reposted and translated from
Av 21, 5772, 09/08/12
According to a bill prepared by MK Aryeh Eldad, scheduling for separate prayer times for Moslem and Jewish worshipers on their respective holidays will allow for freedom of worship on the Temple Mount. "This place is sacred to both religions," Eldad explained.
The issue of the rights of Jews to visit and worship on the Temple Mount is highly incendiary. The Arabs frequently threaten regional violence if Jews are granted the right to pray on the Temple Mount. Now the issue is expected to reach the Knesset, after Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) has initiated a bill that would enable Jews to visit the Temple Mount and pray there on a regular basis.
The bill proposes the introduction of an arrangement on the Temple Mount similar to that already in existence for decades at the in the Cave of Machpelah, in which separate prayer days and hours enable Jews and Muslims the ability to pray.
To allow freedom of worship and the right to visit the mount specific days and hours for Jews and Muslims will be fixed, including certain days in which the Mount will be open only to one of religions.
According to the proposal, the mountain will be open to Jews on weekdays, with the exception of Fridays and Moslem holidays, between 08:00 to 11:00, 14:00 to 18:00 and 21:00 to 23:00. In addition, the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the first day of Sukkot, the seventh day of Sukkot, the first day of Passover, the seventh day of Passover, Shavuot and Tisha B'Av the Mount will be also be open to Jews.
Likewise, Moslems can visit the mountain each day of the week, except Saturday and Jewish holidays, between 4:00 a.m. to 07:00, 11:00 to 14:00, and -18:00-21:00. In addition, on the Moslem holidays of Lilat el Kader, Id al-Fitr, Id al-Adha, Ashura, Mvlad al Nabi and Lilat al Marj the Mount will be open to Moslems only.
"We need to allow freedom of worship"
Because the Jewish and Muslim calendars are not synchronized, special arrangement will be made in those cases in which a Muslim feast day coincides with a Jewish holiday. According to the bill, the Minister of Ministry of Religious Affairs will be responsible for the implementation of the Law and shall prescribe regulations necessary for its implementation. MK Eldad explained that "the Temple Mount is the holiest place in Israel, where the first and second Temple stood. The Temple Mount, on which stands the Aqsa mosque also is a sacred place for Moslems, and also has a special status in Christianity. Fixed prayer hours for the respective religions will allow freedom of worship and the rights to visit the Mount for Jews and Moslems alike.
"Open only to Jews or to Moslems."
It should be noted that today every Jew who wishes to ascend the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jewish people, can do so as a tourist during limited hours in the morning from Monday to Friday. At the entrance to the Mount, which is under Israeli sovereignty, the police made it clear that non-Moslems can not pray on the Mount, and are also forbidden to enter while carrying a prayer book or any other religious item or article of clothing.
The police have the authority to close the Mount to visitors and worshipers if they perceive a potential threat to the public welfare. MK Eldad seeks to anchor in law the rights of Jewish worshipers to visit the Temple Mount unhindered by the police.