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Tunneling for Templar Treasure

Nadav Shragai writes in Haaretz.com that Rabbi Yehuda Meir Getz tried for years to find the lost treasure of the Knights Templar by tunneling underneath the Dome of the Rock in Israel, where the Second Temple once stood. He believed the Ark of the Covenant, which is the box that held the tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments, is buried there. But Palestinians discovered the tunnels and objected. Finally then prime minister Menachem Begin had the opening sealed up.

Getz, who is now dead, wasn't the only one who wanted to tunnel under the Temple Mount. Spymaster He Rafi Eitan, who recruited Jonathan Pollard (now in prison in the U.S.), worked with him. Eitan says, "I met with Rabbi Getz almost daily. Together with him, I studied the structure of the Holy Temple and its dimensions. We drew conclusions as to the location of the Holy Temple and the Holy of Holies?But we waited for the right time to make the opening. We told no one about it?so that if - heaven forbid- it were discovered, the responsibility would not fall on the government or its leaders. That is why Begin?did not know about our plans to make the opening to the east.

"We were of the view that without heavy tools, using a delicate chisel, we could chip away at the soft limestone walls?(and) advance quietly and secretly to discover the hiding place where the priests had concealed the Temple artifacts and arrive at the spot just under the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden."

The Ark of the Covenant, one of the most important Jewish artifacts, has not been seen since the destruction of the First Temple. Ethiopians claim it was moved to their country and is being guarded in a church there, but others think it's still hidden in the tunnels excavated by King Solomon under what is now the Dome of the Rock. The document known as the tractate Shekalim of the Mishna says, "There once was a priest (in the time of the Second Temple) who while working in the Temple noticed that the part of the floor was different from other parts (and realized that at that spot there must be an entrance to a subterranean passage). He told another priest, but barely had he finished speaking before his soul expired, and it was clearly known that that was where the Ark was hidden."

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