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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Inside Hulda Gate to the Temple Mount

A visit to the Temple Mount and the evidence of illegal qaqf construction there.
TempleMountModelHuldaGates300w

The Hulda Gate is the southern entrance to the Temple Mount, also known as the ‘Double Gate.’

I was there, on the inside, in 1986, with the Knesset’s Interior Committee on its famous tour when we were later attacked by a mob of Muslims, throwing rocks and yelling Itbah El-Yahud (‘Kill the Jews’). It was a melee and I had to rush/run Geula Cohen north to the Tribes of Israel Gate to get out safely:

About 15 parliament members, including members of the Knesset Interior Committee and the right-wing Tehiya Party, toured the site protected by hundreds of white-helmeted riot police carrying clubs and plastic shields.  Witnesses said hundreds of police fended off the demonstrators, who surrounded the Knesset members and chanted, “With blood and fire we shall redeem you, Al Aqsa.”

More below on this.

Lenny Ben-David has now posted two pictures taken probably in the early 1930s:

The first shows the passageway leading away from it under El-Aqsa:

The second, shows a lintel portion and column head:

Much renovation work was done after the 1927 earthquake.

Here’s a screen snap of the southern wall just from the inside today, from a clip showing a column head and the window facing south:-

If its the same column, the head has been damaged.

This is the area I’m referring to (outlined in yellow), from Warren’s sketch:

The Hulda Gate is the first of a series of three, on the left of the marked box.

A bit more detailed:

This is the best source – R. W. Hamilton, The Structural History of the Aqsa Mosque. A Record of Archaeological Gleanings from the Repairs of 1938-42, Government of Palestine, Jerusalem 1949. And the Mandate-period Quarterly of the Department of Archaeology in Palestine.  Both located in libraries.

Here’s a short clip of the current entrance although that green doorway is the the same.

As for that 1987 visit, here’s from the JTA report:

…Likud MK Dov Shilansky, and Laborite member Dov BenMeir over whether the Moslem religious authorities were altering the area in violation of the law.

Shilansky, an outspoken advocate of the right of Jews to worship on the Mount, which is the site of two of the holiest shrines of the Islamic faith, claimed he discovered that the Supreme Moslem Council and the Waqf — the Moslem Religious Trust which is caretaker of the shrines — were converting an underground area known as Solomon’s Stables into a giant mosque with room for 100,000 worshippers.

He accused the Waqf of building unauthorized prayer platforms on the Mount and destroying archaeological evidence of the Jewish past But the worst violation, he said, was the attempt to build a new religious center for Moslems from all over the world in Solomon’s Stables. “I don’t understand why they need a mosque for 100,000 people. This is 10 times bigger than Al Aksa,” Shilansky said…

Ben-Meir, who is a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said the only evidence of change he saw on the tour of Solomon’s Stables was the installation of electric lighting.  He charged that the visit by the Knesset committee was intended by the rightwing parties to show the Moslems that the Jews are “the boss” on the Temple Mount. He said it was an example of extremists on both sides joining to “put fuel on the fire.”

Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem also questioned the wisdom of the visit. He called it “headline hunting.” He said there was no evidence of any illegal construction on the Temple Mount.

Shilansky led a group of Knesset members and Orthodox Jewish activists on a visit to the Temple Mount several years ago. They were surrounded by a hostile crowd and had to be extricated by police. There were no incidents during Tuesday’s visit. Police guards outnumbered the Knesset members.

And here’s the story in AP.

We all know who was right and correct – Shilansky.

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About the Author: Yisrael Medad resides in Shiloh and is a foreign media spokesperson for the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities.

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