Israeli ministry works to allow Jews to pray in Al-Aqsa
By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout, Wednesday, April 30, 2014
JERUSALEM – A senior official at Israel's Religious Affairs Ministry has revealed that his ministry was working on new regulations aimed at allowing Jews to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), Israeli media has reported.
"Whoever is permitted by his primary rabbi to ascend to the Temple Mount [the term used by Jews to refer to the compound] should and may ascend to the Temple Mount and pray there," Deputy Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan said in a video message shown at a Tuesday conference held to discuss construction of a Jewish temple on the site on which the Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands.
"We have set regulations to arrange prayers on the Mount," Ben-Dahan was quoted as saying in his message by the Israel National News website.
"I expect and trust that the prime minister and the Israeli government will adopt these regulations, give them legal standing, and allow any Jew who wants to ascend to the Temple Mount and pray there, to pray there," he said.
Ben-Dahan also criticized the "discrimination" associated with the site, noting that only Jews were forbidden to pray inside the compound.
The conference, held under the theme "Returning the Temple Mount," was organized by extremist rabbi Yehuda Glick.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It unilaterally annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the holy city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity.
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