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Like the establishment of Israel, the ‘Red Heifer’ is yet another forced prophecy

March 30, 2024 at 9:47 am

This picture taken on April 27, 2023 shows members of the Boneh Israel (“Building Israel”) organisation Moriel Bareli (L) and Haim Berkovits feeding red heifer cows imported by the organisation from the US, at a farm in Hamadya near the northern city of Beit Shean. [Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Beyond the political dimensions to the ongoing war in Gaza, there exists a deep religious undertone on both sides, which traces back to the very establishment of the Zionist occupation state in 1948, justified on the grounds of religious scripture as a God-given right to Jews.

Yet despite its religious exterior, Zionism is a secular ideology committed to forcing prophecies, representing a mockery of the faith.

The Zionist state has its detractors from the Jewish faith, apart from secular Jews against Zionism, some ultra-orthodox Jews oppose Israel on religious grounds, believing that the establishment of a Jewish state should come about after the coming of the “Messiah.” They rightfully view the current state of Israel for what it is — a secular entity, with man-made laws, established by humans rather than as a fulfilment of divine prophecy.

For Christian Zionists, the creation of Israel was a fulfilment of biblical prophecy leading to the second coming of the Prophet Jesus, which Muslims also await.

Yet, like the regathering of Jews and the creation of Israel, there is another awaited “promise” related to the End Times, which is the building of the Third Temple on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Before this, there is another forced prophecy being prepared in the coming days with strong religious significance, the sacrifice of the red heifer.

The red heifer, also known as the “parah adumah” in Hebrew, holds a significant place in Jewish tradition and is seen as an indicator that the Messianic age is approaching, particularly in relation to the coming of the Jewish Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

“Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its [red heifer] blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.”  (Numbers 19:4) 

“An unblemished, pure red heifer is the key ingredient to Temple worship.” (Numbers 19:1–2, 10)

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In Jewish tradition, the red heifer holds a special place as a symbol of purity and atonement. According to the book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, the ashes of a red heifer were used in the purification rituals for those who had come into contact with a dead body, which was considered a source of ritual impurity.

The rarity of an unblemished red heifer meeting the specific criteria outlined in Jewish law adds to its significance, as it is believed that the ashes of a red heifer have the power to purify the impure and enable the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. According to, “Even two black hairs would render it invalid. And it must not have done any work in its lifetime—even having a yoke placed on its back, or having mated, would disqualify it.”

The website mentions that “There have been only nine such heifers in history, and our tradition tells us that there will be one more in the future” noting that previous sacrificial ceremonies took place on the Mount of Olives, opposite the Temple Mount.

It appears there is growing momentum among some “fringe” Zionists in Israel who are looking to fast track divine prophecies with regards to the red heifer. In 2022, five unblemished red heifers from Texas arrived in Israel, reportedly donated by a devout Christian rancher, where they are being kept in the Shiloh settlement north of Ramallah. The project is overseen by the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute, who have been planning for years to artificially breed their own red heifer using surrogacy techniques.

There has already been the construction of a sacrificial altar for the beast. According to a report earlier this month by CBS News, a “massive altar” has already been constructed for the purpose.

However, a report by Israel365news, dismisses the report as a “lie,” stating: “The structure in the video is a model of the altar as it stood in the Temple. The real altar must be made of stone. The model, located in Mitzpe Yericho, is used for Temple service reenactments and educational purposes. It is not made of stone and cannot be used for the Temple service.”

READ: Al-Aqsa Mosque: extremist Jewish temple groups protest at mosque closure for settlers

On Wednesday 27, March a conference was held by Temple Institute in the Shiloh settlement in occupied-West Bank, on preparations for the red heifer rituals, which some observers say will be done in April, purportedly coinciding with Eid Al-Fitr.

Should such an event take place, it will be a dangerous provocation, especially as it will embolden masses of extremist settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque, something which is supposed to be prohibited by rabbinic prohibition and even under Israeli law.

In this context, one can understand the primary purpose of the Hamas-led resistance operation Al-Aqsa Flood, launched almost six months ago, which some erroneously attribute to triggering the current war in Gaza. In fact, the operation was a “pre-emptive strike” by the Palestinian resistance.

According to a top Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) official “The goal of the ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ operation…is to prevent the targeting of Al-Aqsa Mosque, disparaging or insulting of Muslim religious rites, assault of our women, efforts to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque and normalize Israeli occupation of it, or divide it temporally and spatially.”

Moreover, In his speech marking the 100th day of the war, Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida mentioned the “bringing of red cows as an application of a detestable religious myth designed for aggression against the feelings of an entire nation in the heart of its Arab identity, and the path of its prophet (the Night Journey) and Ascension to heaven.”

The genocidal war on Gaza is undoubtedly driven by both theopolitical and geopolitical motives. Senior rabbis, in addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have invoked scripture to justify the ethnic cleansing massacres taking place in the Gaza Strip.

It is increasingly evident that, rather than being a fulfilment of divine mandates, the Israeli occupation state represents a secular endeavour aimed at distorting prophecies to expedite the reconstruction of the Third Temple. The impending slaughter of a genetically modified cow is just the latest manifestation of this agenda.

READ: Israel bans Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem on Palm Sunday

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.