Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Israel considers officially allowing Jews to pray inside Al-Aqsa Mosque

By Yehudit Tzfat - October 21, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jerusalem] [al-Aqsa]

In a clear attempt to defy the status quo of Al-Aqsa compound, Israel announced the state is considering allowing Jews to pray inside the mosque. 

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced last week that Israel could soon let Jews perform prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque

“I am sure this will happen soon, God willing,” Erdan said. 

He emphasised that “the situation in Jerusalem is heading towards regaining sovereignty and control over the place. We will reach our goal when more Jews express their desire to visit the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque]. Then there will be increasing pressure, following an increasing demand.”

“When we reach this stage, we will work and push for changing the historical status quo in Jerusalem in light of respecting the international interests for Israel,” Erdan added.

On how soon this action could happen, Erdan said. “I cannot predict when because this is not related only to my power, but I expect this will happen in the coming few years, not more than a decade.”

Erdan asserted that no laws exist preventing this motion from occurring, especially if the Israeli Supreme Court decides to back it.

In response, Islamic leaders in Jerusalem said Erdan’s remarks could further exacerbate tensions in the area and provoke a religious war. 

The Islamic Awqaf Council, the Higher Islamic Commission, the Palestinian Iftaa Department and the Jerusalem Awqaf Department stated: 

“These irresponsible statements could drag the region and the whole world into an inevitable religious conflict that we do not want. Any prejudice to the beliefs and sanctities will inevitably violate the rights of peoples and nations, which will bring only destruction and devastation.”

After the Six-Day War in 1967, the Israeli parliament passed the Preservation of the Holy Places Law, permitting various religious groups access to their respective holy sites. This legislation gave the Islamic Waqf control over Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, whereas Israel’s Chief Rabbinate denied Jews access to the Temple Mount. 

Yet in recent years, Jewish settlers have increasingly stormed Al-Aqsa compound, specifically during Jewish holidays. This week — amid the Jewish festival of Sukkot  — hundreds of Jewish extremists swarmed Al-Aqsa compound.

"Around 515 of extremist settlers backed by Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa compound since early morning," the Religious Endowments Authority, a Jordan-run organisation responsible for managing Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian sites, said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement also noted that more than 900 settlers stormed the compound on Wednesday.

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