Replace the Muslim Authority on the Temple Mount

by Ezequiel Doiny

On April 7, 2023 Arutz 7 reported “Footage shows Muslim rioters gathering stones after morning prayers, throwing them towards gate linking to the Western Wall Plaza.”

On April 4, 2023 Arutz 7 reported “Violent clashes broke out at Al-Aqsa Mosque overnight Tuesday, during an attempt by police officers to evacuate Muslim worshipers who were holed up in the mosque…The Israel Police said that clashes broke out between police forces and dozens of young people who barricaded themselves in Al-Aqsa Mosque and tried to disturb the order.  “After attempts to negotiate to remove the worshipers, the forces were forced to enter the compound,” the police said, adding that rocks were thrown at the forces and fireworks were set off, and that dozens of suspects were arrested.  

“Ibrahim Al-Dabbas, a Muslim activist in Jerusalem, told Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV that Israel had committed a “crime” when it acted violently against Muslims at Al-Aqsa Mosque.   Al-Dabbas called for Palestinian Arab aid from all sources, saying that Israel is trying to change the reality in the mosque. “The fascist Zionist government is taking advantage of the Jewish holidays to attack the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and “drag the region into a religious war,” he charged.  

“The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization said that it is closely monitoring what is happening at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Muslim worshipers who were in the mosque called on the Al-Qassam Brigades to launch rockets towards Israel in response to the incident. 

” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh commented on the clashes on the Temple Mount and said that they were an “unprecedented crime” and that there would be “consequences”.  

” In late March, the Israel Police evacuated hundreds of worshipers who had barricaded themselves on the Temple Mount after the conclusion of prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and planned to sleep in the compound in order to disrupt public order during the morning hours…  

…The police said that the worshipers barricaded themselves in the compound in complete contradiction to an agreement with the Waqf and the rules of the place…”

On April 5, 2023 Arutz 7 reported

“For the second night in a row, violent clashes broke out on the Temple Mount on Wednesday night, as worshipers barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and police forces operated to evacuate them.  The worshipers shouted, “Al-Aqsa will be redeemed in spirit and blood”. According to Palestinian Arab reports, at least 11 people were arrested. Footage posted online showed some of the worshipers fleeing the Temple Mount in large numbers.   

“The Israel Police commented on the clashes with worshipers and said that “dozens of law-breaking youths, some of them masked, brought fireworks and rocks into the mosque with the aim of disrupting the order at the site – while desecrating the mosque.”  

“The police further stated that “at a certain point they tried again to close the doors of the mosque and prevent the worshipers from leaving, with the aim of barricading themselves inside. The police forces prevented the lawbreakers from closing the doors and barricading themselves, and helped the worshipers leave the mosque. In the meantime, the lawbreakers began shouting words of incitement, shooting fireworks, and throwing objects towards the police officers who were operating at the scene.”

On April 5 the Jewish holiday of Passover starts and thousands of Jewish worshippers pray in the Western Wall next to Temple Mount. The Israeli police has to protect Jewish worshipers praying in the Western Wall from those trying to disrupt public order.
 In the past that Muslim rioters disrupted Jewish prayer at the Western Wall throwing stones there, if it wasn’t for the Israeli police this type of incident would have occured more often. In 2020 the reported

 Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabbinowitz stated, ” I condemn this incident and call for a stop to the incitement Muslim rioters throwing stones from the Temple Mount towards the Women’s Section of the Western Wall, taking advantage of the days of Ramadan to damage the delicate fabric of the Old City. This rare, yet dangerous occurence was taken care of immediately by the Israel Police who stopped the rioters.”

 The Waqf, a Jordanian-appointed council, oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and do not help to prevent the violent riots in Temple Mount. In May 1, 2022 Israel Hayom reported

Members of the Islamic Waqf trust that manages the Al-Aqsa mosque enjoy a special status. They are employed by the Jordanians and therefore are supposed to safeguard the kingdom’s interest of maintaining the monarchy’s custodianship status there. However, it’s doubtful that Waqf officials, who receive their salaries from Amman, are trying particularly hard to solidify Jordan’s unique role there.  

“The recent events at the site indicate that Waqf officials haven’t gone out of their way to prevent the violent riots and the efforts by Hamas, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and other Palestinian elements to seize control of Al-Aqsa. Even if Waqf officials did occasionally attempt to temper the Palestinian demonstrators at the site, it was only for show.   

“No Waqf officials have stood up against the youngsters carrying Hamas flags, and it doesn’t appear that any of them are willing to risk their lives for the Jordanian king. A Waqf shift manager is always on duty and responsible for what happens at the Temple mount. The Waqf security guards he manages patrol the area with small walkie-talkies and cell phones. These are mostly used to document what they call “the invasions and provocations” of Jewish visitors.  The rioting by Palestinian youth is less of an interest to them.  

“An official familiar with the details of the situation at the holy site said Waqf officials are not graduates of any type of course that trains them for the job, and that their mission has diminished over the years to “monitoring non-Muslims at the Temple Mount.”  

” …There are frequent reports of Waqf officials who are arrested and expelled from the Temple Mount for varying periods of time, on charges of obstructing police officers or disturbing the public order at the site.

 “They focus on visits by Jews, they are very active in that regard,” said another official. “We haven’t seen them prevent provocations by Hamas on the Temple Mount. This is one of the problems, that they are perceived as identifying more with the youngsters protesting at Al-Aqsa than with the Waqf.”  

“All Waqf appointments are vetted by the Jordanian intelligence services, but the vast majority of Waqf officials are not Jordanians, but rather locals who reside in east Jerusalem…

 “According to Hillel Frisch, a professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and an expert on the Arab world at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, the Waqf in most Arab states “are Muslim Brotherhood adherents. They are co-opted by the state and closely monitored. Here, the situation is much more complicated and hence Jordanian custodianship much more problematic.” 

 “…According to Frisch, “Just as no other country in the world compromises its sovereignty in its capital, so should Israel have maintained its sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the most important site in its capital [when it liberated it in 1967]. Conceding to Jordanian control over the Temple Mount, when the real powers behind the scenes are the PA and Hamas, has compromised this sovereignty evermore to the detriment of the security of Jerusalem’s citizens, both Jews and Arabs.”  
“He noted that “most Arabs want to pray in peace on the Temple Mount just like the Jews, but the Waqf, presumably under Jordanian control but in reality manned by Hamas adherents, turn the Temple Mount into an arena of increasing violence.”

The incidents in Temple Mount would not be possible without complicity of the Jordanian appointed Waqf. Since the Jordanian appointed Waqf does not prevent violence against the Jews, he should be replaced by an Israeli Arab Iman. 

On December 15, 2021 Arutz 7 reported  “Israeli Arab organization bridges the gaps between Jews and Arabs in Israel: Yoseph Haddad, CEO of Together – Vouch For Each Other, is on a mission to connect Israeli Arabs to Israeli society…Haddad explains that while he “could be one of a kind because I speak out loud, I’m very far from being the only one.” “There are a lot of people in our society like me. The difference is that they’re silent and there is a reason why. There’s a lot of hatred from both sides, the extremist side. Keep in mind, they are minorities and not majorities, but they are very loud, and that’s why a lot of the Israeli Arabs who feel the same way, want to be an integral part of Israeli society, yet they don’t take action because of those extreme voices.”  He explains: “It’s very simple. On the Arab side they would say because I’m speaking and I’m revealing that the absolute majority of the Jewish community are not racist, and in fact they want the Israeli Arab society to be an important and integral part of the Israeli society, that’s problematic for them…”

Israel should take the administration of Al Aqsa from the anti-Israel Waqf and give it to the pro-Israel Israeli Arab organization “Together”. Israeli Arabs like Haddad have the same right to pray in Al Aqsa as Abbas. 

If Haddad is sincere about “trying to bridge the gaps between Jews and Arabs in Israel” he must acknowledge the Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is to Judaism as Mecca is to Islam. Jews around the World face Temple Mount when they pray, Muslims face Mecca even when in or around Temple Mount. 

Jews were not allowed to pray in the Western Wall during the Jordanian occupation of the site but Jews allow Muslims pray at Al Aqsa during Israeli rule. 

Despite the religious freedom provided by Israel the Jordanian Waqf uses the administrative control of the site to incite against the Jewish State. 

On May 11, 2021 the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported “…it is essential to note that the violence in Jerusalem was not spontaneous. It was clearly pre-planned. Firebombs were produced by Palestinian organizations, mounds of rocks and projectiles were stored in the mosques on the Temple Mount, along with fireworks that were used as weapons. This was mainly the work of Hamas, but it was prompted by other Middle East players, as well…Jordan, unfortunately, can be identified as one of the cooks stirring the pot…King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas have become allies, and they hope that the events of Jerusalem will undermine the Abraham Accord agreements between Israel and other Arab countries…”

On July 17, 2017 I wrote in Arutz 7 about the need to replace the Jordanian Wakf with an Israeli-Arab Imam “In 1967, after Israel won the Six Day War and reunited Jerusalem, Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan announced to the Jordanian-appointed Wakf that they would be allowed to continue to administer the Al Aqsa compound.

Nadav Shragai reported in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs “…Dayan decided to leave the mount and its management in the hands of the Muslim Wakf, while at the same time insisting that Jews would be able to visit it (but not pray at it!) without restriction. Dayan thought, and years later even committed the thought to writing, that since for Muslims the mount is a ‘Muslim prayer mosque’ while for Jews it is no more than “a historical site of commemoration of the past…one should not hinder the Arabs from behaving there as they now do.” The Israeli defense minister believed that Islam must be allowed to express its religious sovereignty – as opposed to national sovereignty – over the Temple Mount; that the Arab-Israeli conflict must be kept on the territorial-national level; and that the potential for a conflict between the Jewish religion and the Muslim religion must be removed. In granting Jews the right to visit the mount, Dayan sought to placate the Jewish demands for worship and sovereignty there. In giving religious sovereignty over the mount to the Muslims, he believed he was defusing the site as a center of Palestinian nationalism…”

Despite Israel’s generous decision to allow the Jordaniana-appointed Wakf to administer the Temple Mount so as to avoid religious animosity, Jordan and the Wakf have repeatedly used the control of the Temple Mount to instigate riots against Israel. For Islamists praying in Al Aqsa is more fun than in Mecca because they enjoy throwing stones at the Israeli police and at the Jews praying next door at the Western Wall. 

On October 26, 2016 UNESCO adopted a Jordanian controversial resolution on Jerusalem’s Holy Sites which deletes Jewish ties to the sites. The resolution, submitted by Jordan, uses exclusively Arabic terms to describe Temple Mount, deliberately deleting the Jewish connection to the site of the Jewish Temples

On December 23, 2016 Obama did not veto UNSC 2334 declaring that both the Temple Mount and the Western Wall are in “occupied Palestinian territory”.  UNSC 2334, which violates the Oslo Accords, was lauded by Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Dayan’s decision to leave the administration of the mount in the hands of the Jordanian appointed Muslim Waqf was his belief that “Islam must be allowed to express its religious sovereignty – as opposed to national sovereignty – over the mount”  That belief has backfired  Since now, with Jordan’s approval, the UNSC has declared that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall are in “occupied Palestinian land,” Dayan’s formula  calling for Israeli sovereignty over the site must be revised.

Why allow Jordan, a country that is hostile to Israel, and constantly attacks Israel in the UN, despite signing a peace treaty with the Jewish State, to have control over the Wakf appointment? Dayan’s intention that “Islam must be allowed to express its religious sovereignty – as opposed to national sovereignty – over the mount” could be guaranteed just as well or better if an Imam were appointed by Israeli Arabs who are, on the whole, less hostile to Israel than the Jordanian Wakf.

Israeli Arabs are professors, engineers, judges and doctors. Many Israeli Arabs are successful professionals in Israel and prefer to live in Israel rather than in the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

About 20% of the Israeli population (about 1.8 million) is Arab . Israeli Arabs know that they enjoy a better standard of living in Israel than they would under Palestinian rule. Israeli Arab income is three times larger than that of the average Palestinian Authority Arab nd most of the Israeli Arabs would not change their Israeli citizenship for a Palestinian one if such citizenship would exist.

In 2014 the residents of the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, bordering on the ‘West Bank’, were asked to vote if they wanted their city to continue being part of Israel under a peace agreement or if they wanted to be ruled by the Palestinian Authority. They chose to remain in Israel because they enjoyed the benefits of Israeli citizenship.

There are more Arabs living in Israel than in the ‘West Bank,’ Israeli Arabs have the same right to pray in Al Aqsa as does Abbas. Israeli Arabs who enjoy the benefits of Israeli universities, hospitals and high tech businesses should also support Israeli sovereignty over Al Aqsa where Muslims enjoy the same freedom of religion as they do in any other of the thousands of mosques in Israel.

Jordan or the Palestinian Authority should have no input on control of Al Aqsa . An association of Israeli Arabs who benefit from the privileges of Israeli citizenship should appoint an Imam to run the Al Aqsa mosque in place of the anti-Israel Waqf. Israeli Arabs should be given a choice: either replace the Waqf with an Israel-friendly Imam or risk the benefits of their Israeli citizenship.

Why should Israeli Arabs continue enjoying the benefits of living in Israel while supporting a Waqf that calls for Israel’s destruction?”

There are more Muslims living in Israel than in the ‘West Bank,’ Israeli Arabs have the same right to pray in Al Aqsa as Palestinian Arabs. Replace the anti-Israel Jordanian Waqf with an Israeli Arab Iman that respects Israeli sovereignty.

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