Jul 01 2015
By Daoud Kuttab
The status of Islam’s third-holiest site, Al-Aqsa Mosque, has been the subject of many academic and research efforts, most of them with an ideological bias. Israeli Jews consider the site of utmost importance to them and most research associated with Israel reflects this view. Some right-wing Israelis often try to stir up other Jews about access to the compound that houses the mosque, emphasizing that the Jews who won the 1967 war still “don’t have unfettered access,” including the right to pray at the mosque.
The highly sensitive issue of Al-Aqsa compound was addressed by the International Crisis Group (ICG) in Brussels with an unprecedented in-depth study. To avoid any linguistic bias, the nongovernmental organization referred to the compound — known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount — as the “Esplanade.”
When Israel occupied Jerusalem in June 1967, the issue of Jews entering the Esplanade area was indefinitely postponed as a result of a convenient ruling by the Chief Rabbinate on June 10, the last day of the Six-Day War. It ruled that because the location is holy to Jews, no religious Jew is allowed to set foot on any of the area that is referred to as the Temple Mount by Jews in order not to defile it. The statement said: “In view of the fact that the holiness of the area never ceases, it is forbidden to ascend the Temple Mount until the Temple is built.” Continue Reading »