Archaeologists are furious at the police for allowing the Muslim Waqf on the Temple Mount earlier this week to damage the ancient mosaic floor that covers the Foundation Rock of the Temple Mount.
Known in Hebrew as Even HaShetiya, it is the rock from which the world was created, according to the Kabbalistic literature known as the Zohar, which states:
The world was not created until God took a stone called Even HaShetiya and threw it into the depths where it was fixed from above till below, and from it the world expanded. It is the center point of the world and on this spot stood the Holy of Holies.
Adam and Eve were created there, according to tradition, which also teaches that Cain, Abel, Noah and Abraham offered sacrifices there. It also is the foundation of the two destroyed Holy Temples. The Palestinian Authority has methodically been trying to destroy all evidence of the existence of the Temples that Muslim clerics increasing teach never existed,
This week’s destruction robbed archaeologists of a rare opportunity to photograph the mosaic floor over the rock as well as the cave underneath, archaeologist Tzachi Devira told the Kipa website.
Devira, director of the project to sift debris from the Temple Mount, directly blamed the police for illegally allowing the Waqf to carry out work without supervision.
He recently learned that the Muslims were preparing to change the carpets that cover the floor and the cave, giving Devira a “rare historic opportunity” to photograph the mosaic.
He said “stubbornness of the police” prevented his entry while the Muslims carried out their work behind closed doors earlier this week.
Devira said that the Waqf was laying down new carpets purchased with funds donated by the Kingdom of Jordan.
However, Temple Mount activists who try to observe Muslim activity on the Temple Mount discovered that the Waqf exploited the changing of the carpets to damage the floor without legally required police presence.. Pictures that were taken by Muslims inside the holy site were leaked, and parts of the floor were seen, exposing mosaics from different periods.
Devira and others urgently appealed to Cabinet ministers, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who in turn asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene because of fears that the Muslims would destroy more evidence of the existence of the Temples.
The Yisrael HaYom newspaper quoted Ariel having written to the Prime Minister:
The Waqf began a renovation project at the Dome of the Rock, the site of the Temple, and this includes re-flooring and potentially additional activities whose nature are unknown, all the while using heavy equipment.
These works are unprecedented and warrant the review of the Ministerial Committee on Archeological Digs at Holy Sites, and the fact that there is heavy machinery involved makes this all the more pressing.
Police finally ordered the work to stop immediately, and Kipa reported that an Israel Antiquities Authority spokesman said “work had not been coordinated.”
Devira asserts that the Waqf is forbidden to carry out any work without the presence of a policeman and an archaeologist.
Below is video of Arabs dumping Temple Mount debris. Click on CC in bottom right corner for English captions.
Police barred Jews from the Temple Mount as of 9 a.m. Monday after failing to prevent masked Muslims from chasing the Jews away from the holy site.
The video below, at 1:14, shows police escorting Jews returning from the Temple Mount through the Old City, where a veiled Muslim woman motioned to police as she stood next to a poster that read, “I am banned from Al- Aqsa Mosque.” The woman helped the policeman remove the “offensive” poster.
Hundreds of Jews arrived at the Temple Mount on Sunday, the first day of Chol HaMoed, and the police were not prepared for such large numbers.
They allowed only one-fourth of the Jews to enter, according to Temple Mount activists. Police also limited their numbers while allowing Muslims, some of them masked and hired by Muslim clerics, to roam around the Temple Mouton and harass Jews.
Police did not interfere with the Muslims, none of whom were detained, and they escorted the Jews off the holy site as a jeering crowd of Muslims followed them.
Visits by Jews on the Temple Mount Monday were restricted to only three minutes. Jews were separated from tourists and subjected to body searches to make sure they did not bring any religious objects with them.
As the Muslim crowds grew, the police decided to bar entry to all Jews as of 9 a.m.
This year’s Moskowitz Foundation Prize for Zionism recipients will be Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, journalist Yisrael Harel, and New Guardians founder Yoel Zilberstein.
They will be awarded the Lion of Zion Lifetime Achievement Award of $100,000.
Harel is a former editor of Maariv founded the Land of Israel Settlement Movement.
Zilberstein founded of the New Guardians (Shomer HaHadash) project that protects Jewish farmers and their land in the Galilee and Negev.
The prize will be presented on May 19 in the presence of Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, the Miami-based philanthropists who established the prize for Zionism to encourage those working tirelessly to better the Jewish state for generations to come.
In addition to the Lion of Zion lifetime achievement award, the Spirit of Zion award is given to young Zionists who have begun their journey towards making Israel a better place. This year’s recipients are Tirael Cohen, founder of Kedma, student villages for social action and settlement, and Shira Lorentz, who established an organization to support lone national service volunteers, promoting their welfare and Aliyah.
The Spirit of Zion recipients will receive a monetary award and expert advice and nurturing for an entire year to solidify their ventures for the sake of Israel’s future.
Hundreds of nominations were received in recent months and evaluated by the selection committee that included former Defense Minister Professor Moshe Arens, Brigadier General (res.) Avigdor Kahalani, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.
One of the traits shared by the Moskowitz Prize winners and many of the candidates is that they do not see themselves as extraordinary people, but as those who simply fulfill their duty as Israelis, to make Israel a better and safer and a more Zionist home.
Saudi Arabia has asked the Arab League to discusses what it said was a move by “Israeli authorities” to change the names of the gates of Jerusalem to Hebrew, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA website.
The Arab League is scheduled to meet on Saturday at Sharm el-Sheikh.
Saudi Arabia presumably is referring to the locked gates around the Temple Mount, where Jews are barred from entering the Temple Mouton site.
Groups varying from several hundred to 3,000 people march and pray at the gates in the monthly “Sivuv Shay’arim” event, except when police decide they cannot do so because it would be considered as “incitement” for Muslims to riot, especially when the march coincides with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A 27 year old Jewish man was arrested on Sunday morning at the entrance to the Temple Mount.
Police found Tefillin on his person.
When searching the young Jewish man before he went up onto the Temple Mount, the police discovered the man was wearing Tefillin on his arm.
Tefillin are generally worn during prayers. Despite an explicit court order allowing it, the police do not allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, the Jewish people’s holiest site, for fear of upsetting the Arabs.
A lawyer from the Honenu organization is working to free the man from jail.