Tuesday, February 19, 2019

From A Locked Gate to a Synagogue at the Temple Mount

Yesterday's events are reverberating.

After a Muslim pray-in at the Golden Gate along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount compound, towards the north, last Thursday, the police locked the entrance gate at the top of the stairs.

Yesterday, Muslims tried to break in and there was pushing and shoving.  Here's extract from Wafa's account:

Israeli police broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City this afternoon after closing all gates leading to it and arrested individuals inside the compound after people removed chains and gates the police had earlier placed at the Golden Gate building in the compound.to prevent its use, according to witnesses.

They said a number of Palestinians removed the metal gates and chains the police had on Sunday placed at the stairs leading to the building adjacent to the closed Golden Gate, also known as Bab al-Rahmeh, considered a property of Al-Aqsa Mosque, following calls for holding the Muslim prayers at the building in defiance of the Israeli police decision.

Immediately after this, police closed all gates leading to the Muslim holy compound as its forces carried out arrests among those present inside it while forcing the Muslim worshippers to leave it.

There's a video clip here.

Here's the reaction of Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian presidency strongly condemned the Israeli closure of the Golden Gate (Bab al-Rahmeh) with locks and chains, warning against Israeli plans aimed at imposing the temporal and spatial division of the mosque.

He is demanding that Israel preserve "the mosque’s status quo of 1967".

The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the Israeli police closure of al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem and the assaults on worshipers.

The ministry's official spokesman, Sufian al-Qudah, demanded that Israel, as the occupying power, "act in accordance with international law and immediately reopen the gates, respect the sanctity of the holy place, not hamper the entry of worshipers, withdraw security forces at the holy compound and respect the feelings of Muslims," according to Jordan news agency, Petra.

The spokesperson slammed the Israeli measures at al-Aqsa as "a flagrant violation of the historical and legal status quo and Israel's obligations under the international law and the international humanitarian law, as the occupying power, and held it fully responsible for the safety of the mosque."

(UPDATE: On the Jordan/PA coordination now)

Here is the Golden Gate or Mercy Gate (Sha'ar HaRachamim) in green

Another Wafa report raises a suspicion:

Officials have expressed concern that Israel may allow Jews to hold prayers in the Golden Gate area and possibly build a Jewish temple there after separating it from the rest of Al-Aqsa compound.

It would be a wonderful site for a synagogue.  In fact, it is a two-halled structure that would easily divide, and equally so, for a men's and women's section each. It is also located way below the level of most of the Temple Mount esplanade as can be seen in the first picture above.

The blue area I marked in the photo above is where this structure is:

Seems to be a storeroom. Not a religious building.

That would fine for a temporary synagogue. It's quite near the Children of Israel Gate, off on the side, would not interfere with Muslims.

Five years ago, I suggested a site right next to the Hallel Gate (formerly Mughrabi Gate).

The Waqf has added at least two new mosques since 1967 (and are working on a third) so actually, there is no status quo regarding buildings and construction.  A small synagogue, quite unobtrusive, is feasible and would fulfill the terms of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty's Article 9:

Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance...The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

For My House is a house of prayer for all peoples (Isaiah 56:7).

And that should include Jews.

P.S.  For a Hebrew-language background, see here.


UPDATE: Israel seems to have capitulated.  

Gate removed altogether.


Another report.


Anonymous said...

Establishing a synagogue on Har Habayit is not a bad idea, provided you Orthodox folks be willing for non-Orthodox Jews to use it in separate hours and not hog the structure for yourselves.

YMedad said...

We Orthodox Jews do not engage with hogs or hogging.
Nisht kasher.
But I would suggest the non-Orthodox or egalitarian minyan at the Kotel prove itself a bit more relevant. I understand its a bit shvach there.

Anonymous said...

I am not referring only to Reform and Conservative Jews and factually, we have seen from the Mount's western retaining wall's example how Orthodox Jews do have a proclivity for unfairly taking over a site that belongs to all Jews, turning it into an Orthodox synagogue. So I am not one over whose eyes you will be able to pull the wool.
Incidentally, I could not understand your last sentence as I am not conversant in your (plural) unique language (Jewish-German?). Ashkenazim: not every non-Ashkenazi has a grasp of your (plural) language.

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