Home > Anything Else, Radical Islam > Jewish Prayer On Temple Mount ‘A Flashpoint Inside Israel And An Inflammatory Issue For Local Muslims And The Entire Islamic World’

Jewish Prayer On Temple Mount ‘A Flashpoint Inside Israel And An Inflammatory Issue For Local Muslims And The Entire Islamic World’


By Matti Friedman, The Times of Israel – “On Tuesday, the struggle of Jewish women fighting to worship with prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem received renewed attention when protesters at the holy site were joined by several new members of Knesset, spotlighting Israel’s ongoing policy of imposing Orthodox practice on all worshipers at the wall.

But in the coming years a different battle over Jewish prayer, one unfolding a few paces away, is likely to be of more significance — a growing debate over whether Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount itself.

The desire to pray on the Mount, also the site of Islam’s third-holiest shrine, has found more acceptance among mainstream rabbis in Israel over the past decade, spreading gradually from a tiny fringe to a broader religious public. The numbers of Jews actually visiting the Mount for religious reasons is still tiny — no more than several thousand a year, according to police estimates — but inching upward, and the sacred enclosure is slowly gaining in importance as an issue of religious and political meaning for religious Zionists, a group with outsize ideological and political clout in Israeli society.

That could make it a flashpoint inside Israel and an inflammatory issue for local Muslims and the entire Islamic world.

If the issue comes to the fore, it will be in part thanks to the activities of Moshe Feiglin, once a figure from the margins of the Israeli right and now a member of Knesset from the ruling party, Likud. On the way to his swearing-in ceremony at parliament last month, Feiglin went to the Temple Mount, where he had been detained by police in January for violating the prohibition on Jewish prayer. Early this month he was there again, freshly armed with parliamentary immunity, striding around the sacred enclosure with the purposeful air of a landlord and causing a stir when he tried to go into the Dome of the Rock, where entry is limited solely to Muslims. He has promised to be back.

Few places on earth are as potentially explosive as the Temple Mount. The shrine has been especially tense in recent weeks, with protests erupting twice after communal Friday prayers. Riots on the Mount have tended to involve protesters throwing rocks and chairs, but last week, for the first time in memory, a Palestinian threw a Molotov cocktail, pitching it from inside the al-Aqsa mosque and setting a policeman’s leg on fire. The officer was lightly wounded.

Muslims believe the Mount is where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in a mystical night journey recounted in the Koran, and call it the Noble Sanctuary.” Read more.

  1. 03/14/2013 at 1:52 PM

    I imagine Israel has come to realize that there is nothing that they or we can do to prevent some militant Muslim backlash. Maybe they could share it, Jews always get it on Saturdays and Muslims on Friday. I wonder if someone over there in conflict resolution over there has already suggested it. Of course, it would most likely be rejected.

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