An eminent Israeli archaeologist was nearly ejected from the holiest site in Judaism, located in Jerusalem, for calling it by its real name - the Temple Mount.
Gabriel Barkay was explaining the archaeological history of the site to a multi-faith group of UCLA students on Sunday when two guards of the Wakf, the Islamic authority that oversees the site they call Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, who had been shadowing the group, brought him to Israel Police officers there to complain, The Times of Israel reported.
The Israeli news website's reporter, who was accompanying the students, witnessed the incident.
The police told the guards that they had no legal reason to eject Barkay, but also advised the Jerusalem Prize winner who discovered the 7th century B.C.E. silver amulets containing the biblical prayer said by priests to the congregation since Temple times, to stop using the term during the tour, according to The Times of Israel. He referred to the site as TM for the rest of the tour to avoid confrontation.
Tour guides told the reporter that they had been reprimanded by Wakf guards in the past for using the term Temple Mount.
The Wakf does not allow Jewish visitors to pray, bow or move their lips as if in prayer on the Temple Mount. Israeli police uphold these humiliating restrictions in order to keep the peace.
Late last year, committees of the United Nations passed resolutions that referred to the site only by its Muslim name, denying, despite archaeological, historical and biblical proofs of the Jewish connection to the site of the First and Second Temples, the site of thousands of years of yearning by Jews who mention it daily in their prayers and pray in the direction of the Temple Mount. Muslims pray towards Mecca and the Temple Mount does not appear in the Koran.