Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Is That Discovery at the Temple Mount

Claimed as the "ancient Mughrabi Gate"-

A bit of sense:

Barclay's Gate lies under the Moroccans' Gate and is one of the Temple Mount's original gates. It is named after James Thomas Barclay who was a Christian missionary in Jerusalem in the mid-19th century. He discovered it from its inner side, within the Temple Mount, in 1852...The gate was blocked with stones at the end of the 10th century and the gate room on the internal side was devoted to Buraq. Today the room is closed and entrance to it is prohibited without the approval of the Waqf. [If you turn immediately to your left when entering, you can see the steps that lead down inside an Islamic structure++] After the Six-Day War, the Israel Religious Affairs Ministry and the dig conducted below the southern wall of the Temple Mount by Prof. Binyamin Mazar, planned to uncover this gate but they were prevented from doing so by both Jewish and Muslim religious leaders.*
and more:

Over the years, the external façade of the Barclay Gate was covered and the ground outside that Temple Mount was raised many meters above the lintel of the gate. At some stage, probably in the 12th century C.E. (and maybe even later), a new gate called Bab al-Magriba was installed in the Western Wall above the level of the Barclay Gate. This is the Mughrabi Gate, named after the residents of the adjacent neighborhood, who had come to Jerusalem from Morocco in the days of Saladin. This gate is open to this day and is the only entrance to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims.

Beginning in the 19th century, European and American researchers began to investigate the Temple Mount and its environs. Those investigations uncovered, in addition to the Barclay Gate, the remains of Robinson’s Arch and Wilson’s Arch, named for the researchers who first discovered them. Other well-known researchers, like the British Kathleen Kenyon, conducted excavations in areas adjacent to the Temple Mount.


The steps leading down (now sealed off)

and from the outside:

By my reckoning, what the Muslim above is pointing out would be later construction.

But if archaeologists can study it, we'll better know.


Additional background:

On August 15, 1967, the first Tisha B'Av after the Six-Day War, the chief military chaplain, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, and members of the Chief Rabbinate went through the Mugrabi Gate to the Temple Mount plaza. They took with them a shofar (a ram's horn), an ark, and a portable platform from which to read the Torah, and held a Minha afternoon prayer service. Three days later, on the Sabbath (Shabbat nahamu), Goren planned to bring thousands of Jewish worshippers to the Temple Mount plaza and thereby establish a precedent. His plans and deeds completely contradicted the status quo then-defense minister, Moshe Dayan...The deep tension of those days led to the parallel establishment of another status quo arrangement at the Mugrabi Gate...The only gate to the Temple Mount for which Israel holds the key is the Mugrabi Gate...In response to Rabbi Goren's actions, the members of the Waqf (Muslim Religious Trust) took independent action. They locked the Mugrabi Gate and did not permit members of the military chaplaincy to use it. This was the first time the public heard that the military chaplaincy had an office in the Dar Abu Saud building next to the gate. When this fact became common knowledge, Dayan ordered the military chaplaincy be evicted from there immediately, and a military police unit was stationed at the site instead.
Nevertheless, this did not end the dispute over the gate. At the end of August 1967, the cabinet held a discussion about arrangements for visits to the Temple Mount. The Waqf charged every Jew or tourist who wanted to visit the Temple Mount a fee, while Arabs could enter without paying. Menachem Begin protested this fact and the cabinet ministers agreed with his view. Obliging Jews to pay, it was decided, was contrary to the principle of free access to the site and, therefore, Israel would henceforth hold this gate and take control of it...The council made it clear that it would not hand over the key.  A few days later, Dayan spoke to the chief brass of the Israel Defense Forces and announced that the demand to allow Jews free access to the Temple Mount had been accepted. That very same day, Dayan and the GOC Central Command, Uzi Narkis, visited the Mugrabi Gate. David Farhi, who was Narkis' Arab affairs adviser, took the keys from Tahboub, and the military police were stationed at the entrance to the gate.


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