Arabs are fighting plans for an elevator to allow disabled Jews to reach the Kosel, claiming the project is a threat to the Al Aqsa mosque on the Har Habayis. The 56-meter elevator would be located in the Jewish Quarter next to the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, according to the media watchdog Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA).
The Al Aqsa Foundation, however, claimed Monday the $10 million structure is to be located adjacent to the Al Aqsa mosque on the Har Habyis, and is whipping up a frenzied protest against the project.
The location of the elevator, to be named after Baruch Klein, the American businessman funding the project – and the yeshiva – is actually far from the mosque, on the other side of the Kosel plaza. But the project is being seen by the Al Aqsa Foundation as a threat to the Al Aqsa Mosque, according to the Palestinian Authority-linked Ma’an news agency.
The Al Aqsa Foundation also claimed in a statement that the area in front of the wall could be used as a base from which to attack the mosque compound. Moreover, it said the project was intended to prevent Muslim worshipers from reaching the mosque, while increasing the presence of Jews in the area.
Previous Arab and Muslim incitement over building projects in the Jewish quarter of the Old City has led to riots and attacks on Jewish civilians. In June 2007 the construction of a pedestrian pathway near the Kosel was met with Arab riots in Yerushalayim and terrorist rocket attacks from Gaza, in September 2009 several people were wounded in a Muslim riot that began when a group of Jews attempted to tour the Har Habyis, and in early 2010 riots broke out across Yerushalayim over the restoration of the Churvah shul in the Jewish quarter.
Read more at Arutz Shevah.