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Jerusalem: Israeli Claims Over Temple Mount Getting Higher Priority in Knesset

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Latest update : 2013-11-06

For many years, a fringe group of ultra-religious Jews have pushed for greater Jewish access to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, one of the world’s most contested religious sites. But now the campaign is moving up the Israeli political agenda.

At one of the world’s most contested religious sites, Max Freidzon puts his finger to his lips, gesturing for silence, before easing into a faint, defiant smile for the camera.

Freidzon, a 46-year-old Russian immigrant in Israel, is surreptitiously challenging the rules at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – or Haram al-Sharif, as it’s known to Muslims.

Under the longstanding rules, non-Muslims can only enter the site, which is home to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque, for a few hours five days a week. Israeli police officials escorting small groups of Jews warn them that they are not permitted to pray as they pass close to the al-Aqsa mosque – no singing, dancing, bowing down, or even moving their lips in prayer here.

But Freidzon, a regular visitor to the site, is pushing the limits. He is silently praying – without moving his lips.

The site is the symbolic heart of the contesting territorial claims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and disturbances in this space revered by Muslims and Jews can have serious implications. In 2000, a controversial visit to the complex by Ariel Sharon, then a candidate for prime minister, helped spark what came to be known as the second Palestinian intifada.

The Temple Mount was captured by the Israeli military in the 1967 war, but returned to the control of the Muslim endowment, or waqf, that has been the site’s guardian for centuries.


Written by voiceoftruthusa

January 6, 2014 at 3:57 am

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