The Religious Services Ministry is working on ways to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, ministry Director-General Elhanan Glatt said Wednesday.
That was at the Knesset Interior Committee today which held a special meeting on prayer at the Temple Mount, in honor of Jerusalem Day (the Committee's official press release in Hebrew is here).
Glatt told the committee his office will examine ways to arrange Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
"It cannot be that in the State of Israel Jews need to stand aside. The Temple Mount should be a place where people of any religion can pray," committee chairwoman Miri Regev said.
According to Regev, the Temple Mount is a mainstream issue in the heart of the Jewish People which prayed to return to Jerusalem for thousands of years.
At the beginning of the meeting, MK Jamal Zahalke (Balad) and other Arab MKs protested that the screening a short film of paratroopers liberating the Temple Mount and Western Wall from the Jordanians was offensive, and demanded it be stopped.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu)...said the main issue is sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
"The Waqf's problem isn't prayer, but the sovereign symbolism of prayer," Feiglin explained. "As far as they are concerned, [Jewish prayer] eats away at the total Muslim rule over the Temple Mount."
According to MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), every person of any religion has the right to pray in the places he or she considers holy. Zandberg said she agrees with Feiglin that this is an issue of sovereignty, adding that Jews will only be able to pray in the places holy to them after the occupation ends and Jerusalem is divided.
MK Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL-Ta'al) asked why Jews cannot pray somewhere other than at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
"Jews in Israel need to understand that one day Jerusalem will return to Palestinians and Muslims. The solution is to maintain the status quo," Sarsour added.
..."It is a basic right of every Israeli citizen to go up to the Temple Mount," Regev said, concluding the meeting. "The State of Israel must protect this right. Freedom of religion and worship are anchored in our basic laws, and as a sovereign state, we must protect them." Regev added that her committee will follow the Religious Services Ministry's efforts to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.
...a top official of an Islamic organization that funds and manages prayer services on the Mount [said] that the Muslims would give up their control of the Mount – when the Messiah comes.
Rian Kamal, the head of the Alaqsa Fund, which raises money for services, facilities, and other projects for Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount, spoke at the Knesset hearing on demands by Jewish groups that Jews be allowed to ascend the Mount and pray openly. Currently, Jews are allowed to visit the Mount, but are forbidden from praying. The law is enforced by Israeli police, with Jews often shadowed by a member of the Waqf, who closely watches the Jewish visitor to ensure that his or her lips are not moving in prayer. According to Kamal, 90% of rabbis are opposed to Jews' ascending the Mount altogether. “I have a good solution,” he told MKs. “According to the Jewish religion, the Holy Temple is to descend from Heaven when the Messiah comes. Let us allow the place to remain Muslim until that time, and afterwards we will surrender our prayer rights in the area.”...According to the Foreign Ministry, any change in the status quo on the Mount would likely cause an international incident that would put Israel in a very poor light. Speaking at the session, Freida Yuval, deputy head of the Jordan desk in the Foreign Ministry, said that allowing Jews free worship on the Mount would “awaken the entire world,” and bring about another intifada,
President Peres delivered a special message to Jordan
In light of the recent events on the Temple Mount and the meeting of the
Jordanian parliament which voted to expel the Israeli ambassador from Jordan
and recall the Jordanian ambassador from Israel, President Simon Peres,
today (Wednesday, 8 May 2013), sent a message to the leadership of Jordan.
At a speech at the state ceremony to mark the unification of Jerusalem and
in memory of the soldiers who fell in the battle for the city, President
Peres stressed Israel's commitment to the agreements between the two
countries, "Jerusalem is dear to us. Peace with Jordan is dear to us. I want
to say loudly and clearly that we respect all the holy sites of all
religions and will do everything necessary to protect them as agreed between
us. The peace agreement between us was the aspiration of the soldiers who
fought here. The peace that was agreed between us is the dream of all Jews,
Muslims and Christians as one. The whole world knows that when we heard
voices of peace from Jordan and Egypt we did not delay, we did not hesitate
and we stretched out our hand in peace."
President Peres continued and addressed the importance of peace and of
Jerusalem for all three monotheistic religions, "Jerusalem has mosques and
churches, Israel protects and will protect them all. Israel will protect all
of Jerusalem, old and new, friends and strangers. Israel will protect their
freedom and security. You can hear the same prayer from the Western Wall,
from the mosques and from the churches for peace in our ancient, holy city.
Peace between countries. Peace between religions. Peace between nations. Our
ears are open to peace. We know that our army can protect us from any threat
and no threat will weaken our desire for peace."