Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter said this week, “The idea that what was done in Saudi Arabia, where two cities holy to Islam, Mecca and Medina, are sites where only Muslims have the right to enter, will be done on the Har Habayis, is a distorted idea that we will not let happen. We will respect the sanctity of al-Aksa Mosque in Yerushalayim and will stand up for our rights on the Har Habayis.”
Non-Muslims are not allowed into al-Aksa’s prayer hall, while they are permitted on the Har Habayis.
Dichter was responding to comments made by Jordan’s Minister of Wakf and Islamic Affairs Wael Arabiyat denouncing a visit by a group of Jews to the Har Habayis on Tisha B’Av. Arabiyat had accused Jews of “breaking into al-Aksa mosque,” “storming” the shrine, and performing “Talmudic rituals” in the mosque.
Dichter said that there is an attempt underway to conflate the Aksa Mosque with the entire Har Habayis compound. “Recently there has been a growing tendency calling for the ‘defense’ of al-Aksa. This defense has grown a great deal, and from the mosque on the southern part of the Har Habayis they are now talking about the whole area of the Har Habayis. Israel will not let this happen.”
David Steger – Matzav.com Israel News Bureau