Higher than the Al-Aqsa Mosque: Third Temple Update

(Haaretz) Nearly 25 years ago, Rami Zayit, a scribe from Kiryat Arba, and Jerusalem architect Gideon Harlap, drew up the plan, “Mivneh Negev.” The plan was to open the triple gate in the southern part of the Temple Mount (the Hulda Gates) and to transform the subterranean spaces of Solomon’s Stables in the southeastern part of the Temple Mount into a prayer area for Jews.

The plan was designed to bypass the problems of Jews praying on the Mount, with specific reference to the tension between Jews and Arabs surrounding the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and halakha, which prohibits Jews from entering the sanctity of the Mount….

The religious right is skeptical of the government’s unofficial attempts to placate them. When it comes to the Temple Mount, the religious right is tired of denials, which ultimately turn out to be false, concerning the third mosque in Solomon’s Stables, the fourth mosque in ancient Al-Aqsa, and the archaeological damage to the Temple Mount during the construction of the Waqf (the Moslem trust) over the years.

Perhaps this is why now, of all times, MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) is presenting a plan of his own for building a synagogue on the Temple Mount. He is also discussing the southeastern corner of the Mount, and this is apparently no coincidence. Ariel is presently looking for an architect, and he plans to submit the plan for the approval of the Jerusalem Municipality’s planning committee – not that it has a chance. However, it will cause a commotion. “Such an act will repair a historical injustice much more than did the transfer to Israel of the remains of Herzl’s children,” says Ariel. “Throughout the generations we were expelled from the site. This is an opportunity for the Muslim world to prove that it is sufficiently tolerant to contain beliefs that differ from its own.”

Circumstances indicate that Jordanian shares in the Mount are on the rise, whereas those of the Palestinian Authority are declining. After many years during which the Waqf was operated by the Jordanians, the PA expelled the Jordanian mufti (Sheikh Abdul Qader Abdeen) from the Temple Mount by force, and instead appointed a mufti of its own (Sheikh Ikrama Sabri).