Likud Knesset member Amit Halevi is promoting a plan to divide the Temple Mount between Jews and Muslims.
Under the plan, Muslims will receive the southern Al Aqsa Mosque and its annexes and the Jews will receive the central and northern area, including the Dome of the Rock, the place on which it is believed that the Holy of Holies stood in the Temple.
In addition, Halevi suggests removing the Kingdom of Jordan’s authority over the Temple Mount by launching a process to remove its decades-long political status achieved through agreements with Israel.
The Temple Mount is not considered to be under Israeli sovereignty due to Jordan’s political status there, Halevi noted, saying it is a “sin to history” to give status to a foreign nation on the sacred site.
“Why not give them status in the Dizengoff Center as well? This is a terrible mistake. This status should be abolished. I know it’s an agreement between countries, but we have to deal with it. It requires change even if the process that will take time.”
Halevi also seeks to change the access procedures for Jews visiting the Temple Mount, demanding that Jews be allowed to ascend the Temple Mount through all the other gates, just like Muslims. At present, Jews and tourists are only allowed to go up the mountain through the Mughrabi Gate and only during the few hours when the gate is open.
“Let’s start with the facts,” Halevi told the Hebrew-language Zeman Israel news outlet, “the area of the Temple Mount is 144 dunams. A small part of it is Al Aqsa Mosque, at the southern end … The Muslims expanded the mosque beyond recognition starting in the year 2000, when they annexed Solomon’s stables, excavated and removed huge amounts of dirt with precious archaeological findings, and built another large mosque in the space.
The Dome of the Rock stands on the other side of the Temple Mound compound, with the Foundation Stone, — site of the First and Second Holy Temples — seated within. “This is most of the area of the mountain, which is first in its sanctity for the Jewish people,” he said.
Muslims call the entire Temple Mount ‘Haram al-Sharif,’ however, and claim the entire compound as sacred to Islam. “Because of this plot we cannot enter the site naturally, a place that belongs to us. The Temple Mount has become Judenrein,” he lamented.
Halevi proposes that Muslims continue to pray at Al Aqsa in the southern part of the compound.
“If they pray there, it does not make the entire Temple Mount a holy place for Muslims. It wasn’t and it won’t be,” he contended.
“We will take the northern end and pray there. The entire mountain is sacred to us, and the Dome of the Rock is the place on which the Temple stood. This should be our guideline. Israel is leading. It will be a historical, religious and national statement. If this does not happen then you are not actually the owner of the house. You are a klutz. Why are you even going in there?”
Amit Halevi makes it a point to go up to the Temple Mount several times a year. His last ascent to the Mount was during Jerusalem Day, when he arrived at the Temple Mount together with two members of the Knesset in Likud, Dan Illouz and Ariel Kellner.
“No one needs to examine the stones to know that it is ours … King David bought the land from the Jebusites. Soccer is played on this compound and picnics are held. We need to put an end to this. There are mosques in the south of the mountain and we respect that. Pray there and give us our share.”