In a West Bank settlement, Israelis tend red cows and plan the Third Temple

On the crest of a hill in the occupied West Bank, five Red Angus cows chomp sombrely on some straw. Around them, a group of Israelis look on in anticipation.

If all goes to plan, these cows could herald the end of the world as we know it.

According to Jewish tradition, the ashes of a perfectly red heifer cow are needed for the ritual purification that would allow a Third Temple to be built in Jerusalem.

That temple, say radical Jewish groups, must be constructed on the raised plateau in Jerusalem’s Old City known as the Temple Mount, where Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine stand today. Some believe this will herald the arrival of the messiah.

On Wednesday, a few dozen Israelis gathered at a conference on the outskirts of Shilo, an illegal Israeli settlement near the Palestinian city of Nablus, to discuss the religious importance and imperative of the cows, and…

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