The Temple Mount which includes the Western Wall, is the holiest place in Judaism, while the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount is only the 3rd holiest place in Islam.
CS Monitor Behind him rise the two sites that make Jerusalem the third-holiest city in Islam: the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine commemorating the prophet Mohammed’s ascension to heaven. It is built on the spot where Jews believe the very presence of God once rested in the Jewish temple. This is considered the holiest place in Judaism, yet it has been largely off-limits to Jewish worshipers because of concerns that range from violating Jewish law to provoking riots.
But in recent years, religious Jews are increasingly asserting their right to be here and are pushing for Israel to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Their effort is testing the resolve of the Israeli government and the patience of 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. At stake are freedom of worship and the future of the most contested sacred space in the world. And the effort could potentially inflame the Israeli-Arab conflict, which is increasingly taking on a religious tone.
Muslim concerns over the Temple Mount come amid rising Arab frustration with the “Judaization” of Jerusalem, where Jewish groups promoting (and funding) a greater Jewish presence have increasingly acquired properties in sensitive areas including the Muslim quarter of the Old City and predominantly Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Among Muslims’ greatest concerns is that Jews will try to destroy the Muslim holy sites in order to rebuild their temple. Says Sheikh al-Khatib. “If that were to happen, then Muslims all over the world would conduct jihad.”
Israeli general Moshe Dayan captured the Temple Mount in the 1967 war, but instead of restoring it to Jewish control for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, he let Muslims retain control. Some saw it as the largely secular Israeli leadership’s attempt to appease Muslims.
Though Israeli courts have since supported Jews’ right to pray on the Temple Mount, Israeli police have enforced a ban on it to avoid provoking the Muslim community. But as Israel’s religious Jews have gained influence they have pushed back against the restrictions.
Glick, who heads the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and supports right-wing lawmakers’ efforts to restore Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, has been coming up here for 25 years – first alone, and now with groups of up to 100 or more. Last year 12,000 Jews visited, he says, and this year he hopes it will be double or triple that, solidifying the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount. Israeli police statistics, though more conservative, support the general trend and indicate that Jewish visits this year will outpace previous years.
But some worry that could spark a third intifada; the Second Intifada broke out in 2000 after a controversial visit by Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, with more than 1,000 Israeli police and several Israeli lawmakers in tow, in what his spokesman later described as a bid to show Palestinians that “Jerusalem was not for sale.”
UPDATE: Israel ‘Surrenders’ Temple Mount silent Jewish prayer after reported pressure from the Jew-hating Biden Regime.
Israel Today Hamas was sounding a triumphant note on Saturday after a Jerusalem court reversed its tacit approval of Jewish prayer atop the Temple Mount. The terror group attributed this “victory” to the “steadfast resistance” of the Palestinian Arabs. But Israeli media indicated it was the result of pressure from left-wing elements in the Israeli government and from the Biden Administration.
Last week, Jerusalem District Court Judge Bilha Yahalom sent shockwaves through Israel when she lifted a police ban on a Jewish man who had been caught praying at the Temple Mount.
While Israel officially protects full freedom of religion for all, Jewish prayer atop the Temple Mount is forbidden. Though it is Judaism’s holiest site, it is also claimed by the Muslim world, which threatens violence should the Jews worship God there. Israeli authorities prefer to appease the Muslims and avoid an outburst of violence rather than assert Jewish sovereignty.
But in her recent ruling, Judge Yahalom determined that the “guilty” party, Rabbi Aryeh Lippo, had not broken any laws by quietly praying within the Temple Mount compound. It was seen as tacit legal approval for Jews to begin openly praying at the holy site.