Last modified on 29 July 2014, at 07:17

Temple Mount

Temple Mount
הַר הַבַּיִת, Har haBáyith
الحرم الشريف, al-Haram ash-Sharīf,
Israel-2013(2)-Aerial-Jerusalem-Temple Mount-Temple Mount (south exposure).jpg
Aerial southern view of the Temple Mount
Elevation 740 m (2,428 ft)
Location
Temple Mount is located in Jerusalem
Temple Mount
Temple Mount
Jerusalem
Range Judean
Coordinates 31°46′40.7″N 35°14′8.9″E / 31.777972°N 35.235806°E / 31.777972; 35.235806Coordinates: 31°46′40.7″N 35°14′8.9″E / 31.777972°N 35.235806°E / 31.777972; 35.235806
Geology
Type Limestone[1]

The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as Har haBáyit (Hebrew: הַר הַבַּיִת) or as Har haMoria (Hebrew: הַר הַמוריה) and in Arabic as the Haram al-Sharif (Arabic: الحرم القدسي الشريف‎, al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf, Noble Sanctuary), is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years. At least four religions are known to have used the Temple Mount: Judaism, Christianity, Roman religion, and Islam. The present site is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain. Walls dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount.

Biblical scholars have often identified it with two biblical mountains of uncertain location: Mount Moriah where the story of the binding of Isaac is set, and Mount Zion where the original Jebusite fortress stood; however, both interpretations are disputed.

Judaism regards the Temple Mount as the place where God chose the divine presence to rest (Isa 8:18); according to the rabbinic sages whose debates produced the Talmud, it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first man, Adam. The site is the location of Abraham's binding of Isaac. According to the Bible, two Jewish Temples stood at the Temple Mount, though there is no proof for the first temple.[2] According to the Bible the site should function as the center of all national life—a governmental, judicial and, of course, religious center (Deut 12:5-26; 14:23-25; 15:20; 16:2-16; 17:8-10; 26: 2; 31: 11; Isa 2: 2-5; Oba 1:21; Psa 48). During the Second Temple period it functioned also as an economic center. From that location the word of God will come out to all nations, and that is the site where all prayers are focused. According to Jewish tradition and scripture (2 Chronicles 3:1-2), the first temple was built by King Solomon the son of King David in 957 BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE and destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Afterwards the site remained undeveloped for six centuries, until the Arab conquest.[3] Jewish tradition maintains it is here the Third and final Temple will also be built. The location is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place Jews turn towards during prayer. Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood, since according to Rabbinical law, some aspect of the divine presence is still present at the site.[4] It was from the Holy of Holies that the High Priest communicated directly with God.

Among Sunni Muslims, the Mount is widely considered the third holiest site in Islam. Revered as the Noble Sanctuary (Bayt al-Maqdes or Bayt al-Muqaddas) and the location of Muhammad's journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, the site is also associated with Jewish biblical prophets who are also venerated in Islam.[citation needed] After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 637 CE, Umayyad Caliphs commissioned the construction of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock on the site.[5] The Dome was completed in 692 CE, making it one of the oldest extant Islamic structures in the world, after the Kaabah. The Al Aqsa Mosque rests on the far southern side of the Mount, facing Mecca. The Dome of the Rock currently sits in the middle, occupying or close to the area where the Bible mandates the Holy Temple be rebuilt.[6]

In light of the dual claims of both Judaism and Islam, it is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. Since the Crusades, the Muslim community of Jerusalem has managed the site as a Waqf, without interruption.[7] As the site is part of the Old City, controlled by Israel since 1967, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim sovereignty over it, and it remains a major focal point of the Arab–Israeli conflict.[8] In an attempt to keep the status quo, the Israeli government enforces a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslim visitors.

Location and dimensionsEdit

The Holyland Model of Jerusalem in the late Second Temple period. The large flat expanse was a base for Herod's Temple, in the center. The view is from outside the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount forms the northern portion of a very narrow spur of hill that slopes sharply from north to south. Rising above the Kidron Valley to the east and Tyropoeon Valley to the west,[9] its peak reaches a height of 740 m (2,428 ft) above sea level.[10] In around 19 BCE, Herod the Great extended the Mount's natural plateau by enclosing the area with four massive retaining walls and filling the voids. This artificial expansion resulted in a large flat expanse which today forms the eastern section of the Old City of Jerusalem. The trapezium shaped platform measures 488 m along the west, 470 m along the east, 315 m along the north and 280 m along the south, giving a total area of approximately 150,000 m2 (37 acres).[11] The northern wall of the Mount, together with the northern section of the western wall, is hidden behind residential buildings. The southern section of the western flank is revealed and contains what is known as the Western Wall. The retaining walls on these two sides descend many meters below ground level. A northern portion of the western wall may be seen from within the Western Wall Tunnel, which was excavated through buildings adjacent to the platform. On the southern and eastern sides the walls are visible almost to their full height. The platform itself is separated from the rest of the Old City by the Tyropoeon Valley, though this once deep valley is now largely hidden beneath later deposits, and is imperceptible in places. The platform can be reached via Bridge Street – a street in the Muslim Quarter at the level of the platform, actually sitting on a monumental bridge; the bridge is no longer externally visible due to the change in ground level, but it may be seen from beneath via the Western Wall Tunnel.

HistoryEdit

Israelite periodEdit

The hill is believed to have been inhabited since the 4th millennium BCE.

Assuming colocation with the biblical Mount Zion, its southern section would have been walled at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE, in around 1850 BCE, by Canaanites who established a settlement there (or in the vicinity) named Jebus.

Biblical scholars have also identified it with Mount Moriah where the binding of Isaac took place. According to the Hebrew Bible, Mount Moriah was originally a threshing-floor owned by Araunah, a Jebusite. The prophet Gad suggested the area to King David as a fitting place for the erection of an altar to YHWH, since it was there a destroying angel was standing when God stopped a great plague in Jerusalem.[12] David then bought the property from Araunah, for fifty pieces of silver, and erected the altar. YHWH instructed David to build a sanctuary on the site, outside the city walls on the northern edge of the hill. The building was to replace the Tabernacle, and serve as the Temple of the Israelites in Jerusalem.[13] The Temple Mount is an important part of Biblical archaeology.

Achaemenid Persian, Hasmonean periods, and Herod's expansionEdit

A stone (2.43x1 m) with Hebrew inscription "To the Trumpeting Place" excavated by Benjamin Mazar at the southern foot of the Temple Mount is believed to be a part of the Second Temple

Much of the Mount's early history is synonymous with events pertaining to the Temple itself. After the alleged destruction of Solomon's Temple by Nebuchadnezzar II, construction of the Second Temple began under Cyrus in around 538 BCE, and completed in 516 BCE. Evidence of a Hasmonean expansion of the Temple Mount has been recovered by archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer. Around 19 BCE, Herod the Great further expanded the Mount and rebuilt the temple. The ambitious project, which involved the employment of 10,000 workers,[14] more than doubled the size of Temple Mount to approximately 36 acres (150,000 m2). Herod leveled the area by cutting away rock on the northwest side and raising the sloping ground to the south. He achieved this by constructing huge buttress walls and vaults, filling the necessary sections with earth and rubble.[15] A basilica (the Royal Stoa) was constructed on the southern end of the expanded platform, which provided a focus for the city's commercial and legal transactions, and which was provided with separate access to the city below via the Robinson's Arch overpass.[16] In addition to restoration of the Temple, its courtyards, and porticoes, Herod also built Antonia Fortress abutting the northwestern corner of the Temple Mount, and a rainwater reservoir, Birket Israel, in the northeast. As a result of the First Jewish-Roman War, the fortress was destroyed by Roman emperor Vespasian, in 70 CE, under the command of his son and imperial heir, Titus.

Middle Roman periodEdit

Stones from the walls of the Temple Mount

The city of Aelia Capitolina was built in 130 CE by the Roman emperor Hadrian, and occupied by a Roman colony on the site of Jerusalem, which was still in ruins from the First Jewish Revolt in 70 CE.

Aelia came from Hadrian's nomen gentile, Aelius, while Capitolina meant that the new city was dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom a temple was built on the site of the former second Jewish temple, the Temple Mount.[17]

Hadrian had intended the construction of the new city as a gift to the Jews, but since he had constructed a giant statue of himself in front of the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Jupiter had a huge statue of Jupiter inside of it, there were now two enormous graven images on the Temple Mount. It was also the normal practice of the adherents of the Hellenic religion to sacrifice pigs before their deities. In addition to this, Hadrian issued a decree prohibiting the practice of circumcision. These three factors, the graven images, the sacrifice of pigs before the altar, and the prohibition of circumcision, constituted for non-Hellenized radical Zealot Jews a new abomination of desolation, and thus Bar Kochba launched the Third Jewish Revolt. After the Third Jewish Revolt failed, all Jews were forbidden on pain of death from entering the city.

Late Roman periodEdit

From the 1st through the 7th centuries Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and Jerusalem became predominantly Christian.[18][19]

In 363, Emperor Julian, on his way to engage Persia, stopped at the ruins of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Julian granted the Jews permission to begin rebuilding the Temple.[20] To Christians, the destroyed Temple was a symbol of Christianity's triumph over Judaism, and Julian, was an opponent of Christianity.[20] Rebuilding work began, but was ended by the Galilee earthquake of 363.[20][21]

There are records of Jews continuing to offer sacrifices on the Foundation Stone after the destruction of the Temple and into the Byzantine period.[20]

Byzantine periodEdit

Archaeological evidence in the form of an elaborate mosaic floor similar to the one in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and multiple fragments of an elaborate marble Templon (chancel screen) prove that an elaborate Byzantine church or monastery or other public building stood on the Temple Mount in Byzantine times.[22]

Sassanid vassal state periodEdit

In 610, the Sassanid Empire drove the Byzantine Empire out of the Middle East, giving the Jews control of Jerusalem for the first time in centuries. The Jews in Palestine were allowed to set up a vassal state under the Sassanid Empire called the Sassanid Jewish Commonwealth which lasted for five years. Jewish rabbis ordered the restart of animal sacrifice for the first time since the time of Second Temple and started to reconstruct the Jewish Temple. Shortly before the Byzantines took the area back five years later in 615, the Persians gave control to the Christian population, who tore down the partially built Jewish Temple edifice and turned it into a garbage dump,[23] which is what it was when the Caliph Omar took the city in the 630s.

Arab periodEdit

Southwest qanatir of the Haram al Sharif
A model of the Haram-al-Sharif made in 1879 by Conrad Schlick. The model can be seen in the Bijbels Museum in Amsterdam

Upon the capture of Jerusalem by the victorious Caliph Omar, Omar immediately headed to the Temple Mount with his advisor, Ka'ab al-Ahbar, a formerly Jewish rabbi who had converted to Islam, in order to find the holy site of the "Furthest Mosque" or Al Masjid al Aqsa which was mentioned in the Quran and specified in the Hadiths of being in Jerusalem.Ka'ab al-Ahbar suggested to Caliph Omar to build the Dome of the Rock monument on the site that Ka'ab believed to be the Biblical Holy of the Holies, believing that this site is where Mohammad ascended to heaven during the Isra and Mi'raj miracle. The actual construction of the Muslim monuments at the southeast corner, facing Mecca, near which the al-Aqsa Mosque were built 78 years later. The original building is now known to have been wooden and to have been constructed on the site of a Byzantine public building with an elaborate mosaic floor.[22]

In 691 an octagonal Islamic building topped by a dome was built by the Caliph Abd al-Malik around the rock, for a myriad of political, dynastic and religious reasons, built on local and Koranic traditions articulating the site's holiness, a process in which textual and architectural narratives reinforced one another.[24] The shrine became known as the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra قبة الصخرة). (The dome itself was covered in gold in 1920.) In 715 the Umayyads led by the Caliph al-Walid I, rebuilt the Temple's nearby Chanuyot into a mosque (see illustrations and detailed drawing) which they named al-Masjid al-Aqsa المسجد الأقصى, the al-Aqsa Mosque or in translation "the furthest mosque", corresponding to the Islamic belief of Muhammad's miraculous nocturnal journey as recounted in the Qur'an and hadith. The term al-Haram al-Sharif الحرم الشريف (the Noble Sanctuary) refers to the whole area that surrounds that Rock as was called later by the Mamluks and Ottomans.[25]

For Muslims, the importance of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque makes Jerusalem the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. The mosque and shrine are currently administered by a Waqf (an Islamic trust). The various inscriptions on the Dome walls and the artistic decorations imply on symbolic eschatological significance of the structure.

Crusader periodEdit

The Crusader period began in 1099 with the First Crusade's capture of Jerusalem. After the city's conquest, the Crusading order Knights Templar was granted use of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount by Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem probably at the Council of Nablus in January 1120, giving the Templars a headquarters in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque.[26] The Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon.[27][28] The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and it was from this location that the new Order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights.

Ottoman periodEdit

Following the Ottoman conquest of Palestine in 1516, the Ottoman authorities continued the policy of prohibiting non-Muslims from setting foot on the Temple Mount until the early 19th-century, when non-Muslims were again permitted to visit the site.[20]

In 1867, a team from the Royal Engineers, led by Lieutenant Charles Warren and financed by the Palestine Exploration Fund (P.E.F.), discovered a series of underground tunnels near the Temple Mount. Warren secretly excavated some tunnels near the Temple Mount walls and was the first one to document their lower courses. Warren also conducted some small scale excavations inside the Temple Mount, by removing rubble that blocked passages leading from the Double Gate chamber.

British Mandate periodEdit

Between 1922 and 1924, the Dome of the Rock was restored by the Islamic Higher Council.[29]

Jordanian periodEdit

Jordan undertook two renovations of the Dome of the Rock, replacing the leaking, wooden dome with an aluminum dome in 1952, and, when the new dome leaked, carrying out a second restoration between 1959 and 1964.[29]

Neither Israeli Arabs nor Israeli Jews could visit their holy places in the Jordanian territories during this period.[30][31]

Israeli periodEdit

During the 1967 Six-Day War Israel captured the Temple Mount together with all of East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, who had controlled it since 1948. The Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Defense Forces, Shlomo Goren, led the soldiers in religious celebrations on the Temple Mount and at the Western Wall. The Israeli Chief Rabbinate also declared a religious holiday on the anniversary, called "Yom Yerushalayim" (Jerusalem Day), which also became a national holiday that commemorates the reunification of the city. Many Jews saw the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as a miraculous liberation of biblical-messianic proportion.[citation needed]

A few days after the war was over 200,000 Jews flocked to the Western Wall in the first mass Jewish pilgrimage near the mount since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. However, the Israeli government subsequently left the Islamic waqf in control of the site. The site has become a flash-point between Israel and the Muslim world.

On October 8, 1990, Israeli forces patrolling the site blocked worshipers from accessing it. A tear gas canister was detonated among the female worshipers, which caused events to escalate.[32] Rocks were eventually thrown, while security forces fired rounds that ended up killing 20 people and injured around 140 more. An Israeli enquiry found Israeli forces at fault, but it also concluded that charges could not be brought against any particular individuals.[33]

Between 1992 and 1994, the Jordanian government undertook the unprecedented step of gilding the dome of the Dome of the Rock, covering it with 5000 gold plates, and restoring and reinforcing the structure. The Salah Eddin minbar was also restored. The project was paid for by King Hussein personally, at a cost of $8 million.[29]

On September 28, 2000, Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. He toured the site, together with a Likud party delegation and a large number of Israeli riot police. The visit was seen as a provocative gesture by many Palestinians, who gathered around the site. Demonstrations soon turned violent, with both rubber bullets and tear gas being used. This event is often cited as one of the catalysts of the Second Palestinian Intifada.[34]

Also in this period, Palestinian authorities have begun excavations at the Temple Mount, damaging the structural integrity of the site; see below.

Management and accessEdit

Sign in Hebrew and English outside the Temple Mount stating the Chief Rabbinate's preference that no person should enter the site, since it is the holiest site in Judaism

An Islamic Waqf has managed the Temple Mount continuously since the Muslim reconquest of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. On June 7, 1967, soon after Israel had taken control of the area during the Six-Day War, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol assured that "no harm whatsoever shall come to the places sacred to all religions". Together with the extension of Israeli jurisdiction and administration over east Jerusalem, the Knesset passed the Preservation of the Holy Places Law,[35] ensuring protection of the Holy Places against desecration, as well as freedom of access thereto.[36] Israel agreed to leave administration of the site in the hands of the Waqf.

Although freedom of access was enshrined in the law, as a security measure, the Israeli government currently enforces a ban on non-Muslim prayer on the site. Non-Muslims who are observed praying on the site are subject to expulsion by the police.[37] At various times, when there is fear of Arab rioting upon the mount resulting in throwing stones from above towards the Western Wall Plaza, Israel has prevented Muslim men under 45 from praying in the compound, citing these concerns.[38] Sometimes such restrictions have coincided with Friday prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.[39] Normally, West Bank Palestinians are allowed access to Jerusalem only during Islamic holidays, with access usually restricted to men over 35 and women of any age eligible for permits to enter the city.[40] Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, which because of Israel's annexation of Jerusalem, hold Israeli permanent residency cards, and Israeli Arabs, are permitted unrestricted access to the Temple Mount.

Current featuresEdit

An additional flat platform was built above the portion of the hill rising above the general level of the top of the Temple Mount, and this upper platform is the location of the Dome of the Rock; the rock in question is the bedrock at the peak of the hill, just breaching the floor level of the upper platform. Beneath the rock is a natural cave known as the Well of Souls, originally accessible only by a narrow hole in the rock itself, Crusaders hacked open an entrance to the cave from the south, by which it can now be entered. There is also a smaller domed building on the upper platform, slightly to the east of the Dome of the Rock, known as the Dome of the Chain — traditionally the location where a chain once rose to heaven. Several stairways rise to the upper platform from the lower; that at the northwest corner is believed by some archaeologists be part of a much wider monumental staircase, mostly hidden or destroyed, and dating from the Second Temple era.

The al-Kas ablution fountain for Muslim worshipers on the southern portion of the lower platform.

The lower platform – which constitutes most of the surface of the Temple Mount – has at its southern end the al-Aqsa Mosque, which takes up most of the width of the Mount. Gardens take up the eastern and most of the northern side of the platform; the far north of the platform houses an Islamic school.[41] The lower platform also houses a fountain (known as al-Kas), originally supplied with water via a long narrow aqueduct leading from pools at Bethlehem (colloquially known as Solomon's Pools), but now supplied from Jerusalem's water mains. There are several cisterns embedded in the lower platform, designed to collect rain water as a water supply. These have various forms and structures, seemingly built in different periods by different architects, ranging from vaulted chambers built in the gap between the bedrock and the platform, to chambers cut into the bedrock itself. Of these, the most notable are (numbering traditionally follows Wilson's scheme[42]):

  • Cistern 1 (located under the northern side of the upper platform). There is a speculation that it had a function connected with the altar of the Second Temple (and possibly of the earlier Temple),[43] or with the bronze sea.
  • Cistern 5 (located under the south eastern corner of the upper platform) — a long and narrow chamber, with a strange anti-clockwise curved section at its north western corner, and containing within it a doorway currently blocked by earth. The cistern's position and design is such that there has been speculation it had a function connected with the altar of the Second Temple (and possibly of the earlier Temple), or with the bronze sea. Charles Warren thought that the altar of burnt offerings was located at the north western end.[44]
  • Cistern 8 (located just north of the al-Aqsa Mosque) — known as the Great Sea, a large rock hewn cavern, the roof supported by pillars carved from the rock; the chamber is particularly cave-like and atmospheric,[45] and its maximum water capacity is several hundred thousand gallons.
  • Cistern 9 (located just south of cistern 8, and directly under the al-Aqsa Mosque) — known as the Well of the Leaf due to its leaf-shaped plan, also rock hewn.
  • Cistern 11 (located east of cistern 9) — a set of vaulted rooms forming a plan shaped like the letter E. Probably the largest cistern, it has the potential to house over 700,000 gallons of water.
  • Cistern 16/17 (located at the centre of the far northern end of the Temple Mount). Despite the currently narrow entrances, this cistern (17 and 16 are the same cistern) is a large vaulted chamber, which Warren described as looking like the inside of the cathedral at Cordoba (which was previously a mosque). Warren believed that it was almost certainly built for some other purpose, and was only adapted into a cistern at a later date; he suggested that it might have been part of a general vault supporting the northern side of the platform, in which case substantially more of the chamber exists than is used for a cistern.
The eastern set of Hulda gates.
Robinson's Arch, situated on the southwestern flank, once supported a staircase that led to the Mount.

The walls of the platform contain several gateways, all currently blocked. In the east wall is the Golden Gate, through which legend states the Jewish Messiah would enter Jerusalem. On the southern face are the Hulda Gates — the triple gate (which has three arches) and the double gate (which has two arches, and is partly obscured by a Crusader building); these were the entrance and exit (respectively) to the Temple Mount from Ophel (the oldest part of Jerusalem), and the main access to the Mount for ordinary Jews. In the western face, near the southern corner, is the Barclay's Gate – only half visible due to a building on the northern side. Also in the western face, hidden by later construction but visible via the recent Western Wall Tunnels, and only rediscovered by Warren, is Warren's Gate; the function of these western gates is obscure, but many Jews view Warren's Gate as particularly holy, due to its location due west of the Dome of the Rock. Traditional belief considers the Dome of the Rock to have earlier been the location at which the Holy of Holies was placed; numerous alternative opinions exist, based on study and calculations, such as those of Tuvia Sagiv.[46]

Warren was able to investigate the inside of these gates. Warren's Gate and the Golden Gate simply head towards the centre of the Mount, fairly quickly giving access to the surface by steps.[47] Barclay's Gate is similar, but abruptly turns south as it does so; the reason for this is currently unknown. The double and triple gates (the Huldah Gates) are more substantial; heading into the Mount for some distance they each finally have steps rising to the surface just north of the al-Aqsa Mosque.[48] The passageway for each is vaulted, and has two aisles (in the case of the triple gate, a third aisle exists for a brief distance beyond the gate); the eastern aisle of the double gates and western of the triple gates reach the surface, the other aisles terminating some way before the steps – Warren believed that one aisle of each original passage was extended when the al-Aqsa Mosque blocked the original surface exits.

East of and joined to the triple gate passageway is a large vaulted area, supporting the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount platform – which is substantially above the bedrock at this point – the vaulted chambers here are popularly referred to as King Solomon's Stables.[49] They were used as stables by the Crusaders, but were built by Herod the Great – along with the platform they were built to support. In the process of investigating Cistern 10, Warren discovered tunnels that lay under the Triple Gate passageway.[50] These passages lead in erratic directions, some leading beyond the southern edge of the Temple Mount (they are at a depth below the base of the walls); their purpose is currently unknown – as is whether they predate the Temple Mount – a situation not helped by the fact that apart from Warren's expedition no one else is known to have visited them.

The existing four minarets include three near the Western Wall and one near the northern wall. The first minaret was constructed on the southwest corner of the Temple Mount in 1278. The second was built in 1297 by order of a Mameluk king, the third by a governor of Jerusalem in 1329, and the last in 1367.

Alterations to antiquities and damage to existing structuresEdit

Due to the extreme political sensitivity of the site, no real archaeological excavations have ever been conducted on the Temple Mount itself. Protests commonly occur whenever archaeologists conduct projects near the Mount. This sensitivity has not, however, prevented the Muslim Waqf from destroying archeological evidence on a number of occasions.[51][52][53][54] Aside from visual observation of surface features, most other archaeological knowledge of the site comes from the 19th century survey carried out by Charles Wilson and Charles Warren and others.

After the Six-Day War of 1967, Israeli archeologists began a series of excavations near the site at the southern wall that uncovered finds from the Second Temple period through Roman, Umayyad and Crusader times.[55] Over the period 1970–88, a number of tunnels were excavated in the vicinity, including one that passed to the west of the Mount and became known as the Western Wall Tunnel, which was opened to the public in 1996.[56][57] The same year the Waqf began construction of a new mosque in the structures known since Crusader times as Solomon's Stables. Many Israelis regarded this as a radical change of the status quo, which should not have been undertaken without first consulting the Israeli government. The project was done without attention to the possibility of disturbing historically significant archaeological material, with stone and ancient artifacts treated without regard to their preservation.[58]

In October 1999, the Islamic Waqf, and the Islamic Movement conducted an illegal[citation needed] dig which inflicted much archaeological damage. The earth from this operation, which has archeological wealth relevant to Jewish, Christian and Muslim history, was removed by heavy machinery and unceremoniously dumped by trucks into the nearby Kidron Valley. Although the archeological finds in the earth are already not in situ, this soil still contains great archeological potential. No archeological excavation was ever conducted on the Temple Mount, and this soil was the only archeological information that has ever been available to anyone. For this reason Israeli archaeologists Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Zweig established a project sifting all the earth in this dump: the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Among finds uncovered in rubble removed from the Temple Mount were:

  • The imprint of a seal thought to have belonged to a priestly Jewish family mentioned in the Old Testament's Book of Jeremiah.
  • More than 4300 coins from various periods. Many of them are from the Jewish revolt that preceded the destruction of the Second Temple by Roman legions in 70 CE emblazoned with the words "Freedom of Zion"
  • Arrowheads shot by Babylonian archers 2,500 years ago, and others launched by Roman siege machinery 500 years later.
  • Unique floor slabs of the 'opus sectile' technique that were used to pave the Temple Mount courts. This is also mentioned in Josephus accounts and the Babylonian Talmud.

In late 2002, a bulge of about 700 mm was reported in the southern retaining wall part of the Temple Mount. A Jordanian team of engineers recommended replacing or resetting most of the stones in the affected area.[59] In February 2004, the eastern wall of the Mount was damaged by an earthquake. The damage threatened to topple sections of the wall into the area known as Solomon's Stables.[60] A few days later, a portion of retaining wall, supporting the earthen ramp that led from the Western Wall plaza to the Gate of the Moors on the Temple Mount, collapsed.[61] In 2007 the Israel Antiquities Authority started work on the construction of a temporary wooden pedestrian pathway to replace the Mugrabi Gate ramp after a landslide in 2005 made it unsafe and in danger of collapse.[62] The works sparked condemnation from Arab leaders.[63]

In July 2007 the Muslim religious trust which administers the Mount began digging a 400-metre-long, 1.5-metre-deep trench[64] from the northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock[65] in order to replace 40-year-old[66] electric cables in the area. Israeli archaeologists accused the waqf of a deliberate act of cultural vandalism.[65]

Southern Wall of Temple Mount, southwestern corner.

Israelis allege that Palestinians are deliberately removing significant amounts of archaeological evidence about the Jewish past of the site and claim to have found significant artifacts in the fill removed by bulldozers and trucks from the Temple Mount. Muslims allege that the Israelis are deliberately damaging the remains of Islamic-era buildings found in their excavations.[67] Since the Waqf is granted almost full autonomy on the Islamic holy sites, Israeli archaeologists have been prevented from inspecting the area, and are restricted to conducting excavations around the Temple Mount.

Religious attitudesEdit

In JudaismEdit

Presumed to be The Foundation Stone, or a large part of it

Jewish connection and veneration to the site arguably stems from the fact that it contains the Foundation Stone which, according to the rabbis of the Talmud, was the spot from where the world was created and expanded into its current form.[68][69] It was subsequently the Holy of Holies of the Temple, the Most Holy Place in Judaism.[20] Jewish tradition names it as the location for a number of important events which occurred in the Bible, including the Binding of Isaac, Jacob's dream, and the prayer of Isaac and Rebekah.[70] Similarly, when the Bible recounts that King David purchased a threshing floor owned by Araunah the Jebusite,[71] tradition locates it as being on this mount. An early Jewish text, the Genesis Rabba, states that this site is one of three about which the nations of the world cannot taunt Israel and say "you have stolen them," since it was purchased "for its full price" by David.[72] David wanted to construct a sanctuary there, but this was left to his son Solomon, who completed the task in c. 950 BCE with the construction of the First Temple.

In 1217, Spanish Rabbi Judah al-Harizi found the sight of the Muslim structures on the mount profoundly disturbing. "What torment to see our holy courts converted into an alien temple!" he wrote.[73]

Due to religious restrictions on entering the most sacred areas of the Temple Mount (see following section), the Western Wall, a retaining wall for the Temple Mount and remnant of the Second Temple structure, is considered by some rabbinical authorities the holiest accessible site for Jews to pray. Jewish texts record that the Mount will be the site of the Third Temple, which will be rebuilt with the coming of the Jewish Messiah.

A 2013 Knesset committee hearing considered allowing Jews to pray at the site, amidst heated debate. Arab-Israeli MPs were ejected for disrupting the hearing, after shouting at the chairman, calling her a "pyromaniac". Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan of Jewish Home said his ministry was seeking legal ways to enable Jews to pray at the site.[74]

Jewish religious law concerning entry to the siteEdit

During Temple times, entry to the Mount was limited by a complex set of purity laws. Those who were not of the Jewish nation were prohibited from entering the inner court of the Temple. A hewn stone measuring 60 x 90 cm. and engraved with Greek uncials was discovered in 1871 near a court on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in which it outlined this prohibition:

ΜΗΟΕΝΑΑΛΛΟΓΕΝΗΕΙΣΠΟ
ΡΕΥΕΣΟΑΙΕΝΤΟΣΤΟΥΠΕ
ΡΙΤΟΙΕΡΟΝΤΡΥΦΑΚΤΟΥΚΑΙ
ΠΕΡΙΒΟΛΟΥΟΣΔΑΝΛΗ
ΦΘΗΕΑΥΤΩΙΑΙΤΙΟΣΕΣ
ΤΑΙΔΙΑΤΟΕΞΑΚΟΛΟΥ
ΘΕΙΝΘΑΝΑΤΟΝ

Translation: "Let no foreigner enter within the parapet and the partition which surrounds the Temple precincts. Anyone caught [violating] will be held accountable for his ensuing death." Today, the stone is preserved in Istanbul's Museum of Antiquities.

Maimonides wrote that it was only permitted to enter the site to fulfill a religious precept. After the destruction of the Temple there was discussion as to whether the site, bereft of the Temple, still maintained its holiness or not. Jewish codifiers accepted the opinion of Maimonides who ruled that the holiness of the Temple sanctified the site for eternity and consequently the restrictions on entry to the site are still currently in force.[20] While secular Jews ascend freely, the question of whether ascending is permitted is a matter some debate among religious authorities, with a majority holding that it is permitted to ascend to the Temple Mount, but not to step on the site of the inner courtyards of the ancient Temple.[20] The question then becomes whether the site can be ascertained accurately.[20] A second complex legal debate centers around the precise divine punishment for stepping onto these forbidden spots.

There is debate over whether reports that Maimonides himself ascended the Mount are reliable.[75] One such report[76] claims he did so on Thursday, October 21, 1165, during the Crusader period. Some early scholars however, claim that entry onto certain areas of the Mount are permitted. It appears that Radbaz also entered the Mount and advised others how to do this. He permits entry from all the gates into the 135×135 cubits of the Women's Courtyard in the east, since the biblical prohibition only applies to the 187×135 cubits of the Temple in the west.[77] There are also Christian and Islamic sources which indicate that Jews accessed the site,[78] but these visits may have been made under duress.[79]

1978 sign warning against entry to the Mount

Opinions of contemporary rabbis concerning entry to the siteEdit

In August 1967 after Israel's capture of the Mount, the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim, together with other leading rabbis, asserted that "For generations we have warned against and refrained from entering any part of the Temple Mount."[80] A recent study of this rabbinical ruling suggests that it was both "unprecedented" and possibly prompted by governmental pressure on the rabbis, as well as "brilliant" in preventing Muslim-Jewish friction on the Mount.[20][81]

Rabbinical consensus in the post-1967 period in the Religious Zionist stream of Orthodox Judaism held that it is forbidden for Jews to enter any part of the Temple Mount,[82] and in January 2005 a declaration was signed confirming the 1967 decision.[83]

Nearly all Haredi rabbis are also of the opinion that the Mount is off limits to Jews and non-Jews alike.[84] Their opinions against entering the Temple Mount are based on the danger of entering the hallowed area of the Temple courtyard and the impossibility of fulfilling the ritual requirement of cleansing oneself with the ashes of a red heifer.[85][86] The boundaries of the areas which are completely forbidden, while having large portions in common, are delineated differently by various rabbinic authorities.

However, there is a growing body of Modern Orthodox and national religious rabbis who encourage visits to certain parts of the Mount, which they believe are permitted according to most medieval rabbinical authorities.[20] These rabbis include: Shlomo Goren (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Chaim David Halevi (former Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Yaffo); Dov Lior (Rabbi of Kiryat Arba); Yosef Elboim; Yisrael Ariel; She'ar Yashuv Cohen (Chief Rabbi of Haifa); Yuval Sherlo (rosh yeshiva of the hesder yeshiva of Petah Tikva); Meir Kahane. One of them, Shlomo Goren, states that it is possible that Jews are even allowed to enter the heart of the Dome of the Rock, according to Jewish Law of Conquest.[87] These authorities demand an attitude of veneration on the part of Jews ascending the Temple Mount, ablution in a mikveh prior to the ascent, and the wearing of non-leather shoes.[20] Some rabbinic authorities are now of the opinion that it is imperative for Jews to ascend in order to halt the ongoing process of Islamization of the Temple Mount. Maimonides, perhaps the greatest codifier of Jewish Law, wrote in Laws of the Chosen House ch 7 Law 15 "One may bring a dead body in to the (lower sanctified areas of the) Temple Mount and there is no need to say that the ritually impure (from the dead) may enter there, because the dead body itself can enter". One who is ritually impure through direct or in-direct contact of the dead cannot walk in the higher sanctified areas. For those who are visibly Jewish, they have no choice, but to follow this peripheral route as it has become unofficially part of the status quo on the Mount. Many of these recent opinions rely on archaeological evidence.[20]

In December 2013, the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, reiterated the ban on Jews entering the Temple Mount.[88] They wrote, "In light of [those] neglecting [this ruling], we once again warn that nothing has changed and this strict prohibition remains in effect for the entire area [of the Temple Mount]".[88]

In IslamEdit

Facade of the Al-Aqsa Mosque

In Islam, the Mount is called al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf, meaning the Noble Sanctuary. Muslims view the site as being one of the earliest and most noteworthy places of worship of God. For a few years in the early stages of Islam, Muhammad instructed his followers to face the Mount during prayer.

The site is also important as being the site of the "Farthest Mosque" (mentioned in the Qur'an as the location of Muhammad's miraculous Night Journey) to heaven.:

"Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) to al-Masjid al-Aqsa (the Further Mosque), whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing." Quran 17:1 [89]

The hadith, a collection of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad, confirm that the location of the Al-Aqsa mosque is indeed in Jerusalem:

"When the people of Quraish did not believe me (i.e. the story of my Night Journey), I stood up in Al-Hijr and Allah displayed Jerusalem in front of me, and I began describing Jerusalem to them while I was looking at it." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 58, Number 226.[90]

Muslim interpretations of the Qur'an agree that the Mount is the site of a Temple built by Sulayman, considered a prophet in Islam, that was later destroyed.[91]

After the construction, Muslims believe, the temple was used for the worship of one God by many prophets of Islam, including Jesus.[92][93][94] Other Muslim scholars have used the Torah (called Tawrat in Arabic) to expand on the details of the temple.[95]

In ChristianityEdit

The Mount has great significance in Christianity due to the role the Temple played in the life of Jesus. As a twelve-year-old boy, Jesus was found in the Temple where he confounded the Jewish theologians with his knowledge of the Torah. (Luke 2:41-50) During his ministry, Jesus challenged the corruption of those who used the Temple for commerce and extortion (Matthew 21:12-17) and prophesied the temple's destruction, which came to pass in AD 70. (Mark 13:1-2) During the Byzantine era, Jerusalem was primarily Christian and pilgrims came by the tens of thousands to experience the places where Jesus walked.

With the Persian invasion in 614 followed by the Muslim Siege of Jerusalem in 637, many churches were razed[96] but for some time pilgrims still were able to come and experience the Temple Mount area. Increasing Muslim violence against these pilgrims to Jerusalem instigated the Crusades. The Crusaders re-captured Jerusalem in 1099 and the Dome of the Rock was given to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque became the royal palace of Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1104. The Knights Templar, who believed the Dome of the Rock was the site of the Solomon's Temple, gave it the name "Templum Domini" and set up their headquarters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque adjacent to the Dome for much of the 12th century.

Though some Christians believe that the Temple will be reconstructed before, or concurrent with, the Second Coming of Jesus (also see dispensationalism), pilgrimage to the Temple Mount is not viewed as essential in the beliefs and worship of most Christians. To wit, the New Testament recounts a story of a Samaritan woman asking Jesus about the appropriate place to worship, Jerusalem or the Samaritan holy place at Mount Gerizim, to which Jesus replies, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."(John 4:21-24)

The place is of greater importance to Eastern Christians because there was a fully consecrated church on that spot during the Byzantine period. According to Eastern Church canons, once a church has been fully consecrated, it cannot ever serve as anything other than a church. Of course, this is just one example of the thousands of churches that were either destroyed, or converted to mosques following the Muslim invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire. The most notable example is the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Recent eventsEdit

February 2004
Partially collapsed Mughrabi-Bridge: An 800 year-old wall holding back part of the hill jutting out from the Western Wall leading up to the Mughrabi Gate partially collapsed. Authorities believed a recent earthquake may have been responsible.[97][98]
March 2005
Allah inscription: The word "Allah", in approximately a foot-tall Arabic script, was found newly carved into the ancient stones, an act viewed by Jews as vandalism. The carving was attributed to a team of Jordanian engineers and Palestinian laborers in charge of strengthening that section of the wall. The discovery caused outrage among Israeli archaeologists and many Jews were angered by the inscription at Judaism's holiest site.[99]
October 2006
Synagogue proposal: Uri Ariel, a member of the Knesset from the National Union party (a right wing opposition party) ascended to the mount,[100] and said that he is preparing a plan where a synagogue will be built on the mount. His proposed synagogue would not be built instead of the mosques but in a separate area in accordance with rulings of 'prominent rabbis.' He said he believed that this will be correcting a historical injustice and that it is an opportunity for the Muslim world to prove that it is tolerant to all faiths.[101]
Minaret proposal: Plans are mooted to build a new minaret on the mount, the first of its kind for 600 years.[102] King Abdullah II of Jordan announced a competition to design a fifth minaret for the walls of the Temple Mount complex. He said it would "reflect the Islamic significance and sanctity of the mosque". The scheme, estimated to cost $300,000, is for a seven-sided tower – after the seven-pointed Hashemite star – and at 42 metres (138 ft), it would be 3.5 metres (11 ft) taller than the next-largest minaret. The minaret would be constructed on the eastern wall of the Temple Mount near the Golden Gate.
February 2007
Mugrabi Gate ramp reconstruction: Repairs to an earthen ramp leading to the Mugrabi Gate sparked Arab protests.
May 2007
Right-wing Jews ascend the Mount: A group of right-wing Religious Zionist rabbis entered the Temple Mount.[103] This elicited widespread criticism from other religious Jews and from secular Israelis, accusing the rabbis of provoking the Arabs. An editorial in the newspaper Haaretz accused the rabbis of 'knowingly and irresponsibly bringing a burning torch closer to the most flammable hill in the Middle East,' and noted that rabbinical consensus in both the Haredi and the Religious Zionist worlds forbids Jews from entering the Temple Mount.[104] On May 16, Rabbi Avraham Shapiro, former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and rosh yeshiva of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, reiterated his opinion that it is forbidden for Jews to enter the Temple Mount.[105] The Litvish Haredi newspaper Yated Ne'eman, which is controlled by leading Litvish Haredi rabbis including Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv and Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, accused the rabbis of transgressing a decree punishable by 'death through the hands of heaven.'[86]
July 2007
Temple Mount cable replacement: The Waqf began digging a ditch from the northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock as a prelude to infrastructure work in the area. Although the dig was approved by the police, it generated protests from archaeologists.
October 2009
Clashes: Palestinian protesters gathered at the site after rumours that an extreme Israeli group would harm the site, which the Israeli government denied.[106] Israeli police assembled at the Temple Mount complex to disperse Palestinian protesters who were throwing stones at them. The police used stun grenades on the protesters, of which 15 were later arrested, including the Palestinian President's adviser on Jerusalem affairs.[107][108] 18 Palestinians and 3 police officers were injured.[109]
July 2010
A public opinion poll in Israel showed that 50% of Israelis believe that the Temple should be rebuilt. The poll was conducted by channel 99, the government owned Knesset channel, in advance of the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av on which Jews commemorate the destruction of both the first and second Temples that both stood at this site.[110]
July 2010
Knesset Member Danny Danon visited the Temple Mount in accordance with rabbinical views of Jewish Law on the 9th of the Hebrew Month of Av, which commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. The Knesset Member condemned the conditions imposed by Muslims upon religious Jews at the site and vowed to work to better conditions.[111]

PanoramaEdit

Panorama of the Temple Mount, seen from the Mount of Olives

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ New Jerusalem Finds Point to the Temple Mount
  2. ^ BBC Science and Nature
  3. ^ Dictionary of Islamic Architecture
  4. ^ Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Avoda (Divine Service): The laws of the Temple in Jerusalem, chapter 6, rule 14
  5. ^ Nicolle, David (1994). Yarmuk AD 636: The Muslim Conquest of Syria. Osprey Publishing.
  6. ^ Rizwi Faizer (1998). "The Shape of the Holy: Early Islamic Jerusalem". Rizwi's Bibliography for Medieval Islam. Archived from the original on 2002-02-10. 
  7. ^ Haram al-Sharif, ArchNet
  8. ^ Israeli Police Storm Disputed Jerusalem Holy Site
  9. ^ Gonen (2003), pp. 9-11
  10. ^ Lundquist (2007), p. 103
  11. ^ Finkelstein, Horbury, Davies & Sturdy (1999), p. 43
  12. ^ II Sam. xxiv. 16 et seq.; I Chron. xxi. 15 et seq.
  13. ^ "Moriah". Easton's Bible Dictionary. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  14. ^ Gonen (2003), p. 69
  15. ^ Negev (2005), p. 265
  16. ^ Mazar (1975), pp. 124-126, 132
  17. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica 11th Edition
  18. ^ Krautheimer, Richard. "Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture" Fourth Edition, p. 25.
  19. ^ Har-El, Menashe "Golden Jerusalem" p. 29
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Entering the Temple Mount - in Halacha and Jewish History," Gedalia Meyer and Henoch Messner, PDF available at [1], VOl 10, Summer 2010, Hakirah.
  21. ^ See "Julian and the Jews 361-363 CE" and "Julian the Apostate and the Holy Temple".
  22. ^ a b Was the Aksa Mosque built over the remains of a Byzantine church?, By Etgar Lefkovits, Jerusalem Post, November 16, 2008
  23. ^ Karmi, Ghada (1997). Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?. Garnet & Ithaca Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-86372-226-1. 
  24. ^ The Dome of the Rock as Palimpsest, Necipoglu, Muqarnas 2008
  25. ^ Oleg Grabar, The Haram ak-Sharif: An essay in interpretation, BRIIFS vol. 2 no 2 (Autumn 2000).</ref name=MeyerMessner>"Entering the Temple Mount - in Halacha and Jewish History," Gedalia Meyer and Henoch Messner, PDF available at [2], VOl 10, Summer 2010, Hakirah.
  26. ^ Selwood, Dominic. "Birth of the Order". Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  27. ^ The History Channel, Decoding the Past: The Templar Code, 7 November 2005, video documentary written by Marcy Marzuni.
  28. ^ Barber, The New Knighthood, p. 7.
  29. ^ a b c "Hashemite Restorations of the Islamic Holy Places in Jerusalem", Jordanian government website.
  30. ^ Martin Gilbert, Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, p254.
  31. ^ Israeli, Raphael (2002). "Introduction: Everyday Life in Divided Jerusalem". Jerusalem Divided: The Armistice Regime, 1947–1967. Jerusalem: Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 0-7146-5266-0. 
  32. ^ "RECONSTRUCTION OF EVENTS (REVISED) AL-HARAM AL-SHARIF, JERUSALEM MONDAY, 8 OCTOBER 1990". United Nations. October 8, 1990. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Judge Blames Israeli Police In Killing Of Palestinians". Sun Sentinel. July 19, 1991. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  34. ^ "2000: 'Provocative' mosque visit sparks riots". BBC. April 12, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  35. ^ Preservation of the Holy Places Law, 1967.
  36. ^ Jerusalem - The Legal and Political Background, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Israel.
  37. ^ Nadav Shragai, Three Jews expelled from Temple Mount for praying.
  38. ^ "Heavy security around al-Aqsa," Al Jazeera English, October 5, 2009.
  39. ^ "PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS 16 – 29 SEPTEMBER 2009", UNITED NATIONS Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory.
  40. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/palestinians-flock-jerusalem-israeli-restrictions-eased-152403694.html
  41. ^ Photograph of the northern wall area
  42. ^ Wilson's map of the features under the Temple Mount
  43. ^ Kaufman, Asher (May 23, 1991). "The Temple Site" (Abstract). The Jerusalem Post. p. 13. Retrieved March 4, 2007. "The most important findings of the superposition of the Second Temple on the Temple area are that the Dome of the Rock was not built on the site of the Temple, and that the Temple was taper-shaped on the western side, a form hitherto unknown to the scholars." 
  44. ^ "Researcher says found location of the Holy Temple". Ynetnews. February 9, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2007. "Archaeology Professor Joseph Patrich uncovered a large water cistern that points, in his opinion, to the exact location of the altar and sanctuary on the Temple Mount. According to his findings, the rock on which the Dome of the Rock is built is outside the confines of the Temple." 
  45. ^ Under the Temple Mount
  46. ^ Tuvia Sagiv, Determination of the location of the Temple
  47. ^ Photograph of the inside of the Golden Gate
  48. ^ image of the double gate passage
  49. ^ Photograph of King Solomon's Stables
  50. ^ Photograph of one of the chambers under the Triple Gate passageway
  51. ^ See "The Washington Post, Opinion Columns, July 17, 2000 Protect the Temple Mount by Hershel Shanks
  52. ^ Policeman Assaulted Trying to Stop Illegal Temple Mount Dig - Jewish World - Israel News - Arutz Sheva
  53. ^ Jerusalem's Temple Mount Flap
  54. ^ Waqf Temple Mount excavation raises archaeologists' protests - Haaretz - Israel News
  55. ^ Jacqueline Schaalje, Special: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
  56. ^ Violent clashes at key Jerusalem mosque on 'day of anger', timesonline, accessdate=5 May 2009
  57. ^ Mayor halts Temple Mount dig, BBC, accessdate = 5 May 2009
  58. ^ Temple Mount destruction stirred archaeologist to action, February 8, 2005 | by Michael McCormack, Baptist Press [3]
  59. ^ Esther Hecht, Battle of the Bulge
  60. ^ Jerusalem Post
  61. ^ On-the-Spot Report from the Kotel Women´s Section Construction
  62. ^ Fendel, Hillel (February 7, 2007). "Jerusalem Arabs Riot, Kassams Fired, After Old City Excavations". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved February 7, 2007. 
  63. ^ Weiss, Efrat (February 7, 2007). "Syria slams Jerusalem works". Yedioth Ahronoth. Retrieved February 7, 2007. "Israeli excavation works near the al-Aqsa mosque in the holy city of Jerusalem have led to a dangerous rise in Middle East tensions and could derail revival of Arab-Israeli peace talks... what Israel is doing in its practices and attacks against our sacred Muslim sites in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa is a blatant violation that is not acceptable under any pretext" 
  64. ^ Fendel, Hillel (September 9, 2007). "Silence in the Face of Continued Temple Mount Destruction". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  65. ^ a b Rapoport, Meron (July 7, 2007). "Waqf Temple Mount excavation raises archaeologists' protests". Haaretz. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  66. ^ Teible, Amy (August 31, 2007). "Jerusalem Holy Site Dig Questioned". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-09-07. [dead link]
  67. ^ Al-Ahram: "Revoking the death warrant"
  68. ^ Babylonian Talmud Yoma 54b
  69. ^ http://www.torah.org/features/israelmatters/eye.html#
  70. ^ Toledot 25:21
  71. ^ 2 Samuel 24:18–25
  72. ^ Genesis Rabba 79.7: "And he bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent...for a hundred pieces of money." Rav Yudan son of Shimon said: 'This is one of the three places where the non-Jews cannot deceive the Jewish People by saying that they stole it from them, and these are the places: Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Temple and Joseph's burial place. Ma'arat HaMachpela because it is written: 'And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver,' (Genesis, 23:16); the Temple because it is written: 'So David gave to Ornan for the place,' (I Chronicles, 21:26); and Joseph's burial place because it is written: 'And he bought the parcel of ground...Jacob bought Shechem.' (Genesis, 33:19)." See also: Kook, Abraham Issac, Moadei Hare'iya, pp. 413–415.
  73. ^ Karen Armstrong (29 April 1997). Jerusalem: one city, three faiths. Ballantine Books. p. 229. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  74. ^ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/11/israel-mps-mull-jewish-prayer-at-al-aqsa-site-201311413318362256.html
  75. ^ Sefer ha-Charedim Mitzvat Tshuva, Chapter 3; Shu"t Minchas Yitzchok, vol. 6
  76. ^ Hebrew language site
  77. ^ Shaarei Teshuvah, Orach Chaim 561:1; cf. Teshuvoth Radbaz 691
  78. ^ Moshe Sharon. "Islam on the Temple Mount" Biblical Archaeology Review July/August 2006. p. 36–47, 68. "Immediately after its construction, five Jewish families from Jerusalem were employed to clean the Dome of the Rock and to prepare wicks for its lamps"
  79. ^ The Kaf hachaim (Orach Chaim 94:1:4 citing Radvaz Vol. 2; Ch. 648) mentions a case of a Jew who was forced onto the Temple Mount.
  80. ^ Lapidoth, Ruth E.; Moshe Hirsch (1994). The Jerusalem Question and Its Resolution: Selected Documents. Jerusalem: Martinus Nijhoff. p. 542. ISBN 0-7923-2893-0. 
  81. ^ Hassner, Ron E., "War on Sacred Grounds," Cornell University Press (2009), pp.113-133
  82. ^ Rabbis who support this opinion include: Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel; Zalman Baruch Melamed, rosh yeshiva of the Beit El yeshiva; Eliezer Waldenberg, former rabbinical judge in the Rabbinical Supreme Court of the State of Israel; Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Chief Rabbi of Palestine (Mikdash-Build (Vol. I, No. 26)); Avigdor Nebenzahl, Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem.
  83. ^ These rabbis include: Rabbis Yona Metzger (Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shlomo Amar (Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Ovadia Yosef (spiritual leader of Sefardi Haredi Judaism and of the Shas party, and former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron (former Sefardi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shmuel Rabinowitz (rabbi of the Western Wall); Avraham Shapiro (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel); Shlomo Aviner (rosh yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim); Yisrael Meir Lau (former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv). Source: Leading rabbis rule Temple Mount is off-limits to Jews
  84. ^ These rabbis include: Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky (Thoughts on the 28th of Iyar - Yom Yerushalayim); Yosef Sholom Eliashiv (Rabbi Eliashiv: Don't go to Temple Mount)
  85. ^ Yoel Cohen, The political role of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate in the Temple Mount question
  86. ^ a b Yated Ne'eman article
  87. ^ Haaretz
  88. ^ a b Jeremy Sharon (December 2, 2013). "Chief Rabbis reimpose ban on Jews visiting Temple Mount". Jerusalem Post. 
  89. ^ http://www.qurandislam.com/coran/trans/?currSura=17&currAya=1&currTrans=tafsir_en_sahih
  90. ^ http://haditsbukharionline.blogspot.ca/2010/11/merits-of-helpers-in-madinah-ansaar.html
  91. ^ "The Farthest Mosque must refer to the site of the Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock... it was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians... The chief dates in connection with the Temple in Jerusalem are: It was finished by Solomon about 1004 BCE; destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 586 BCE; rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah about 515 BCE; turned into a heathen idol temple by one of Alexander the Great's successors, Antiochus Epiphanes, 167 BCE; restored by Herod, 17 BCE to 29; and completely razed to the ground by the Emperor Titus in 70. These ups and downs are among the greater signs in religious history." (Yusuf Ali, Commentary on the Koran, 2168.
  92. ^ "The city of Jerusalem was chosen at the command of Allah by Prophet David in the tenth century BCE. After him his son Prophet Solomon built a mosque in Jerusalem according to the revelation that he received from Allah. For several centuries this mosque was used for the worship of Allah by many Prophets and Messengers of Allah. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 586 BCE., but it was soon rebuilt and was rededicated to the worship of Allah in 516 BCE. It continued afterwards for several centuries until the time of Prophet Jesus. After he departed this world, it was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE." (Siddiqi, Dr. Muzammil. Status of Al-Aqsa Mosque, IslamOnline, May 21, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2007.)
  93. ^ "Early Muslims regarded the building and destruction of the Temple of Solomon as a major historical and religious event, and accounts of the Temple are offered by many of the early Muslim historians and geographers (including Ibn Qutayba, Ibn al-Faqih, Mas'udi, Muhallabi, and Biruni). Fantastic tales of Solomon's construction of the Temple also appear in the Qisas al-anbiya', the medieval compendia of Muslim legends about the pre-Islamic prophets." (Kramer, Martin. The Temples of Jerusalem in Islam, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 18, 2000. Retrieved November 21, 2007.)
    • "While there is no scientific evidence that Solomon's Temple existed, all believers in any of the Abrahamic faiths perforce must accept that it did." (Khalidi, Rashid. Transforming the Face of the Holy City: Political Messages in the Built Topography of Jerusalem, Bir Zeit University, November 12, 1998.)
  94. ^ A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif, a booklet published in 1925 (and earlier) by the "Supreme Moslem Council", a body established by the British government to administer waqfs and headed by Hajj Amin al-Husayni during the British Mandate period, states on page 4: "The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.'(2 Samuel 24:25)"
  95. ^
    • "The Rock was in the time of Solomon the son of David 12 cubits high and there was a dome over it...It is written in the Tawrat [Bible]: 'Be happy Jerusalem,' which is Bayt al-Maqdis and the Rock which is called Haykal." al-Wasati, Fada'il al Bayt al-Muqaddas, ed. Izhak Hasson (Jerusalem, 1979) pp. 72ff.
  96. ^ Davidson, Linda Kay and David Martin Gitlitz "Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland : an Encyclopedia" Volume 1, ABC-CLIO, Inc, Santa Barbara, CA 2002, p. 274.
  97. ^ BBC NEWS. Warning over Jerusalem holy site
  98. ^ Jerusalem wall collapse sparks Jewish-Muslim row
  99. ^ "Arabs Vandalize Judaism's Holiest Site". Arutz Sheva. March 31, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2007. 
  100. ^ Rightist MK Ariel visits Temple Mount as thousands throng Wall
  101. ^ Wagner, Matthew (October 10, 2006). Rabbis split on Temple Mount synagogue plan. The Jerusalem Post.
  102. ^ The Times, October 14, 2006
  103. ^ Ynetnews
  104. ^ Haaretz
  105. ^ Sela, Neta (May 16, 2007). "Rabbi Shapira forbids visiting temple Mount". Ynet. Retrieved May 17, 2007. 
  106. ^ Kyzer, Liel (October 25, 2009). Israel Police battle Arab rioters on Temple Mount; PA official arrested. Haaretz.
  107. ^ Arrests at holy site in Jerusalem. BBC News. October 25, 2009.
  108. ^ Jerusalem holy site stormed. The Straits Times. October 25, 2009.
  109. ^ Clashes erupt at Aqsa compound. Al Jazeera. October 25, 2009.
  110. ^ Israel National News 15 July, 2010
  111. ^ Israeli lawmaker visits flashpoint religious site

BibliographyEdit

Books

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