The Temple Mount was under the control of the Ottoman Empire for around 400 years. Then, in a massive turnaround towards the end of World War I, the British Empire took over much of the former Ottoman Empire, including the land that is today the State of Israel. That meant that Jerusalem was under the control of England. This was heralded as a great victory for the Jewish people who had returned or aspired to return to their ancient homeland.
The British Mandate period began and would last approximately 30 years. But what a critical time span those 30 years would be. The population in the area of the British Mandate would rise precipitously as the Jewish cities grew rather quickly and Arabs came from Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere in search of better economic opportunities. Things were tough under the British Mandate, but it was still better than life in Syria or Egypt.
It was not a peaceful time either from the late 1920’s. Arab marauders attacked Jews in 1929 in several cities – Jerusalem, Hebron, and others. It all started from the Arab Mufti of Jerusalem, a friend of Adolf Hitler, who riled up the crowds to go and kill Jews. His rallying point was the Temple Mount and he claimed that Al Aqsa was in danger. Hundreds of Jews were killed by angry Arabs and hundreds were severely wounded. This was all just a precursor for years of persistent Arab attacks on Jews in the mid 1930’s under the British Mandate. This was also the time when the precursors of the future Israel Defense Forces started to take shape.
Jews were allowed by the British authorities to pray at the Western Wall, but were limited in how and when they could pray. On the High Holy Days, the British authorities forbade blowing the shofar.
In 1947-1948, as the British Mandate of 30 years was winding down, the Jewish people faced two enemies. Most, but not all Arabs in the Land of Israel opposed the formation of the Jewish State. And most, but not all, of the British Army worked against the formation of a Jewish State. But the State of Israel was declared and came to be in May of 1948 and Israel fought off more than 5 Arab invading Armies and somehow survived.
But the city of Jerusalem was split. The State of Israel lost the Old City and the holiest place to the Jewish people, the Temple Mount and the Kotel, the Western Wall, a remnant of the ancient Temple was under Jordanian occupation. For 19 long years, no Jews were allowed to visit the holiest Jewish site, until it’s liberation in 1967 in the Six Day War.
Today, the State of Israel is in charge of the Temple Mount, yet the Arab opposition to freedom of religion at the Temple Mount is fierce. Even the United Nations Security Council meets to discuss an Israeli Minister who walks on the Temple Mount. This report shows how the Arab opposition to any form of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is actually a dishonest excuse for attacking Jews. Yes, it is a lie that is used in order to ignite violence with the blood libel that Al Aqsa, the Temple Mount is in danger.
Some things don’t change.