actually said Israel was working to preserve the site, but who cares about the facts. The strange behavior of the Waqf, which is responsible itself for damaging the Foundation Stone — the spot from which Islamic tradition says the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven — is part of an ongoing struggle based on recollection and identity. The denial of Jewish roots in the area has become a sport.
At a New York auction in March, an ancient coin dating to the time of the great Jewish rebellion against Rome was sold for $1.1 million. One side of the coin is engraved with the Hebrew words "Israeli Shekel." On the other side, the words "Holy Jerusalem" appear. The Palestinian Authority reported through its media about the sale of "an ancient Palestinian coin that is part of the Palestinian cultural heritage."
Last Passover, Palestinian television aired a talk show during which the guest declared that Moses was a Muslim who led the Muslims out of Egypt. The speaker described the event as the "first release of Palestinians through the use of force." Another false claim is that Jerusalem was the capital of Palestine. (In fact, Jerusalem was never an Arab or Muslim capital, even for a single day.) You can still hear on that same TV channel these familiar words in Arabic: "May my right hand forget its cunning if I forget thee, Jerusalem."
Palestinians are transferring archeological findings from the Jewish closet to the Islamic closet. History is being rewritten. And what about us? We act like the three iconic monkeys and think that "Foundation Stone" is a great name for a pub.