A new mosque on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site

Photo of the Gate of Mercy structure from Facebook pages of Muslim worshipers - June 2, 2019

The new mosque has been inaugurated on the Temple Mount, despite a court order that the status quo be upheld on the holy site. The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site. This obsession with destroying Judaism is evil. 57 Muslim countries, Mecca, et al is not enough.

A NEW MOSQUE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT?

“WHEN A STRUCTURE TURNS INTO A MOSQUE, IT MEANS THAT THEY TOOK OVER THE PLACE,” REGAVIM SPOKESMAN AVRAHAM BINYAMIN TOLD THE POST.

Jewish activists are claiming that a new mosque has been inaugurated on the Temple Mount, despite a court order that the status quo be upheld on the holy site.

According to the far-right Regavim organization, the Jerusalem Wakf Islamic religious trust has initiated a mosque at the Temple Mount’s Gate of Mercy. The organization petitioned the High Court of Justice on the eve of Jerusalem Day for a temporary injunction that would close the structure and restore the status quo at the site.The Wakf “has taken steps to permanently turn a historic structure at the Temple Mount’s Mercy Gate into a mosque, carrying out construction work that has irreparably damaged the ancient building,” Regavim said in a statement.

The organization noted the installation of ceiling fans, lighting, furniture and room dividers inside a 1,400-year-old structure located at the site. These permanent changes, according to Regavim, have harmed the ancient structure and were done without any oversight from the Israel Antiquities Authority, as required by law.

Shlomo Vile, who went up to pray on the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day, confirmed Regavim’s description. He told The Jerusalem Post that from what he saw, it is “clear there is activity by the Gate of Mercy. Muslims were milling around and there were prayer rugs scattered about.”

A Wakf official told the Post that the site was reopened during Ramadan as hundreds of thousands of worshippers converged on the al-Aqsa compound for Friday prayers. He said that in accordance with understandings reached between Israel and the Jordanian-controlled Wakf authorities, the site will be closed again in the near future for “renovations.”

But Regavim is arguing this cannot be trusted. In 1967, there was one mosque on the Temple Mount. Today, counting the new one, there are five.

“When a structure turns into a mosque, it means that they took over the place,” Regavim Spokesman Avraham Binyamin told the Post. “Once they use it for prayer, then no one else can use it – not Jews, not Christians.”

This week’s petition is not Regavim’s first one to the High Court against Muslim use of the site. In March, the organization submitted a similar petition. Justice Meni Mazuz accepted the petition and allowed the government and the Wakf 90 days to respond, which the organization said allowed the Wakf time to transform the compound. Though Regavim requested the time for response be reduced, the court would not approve the request.

Soon before, the defense establishment identified radical Islamist activity at the site, and the government requested a court order to shut down the site, which was issued by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. The Wakf ignored the court order and continued its construction project.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at the end of February that “Israel has not given its consent to opening the mosque on the Temple Mount.” A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office at the time declared that Netanyahu had given instructions “to enforce the court order without compromise and to ensure that the site remains closed.”

However, no overt action was taken.

Until now, the Gate of Mercy had been closed by a court order since 2003, when the court determined that radical Muslim activity was taking place in the area. Before that, the structure had been used as a storage room.

EARLIER THIS YEAR, a series of riots erupted on the Temple Mount and thousands of Palestinians stormed the gate, which led to the arrest of two senior Wakf officials, including a prominent sheikh. In response, Muslims took over the ancient structure and began the process of turning it into a mosque, threatening increased violence if Israel shut it down.

Jews believe the site – venerated as holy in Judaism, Christianity and Islam alike – is where the First and Second Temples used to stand.

At the time of the Muslim takeover, a group of Israeli activists countered their claim by calling on the government to establish a synagogue on the Temple Mount and open it for Jewish prayer, instead.

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