Orlev: Publish Comptroller’s Report on Waqf
According to MK Zevulun Orlev (The Jewish Home), the contents of a recent report by the State Comptroller which outlines the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount by the Waqf should be made public.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva’s daily Hebrew journal on Monday, Orlev responded to comments made last week by MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima), who heads an internal Knesset committee whose task is to decide if and what to publish of the State Comptroller’s report. The report was written approximately six months ago, but until now it has not yet been determined which sections of it, if at all, would be made public.
Schneller told Arutz Sheva last week that most of the shortcomings regarding Israel’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the Waqf’s excavations on the Temple Mount have been corrected. As such, Schneller said that he believes that most of the report should not be published as such a publication could damage Israel's international standing.
However, Orlev, who was one of the members of the same committee and who has read the entire contents of the report, disagrees with Schneller and said that he believes that there is no reason to hide any of the report’s findings.
“This report is of outmost importance,” said Orlev. “It touches upon the most holy place for us. It's a hard report. Although the committee has not yet decided what part of it will be published, the facts are known to the public. The Waqf makes every effort to undermine the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.”
Evidence has surfaced that the Waqf has taken control of the Temple Mount over the past ten years, conducting illegal digs and building mosques in the area.
In fact, Dr. Gabi Barkai, senior lecturer at Bar Ilan University and recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for Archaeology, recently told Arutz Sheva that “Some years ago they took 400 truckloads of dirt from the Temple Mount and dumped it into the Kidron Valley – totally illegally. This is dirt that is filled with Jewish history from many periods: the Canaanites, the First Temple, the period of the return to Zion [from Babylonia], the Second Temple, including the Hashmonaim period and King Herod, and up to now.”
Barkai also said that the Muslims clearly have the goal of detaching Israel from its past and Holy Temple connections: “They wish to undermine Jewish ownership and bonds to the Temple Mount. They've built a giant mosque there in Solomon's Stables [under the Temple Mount] and another one nearby – but aside from that, they have an ideological goal which is even making inroads to naïve circles in the west, and it is called 'Holy Temple denial.' They act as if there never was a Holy Temple. This is very very grave.”
Jewish residents in the area have confirmed Barkai’s statements and have reported that Waqf works are taking place 'under cover'. They said that despite attempts by the Waqf to conceal the work, it is not hard to see what is happening on the Temple Mount.
“I thought that we should reveal as much as possible of what is happening on the Temple Mount,” said Orlev, who reiterated his position that the only passages in the report that should not be made public are those which relate to the measures taken by the police and the state to prevent the continued destruction by the Waqf. “The State Comptroller has also mentioned the importance of the report. It would be appropriate for the whole world to be made aware of the level of vulnerability on the Temple Mount.”
Regarding the question of the possible risk to Israel's status in the world following the publication of the various parts of the report, Orlev said that he believes that the exact opposite would happen and that making the report public would strengthen Israel's status, as it would reveal “the criminal acts of the Waqf on the Temple Mount. It will not hurt but rather help us. Archaeology is a global science and everyone knows that there are certain things which should not be touched. We could use this report as leverage in our favor.”