Daily Israel Report

Israeli Sheikh: Temple Mount is Entirely Islamic

Responding to a plan to build a synagogue on Judaism's most sacred site, Sheikh Raad Salah warns that the entire complex is Moslem. Islam was founded 550 years after the Jewish Temple was destroyed.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/6/2006, 9:48 AM / Last Update: 11/6/2006, 11:24 AM

Sheikh Raad Salah - head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a Hamas supporter, and an outspoken enemy of Israel - warns that Israeli plans to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount could lead to violence and bloodshed. "The day will never come when a Moslem or an Arab will have the right to cede even one foot of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or of Jerusalem," the Sheikh's Al-Aqsa movement announced.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples, the first of which was built by King Solomon in the year 832 BCE, close to 1,500 years before Islam was founded. For most of the next 1,000 years, Holy Temples stood on the site, until the Romans conquered the entire land and destroyed the Second Temple. Though the area came under the control of the Romans, Byzantines, Moslems, Christians, Turks, British and others over the coming centuries, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were always the focus of Jewish religious and national yearnings and continued to be the Jews' "capital in exile." In the Six Day War of 1967, the modern state of Israel liberated the Temple Mount area, placing all of Jerusalem under Jewish control once again after a hiatus of 1,900 years.

Israel, however, never actualized its sovereignty over the holy Temple Mount site, but rather granted the Moslem Waqf nearly total control. Jews, in fact, have not been allowed to pray there ever since then-Chief IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren led a prayer service there on the first Tisha B'Av after the liberation.

As Arutz-7 reported nearly two months ago, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is preparing a plan for the construction of a synagogue on the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The plan must be approved by the Jerusalem municipality's planning committee - an unlikely eventuality - and Ariel is set to meet with rabbis and public figures on the issue later this week.

MK Ariel notes that such a building would "rectify a historic injustice," and that every Supreme Court ruling on the issue has recognized the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount.

"The synagogue will not interfere with believing Moslems who wish to pray at the Al-Aksa Mosque," Ariel said. "On the contrary, this is an opportunity for the Moslem world to demonstrate and prove that it is tolerant enough."

The "Moslem world" is not jumping at said opportunity. The announcement by Sheikh Salah's organization states, "We hereby warn aloud about the existence of a Jewish national consensus that is trying to build the Holy Temple at the expense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We warn that similar plans were submitted to Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak and their publication led to violence, the ramifications of which have not ended to this day."

"The timing of the publication [of this plan] is not coincidental," the Islamic Movement states, "and it jibes with the increased calls for expulsion [of Arabs], the implementation of the policy of religious persecution and national discrimination, and the giving of a green light to the construction of the Third Temple."

"We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque, including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it."

"We remind the Israeli establishment, which stands behind these plans, that the problem of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian problem, but a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic problem. The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque is harmed, Heaven forbid, all the Arab and Islamic nations will call to prevent this damage. Watch out! Beware of merely the thought of hurting or desecrating the mosque."