Sunday, May 4, 2014

New Islamic fatwa: Foreign Muslims can visit Jerusalem's Temple Mount

Visiting the Al-Aksa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount will not be considered symbol of normalization of ties with Israel, according to a Fatwa issued in Amman on Wednesday.
The fatwa cancels a previous one that prohibited Muslims from around the world from visiting the site.
Wednesday's fatwa was issued at a meeting in the Jordanian capital called "The Way to Jerusalem," attended by prominent Islamic scholars. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss "ending the attack on Al-Aksa" by the Israelis.
Earlier this month, The Jordanian Foreign Ministry, responding to riots at the site, asked Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo to convey to Israel, Jordan’s protest and rejection of what it called recurring Israeli violations against the Al-Aksa Mosque.
Wednesday's Fatwa permits Palestinians who hold foreign passports as well 450 million Muslims who live in non-Islamic countries to visit the Temple Mount.

Israel Is 'Destroying' Al-Aqsa Mosque for 'Alleged' Temple

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been stepping up its libel that Israel is "destroying" the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in order to build the "alleged" Temple.
The highest PA religious authority, Mufti Muhammad Hussein, asserted in late March that Israel was making an "attempt... at lay[ing] hands on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque... [and] in addition to the threat of destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque to establish the alleged Temple on its ruins."
Palestinian Media Watch translated the comments, which were made by the same mufti who in 2012 publicly called for the genocide of the Jewish people.
The comments were made ahead of the recent series of Arab riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem raging since last week, in which Israeli police have been attacked by rocks and firebombs, and limits have been placed on Muslim visitors as well as Jewish visitors.

Religious Affairs Ministry Vows: Jews will Pray on Temple Mount

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan spoke via video message at a conference for Jewish Temple Mount prayer rights on Tuesday. He announced that his office is working on new regulations allowing Jews to pray at the holiest site in Judaism.
At the conference, held in Jerusalem's Begin Heritage Center by the Liba Project for Jewish Freedom at the Temple Mount, Rabbi Ben-Dahan declared that "whoever was permitted by his primary rabbi to ascend to the Temple Mount should and may ascend to the Temple Mount and pray there."
"We have set regulations to arrange prayers on the Mount," added Ben-Dahan. "I expect and trust that the prime minister and the Israeli government will adopt these regulations, give them legal standing, and allow any Jew who wants to ascend to the Temple Mount and pray there, to pray there."
Ben-Dahan criticized the "discrimination" on the site by which only Jews are forbidden to pray.
"No equality - it's all ours"
The emergency conference, entitled "Returning the Temple Mount," was organized by Liba Project Director Yehuda Glick, following the repeated riots by Muslim visitors preventing Jews from accessing the site.
"We came to say in a clear voice - enough is enough," declared Glick. "The situation of daily harassment of Jews on the Temple Mount cannot continue, not even for another moment."
Glick called on the state to defend the rights of Jews to pray at the holy site, as a "sovereign and democratic nation."
Deputy Knesset Chairman MK Moshe Feiglin also spoke at the conference, saying "I'm not asking for equality at the Temple Mount; there is no equality - it's ours and ours alone."
The MK attacked Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich in his speech, addressing him and saying "you didn't dare send a unit of Border Police (to the Mount), a mere thousandth of what you did in Yitzhar, because you don't believe (the Mount) is yours."
"Whoever doesn't actually walk around the Mount abandons it to the Muslims," added Feiglin. "If we don't have a home we don't have a history, and if we don't have a history we aren't a nation, but rather just a religion. If we are just a religion, we don't deserve a Jewish state."

Jewish Youths Attempted to Enter Temple Mount Dressed as Muslims

Two Jewish youths were taken in for questioning by Jerusalem police after attempting to enter the Temple Mount dressed as Muslim worshippers.
According to initial reports the pair are "secular Jews" who were touring Jerusalem together and wanted to include the Temple Mount on their trip; it is not clear why they chose to disguise themselves.
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, where the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem were situated before their destruction (the latter in 70 CE). According to some Jewish traditions it is also the place where the creation of the world began.

Monday, February 10, 2014

April 2001: Conflict Between Jews and Muslims Over the Temple in Jerusalem

During the last weeks there are renewed construction activities on the Temple Mount. In Israel there is a feeling that control over the Mount is lost. There are rumors about the digging of a water sewer, a mysterious white building and a fourth mosque.
Jon Seligman, district archaeologist of Jerusalem with the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA), sits grimly in his office one mile away from Jerusalem's Old City and the location of the Temple Mount. In his rather worn-out-looking study that is full of folders, dusty books and rolled architectural papers on a chaos of triplex tables, Seligman relates that he cannot execute his function anymore since the Intifada broke out in autumn last year.
Dressed in a cozy woolen sweater Seligman looks like a once enthusiastic teacher who has found out that his students are not interested in his subject. His voice sounds disappointed and a bit weary when he concludes that his work has been taken from him in a theoretical and practical sense.
Already since 1996, says Seligman, while he sits down at a desk and his hands fold a origami cap from a colored sheet, his task has been very difficult. Starting from that year archaeologists - any archaeologist, whether he is from the IAA or not - are not allowed to inspect the Temple Mount.
The Waqf, the religious Muslim endowment that rules the Temple Mount, decided to banish archaeological supervision after the 'Tunnel Riots' in September 1996, during the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. These riots were about the opening of a tunnel along the Temple Complex' Western Wall, to Muslim Quarter. During the fierce fight around 70 Palestinians were killed and 17 Israeli soldiers.
Since 1996 the function of the Temple Mount archaeologist, Seligman's job, is restricted to looking round and reporting his observations to the relevant authorities.
And that is exactly what Seligman did, from the moment he stepped in his function, 14 months ago. But then came the Intifada.
Since the Intifada II broke out last fall, admittance to the Temple Mount has been denied to him altogether. In the first place by the Waqf. After that also by the Israeli police who advises against a visit to the Temple Mount to non-Muslims.  
 Digging on the Temple Mount is forbidden. Israel introduced the prohibition to spare 'Muslim sensitivities' after the infamous Tunnnel Riots of 1996, in other words at the same time that the Waqf decided to close off the Mount for supervision by Israeli archaeologists.
In the years before that, after 1967 and Israel's annexation of the Old City, there were regular excavations by Israeli archaeologists in and around the Temple Mount. The aims were without exception scientific. For instance one looked for remains of the time of King Herod, and older periods, for example that of the Hasmonean kings (second and first century BCE).
At the Temple Mount's south wall digging took place to uncover the Arabic Ummayad palaces and Crusader remains. This last area borders on the El Aqsa mosque. The Muslim administration also added some activities of their own, especially around the El Aqsa. Arguments about the excavations occured, the Muslims complained about the danger of collapse and cracks in the walls. The disputes were in general solved peacefully.
But Seligman's outlook on the current situation on the Temple Mount is more bleak. Though he has not completely lost the contact with his Muslim colleagues, they do not discuss the Temple Mount anymore. His latest visit to the Temple Mount was in September 2000, just before the Intifada.
Israel is in a difficult predicament concerning the Temple Mount. After it had conquered Jerusalem's Old City in 1967 and became sovereign over the Temple Mount, it decided not to change the 'Status Quo'. This consists of status about Israel's Holy Places dating from the Ottoman era. Later regimes have respected it, the English Mandate as well as Jordan, that ruled East-Jerusalem and the Old City until 1967.
The Status Quo says that Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, but admittance is free for everyone. Further it decides that the Waqf administrates the Temple Mount and its mosque.
Israel added some rules of its own. Israeli police, in practice often Islamic policemen, together with the Waqf, is responsible for the site's security. Archaelogists of the IAA hold surveillance over the antiquities on the Temple Mount.
In addition, the general laws of Israel and the Municipality of Jerusalem are applicable, among which the Planning and Building Law and criminal law, which respectively consider building without permission and vandalism as punishable. 
Again we try to call the Waqf fa commentary, and other Muslim experts at the Palestinian universities. It is not easy to find someone, several people decline cooperation. The Waqf does not answer the telephone.
On the Internet we find a letter by Adnan Husseini, head of the Waqf, froJuly 2000. The statement is still very interesting. It is a reaction to the American archaeology professor Hershel Shanks, who had written that the Waqf is damaging antiquities on the Temple Mount..
Husseini writes that the Waqf does not violate antiquities. Their activity is the removing of "dirt", that has been examined by Palestinian archaeologists of the University of Al-Quds and the chairman of the Department of Antiquities at the Waqf. "They have examined samples of the excavated dirt and found no structures, artifacts or archaeological remains from any era."
The allegations about destruction finds Husseini "ludicrous." Israel is guilty of the destruction to antiquities. Since the annexation of the Old City in 1967, Israeli authorities have taken numerous unilateral actions that disregard Muslim sensibilities. He mentions the destruction of the Maghrebi quarter from the 12th century that bordered on the Western Wall and made place for the 'Western Wall Plaza", and the use of bulldozers to excavate the Ummayad palaces.
Husseini does not deny that there are rather far-reaching construction activities on the Temple Mount. The reason is that there is little space on the Mount with a view to the thousands of pilgrims that will be able to visit the Temple Mount after the peace has been signed between Israel and the Palestinians.
This sounds a bit far away now, but Husseini wrote this at the pinnacle of the expectations towards a final peace accord, a few months before the Intifada.
Husseini ends his letter with a political admonition. He shoves the allegations about the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount from the table: "[the] unfounded accusations, combined with Israel's track record of heavy-handed unilateralist [sic] in Jerusalem, demonstrates all too clearly why Palestinian negotiators have insisted that Israeli end its occupation of this sacred city."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Israel to Give Certain Ancient Jerusalem Lands to Non-Jewish Owners

The government is planning to cede several sites in ancient Jerusalem to Muslim and Christian ownership, and Israel’s rabbis remain silent, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel has accused.
“There is a terrible plan, called the ‘holy basin,’ to split Jerusalem between Christians, Muslims and Jews,” Rabbi Ariel said, speaking to Arutz Sheva.

Rabbi Ariel, who heads the Temple Institute, continued, “The Christians will get the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Zion, the Muslims will get the Temple Mount, and we Jews will need to visit the Kotel (Western Wall) under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) denies the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, and PA TV has labeled Jewish worship at the holy site “sin and filth.”Even if Jewish worship at the Kotel were to continue freely, the loss of access to the Temple Mount would be highly significant. The Temple Mount is the holiest site on earth according to Judaism, and is the place where the First Temple and Second Temple once stood.

The plan to split Jerusalem’s holy sites between various religions “has existed for some time, and now they’re going to implement it in stages,” Rabbi Ariel warned, adding, “During the Pope’s next visit they plan to transfer the Cenacle on Mount Zion to him, turning it into a pilgrimage site.”

April 2013: Third Jerusalem Temple imminent!

The First and Second temples, also known as Solomon and Herod’s temples were located on a piece of land referred to as the Temple Mount. This is the place where Almighty God chose to let the Divine Presence rest, where God gathered the dust to make Adam and the place where the ‘binding of Isaac’ took place.
Both temples were destroyed on the same day of the month on the Jewish calendar, the 9th day of Av - albeit 656 years apart! Solomon’s Temple was far more impressive aesthetically and housed the Ark of the Covenant and thus the Shekinah or Divine Presence.
It is important to keep in mind then that since 70 AD (that’s a whopping 1943 years by now) there has been no Jewish temple. The closest Jewish people now get is to pray at the Kotel or Western Wall which is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish temple’s courtyard. The Temple Mount proper was liberated from Jordanian control in the Six-Day War of 1967, but then returned by Israel to the custody of the Muslim Waqf (Jordan).
Israel, these days, is a daily feature in world news and it is hard to believe that a mere 70 years ago the State of Israel did not even exist! If someone wrote an article in 1930 stating that Israel will be a state or nation again, it would have been hard to believe. Now in 2013 and 65 years later, there remains an important outstanding matter for the Jewish people: the rebuilding of what would be the Third Temple.