Thursday, February 15, 2007

Some Religious Leaders Are Undauntable

Only immams, it seems. Not Rabbis (*) nor Prime Ministers (**).

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Ra'ad Salah...appeared at the hearing without counsel, by choice.

He refused to recognize the authority of the court and its rulings.

"An Israeli court has no authority to rule on issues connected to Al-Aqsa Mosque," Salah said.

"Thus any decision made by this court over keeping me away from Al-Aqsa is null and void."


Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonna Metzger on Monday visited the site of renovation works near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Right-wing activists congregated near the site and asked Metzger whether he intends on visiting the Temple Mount to which he replied that such action would contravene a rabbinical edict. "The Temple Mount belongs to the Jews, it is forbidden to give in," activists shouted.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that a technical team would inspect the site.

Olmert showed his Turkish counterpart photos of the construction work during their meeting on Thursday, but Erdogan insisted on sending inspectors to ensure no damage was being done to the nearby Al-Aksa mosque.



Rabbi Amar states Chief Rabbinate should discuss construction works near al-Aqsa Mosque. Chief Rabbi takes a stand: "There is no need for unnecessary provocations" in the Temple Mount, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said Thursday, adding he will try to reach an understanding and cooperation with Muslim clerics on the matter.

"The Chief Rabbinate should discuss the issue before construction works on the bridge connecting the Western Wall and the Temple Mount begin. This matter should be examined from the perspective of Jewish law," Amar stated.

The Rabbi added that save for security forces, no Jew should be allowed access to the Temple Mount.

Meanwhile, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said that the works should continue, adding that the movement's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef should be the one to rule on any religious question pertaining to entrance to the Temple Mount.

The Jerusalem police decided Thursday not to approve a Jewish religious event scheduled to take place near the Temple Mount next Sunday, in an attempt to prevent clashes between Jews and Muslim worshippers.



Ra'ed Salah, who was indicted for rioting over Jerusalem works, denounces court's authority, Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem.

"Israel should be put on trial for the Temple Mount works," said Ra'ed Salah, head of the northern faction of the Islamic Movement, on Wednesday, at the beginning of his trial.

Before the hearing began, Salah said that Israel occupied al-Aqsa in 1967. "Israel is not sovereign over the mosque and is not given legitimacy by the occupation," he said. "As this court is a component of the Israeli establishment occupying the al-Aqsa, any decision made by it regarding my case is invalid. This court does not have the authority to bar me from al-Aqsa."

"The indictment against me and the restraining order are all about Israel destructing the al-Aqsa mosque. Israel is challenging the whole Muslim and Arab world. The State of Israel should be standing on trial today for devastating one of the holiest places for the Muslims, the asl-Aqsa mosque," Salah said.

"This is a political case serving a political agenda for Israel, which is trying to establish a new reality in al-Aqsa. I will prove that their case is not based on facts," he concluded.

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