Israel Complacent - Muslims Seek to Strengthen Hold on Mount

Israel is not expressing objections to the construction of a fifth Temple Mount minaret, in line with Jordanian plans.

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Yechiel Spira, | updated: 07:54

Jordan?s King Abdullah II announced plans this week to construct a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, a move that would further increase the Islamic occupation of the site, the holiest site to the Jewish People. Ironically, shortly following the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War, the Israeli government decided to return the keys to the Mount to the Islamic Waqf Authority, under Jordanian control, permitting the continued occupation of the holy site until today.

While tenacious yearning to visit the Mount by Jews has resulted in a modicum of government acquiescence, religious Jews are often barred from the holy site, as are members of other religions, compelled to bide by the standards set by the Islamic occupiers. Jews who adhere to the strict religious requirements demanded of visitors to the site cannot visit at will, and while there are generally visitation times during which Jews and other non-Muslims may ascend the Mount, the Waqf will not ?tolerate? Jews praying on the site. They are backed by Israel Police who are quick to enforce the prayer ban, generally arresting those bold enough to defy it.

The latest Jordanian construction process will begin early in 2007. The plans call for a 42-meter-high tower in the area near the Golden Gate, near the eastern wall of the Mount.

Jordanian official Dr. Raief Najim, a senior personality involved in the project, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying that to date, he has not detected any Israeli objections to the project. He said he has already toured the proposed building site, accompanied by a senior Jerusalem district police official, a national government representative, and an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) official - signaling passive approval by the various governmental agencies.

Jordanian authorities have already announced a building tender for the project, which carries a NIS 2.5 million price tag.

While Israel continues to claim control of the Temple Mount, in reality, the day-to-day running of the site is under Waqf control, with Israel complying with Waqf dictates regarding the goings-on on the site. When Waqf requests are not honored by the Israeli government, threats of violence have on many occasions accomplished the Waqf?s goals.

The Temple Mount was the home of the First and Second Temples, and will house the Third Temple in the future. It remains the holiest site to the Jewish nation, far more sanctified than the Kotel (Western Wall), which is merely a retaining wall of the Mount.