The Temple Institute: Israel Complacent - Muslims Seek to Strengthen Hold on Mount

 

 


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Israel Complacent - Muslims Seek to Strengthen Hold on Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
08:04 Oct 12, '06 / 20 Tishrei 5767

by Yechiel Spira

Israel is not expressing objections to the construction of a fifth Temple Mount minaret, in line with Jordanian plans.

This week, Jordan's King Abdullah II announced plans to construct a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, a move that would further increase the Islamic occupation of the site, the holiest site to the Jewish People. Ironically, shortly following the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in the June 1967 Six Day War, the then Israeli government decided to return the keys to the Mount to the Islamic Waqf Authority, under Jordanian control, permitting the continued occupation of the holy site until today.

While tenacious yearning to visit the Mount by Jews has resulted in a modicum of government acquiescence, Jews by and large are barred from the holy site, as are members of other religions, compelled to live by the standards set by the Islamic occupiers. Jews who adhere to the strict religious requirements demanded of anyone wishing to visit the site cannot do so at will, and while there are generally visitation times during which Jews and other non-Muslims may ascend the Mount, the Waqf will not ‘tolerate' Jews praying on the site, backed by Israel Police who are quick to enforce the prayer ban, generally arrested those bold enough to defy it.

The latest Jordanian construction process will begin early in 2007, calling for the 42-meter high tower in the area near the Golden Gate, near the eastern wall of the Mount.

Jordanian official Dr. Raief Najim, a senior personality involved in the project, was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying to date, he has not detected any Israeli objections to the project, he has already toured the proposed building site, accompanied by a senior Jerusalem district police official, as well as a national government representative. According to Najim, an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) official also accompanied him on his tour of the site, signaling passive approval by the various governmental agencies.

Jordanian authorities have already announced a building tender for the project, which carries a NIS 2.5 million price tag.

While Israel continues to claim Jerusalem controls the Temple Mount, in reality, the day-to-day running of the site is under Waqf control, with Israel complying with Waqf dictates regarding the goings-on on the site. When Waqf requests are not honored by the Israeli government, threats of violence have on many occasions accomplished the Waqf's goals.

The Temple Mount was the home of the First and Second Temples, and it will house the Third Temple in the future. It remains the holiest site to the Jewish nation, one that has a higher sanctity than all other sites including the Kotel (Western Wall).

Israel Unopposed to Building of 5th Temple Mount Minaret

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Oct. 11, 2006

Etgar Lefkovits, The Jerusalem Post

Israel has not objected to Jordanian plans to construct a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, and the Hashemite Kingdom is pressing ahead with plans to do so early next year, a senior Jordanian official said Wednesday.

The minaret, which will be constructed on the eastern wall of the Temple Mount near the Golden Gate, will at 42 meters be the highest of the minarets on the Mount and the first to be built in more than 600 years, Dr. Raief Najim, vice chairman of the committee running the project, told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview from Amman.

He said he spoke with Israeli authorities about the plan last year and did not hear any objections to the proposed construction. He revealed that he toured the intended site with a top Jerusalem police commander, a senior government official and the head of the Antiquities Authority and none of them voiced any opposition.

"Even though the political situation has changed, I do not think they will refuse to construct such a thing," he said.

The Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday that no decision was taken to approve the construction of the minaret. The Antiquities Authority declined comment.

Earlier this week, King Abdullah II issued an international tender for the design of the minaret, which is expected to cost 400,000 to 500,000 Jordanian dinars (NIS 2.4 million to NIS 3m.).

The winner of the tender will be chosen in three months, Najim said, adding that construction work could begin early next year.

Najim, who met with Abdullah on Monday to finalize the plans, said that the minaret will be constructed in Hashemite style to differentiate it from the previous four minarets, which were built in the Mameluke style, and will include seven sides representing the star on the Jordanian flag.

According to a decades-old regulation in place at the Temple Mount, Israel maintains overall security control, while the Wakf, or Islamic trust, is charged with day-to-day administration.

A leading Israeli archaeologist lambasted the plan. "I am against any change in the status quo on the Temple Mount," said Bar-Ilan University's Dr. Gabi Barkai, a member of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount. "If the status quo is being changed, then it should not just be the addition of Muslim structures at the site."

In contravention of the law, Antiquities Authority archaeologists have not been carrying out full-time supervision of the site for much of the last decade due to their concern about renewed Palestinian violence, despite the reopening of the compound to non-Muslims two years ago.

During this period, Israel has been keen to involve the Jordanians in the ongoing repair work on the Temple Mount, as they are considered more moderate than the Palestinian heads of the Wakf appointed by Yasser Arafat on his return to the West Bank 10 years ago.

The other minarets include three near the Western Wall and one near the northern wall. The first minaret was constructed on the southwest corner of the Temple Mount in 1278. The second was built in 1297 by order of a Mameluke king, the third by a governor of Jerusalem in 1329, and the last in 1367.

"For the past century all Hashemite intervention [here] was restoration and maintenance, and now for the first time there will be a new monument on the site," Najim said.

 

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