Jordan condemns Israeli minister’s call for Jewish prayer on Temple Mount

“I think there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ’67,” Erdan said . “We need to work to change it so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount.”

By World Israel News Staff 

Jordan is rejecting the assertion by Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan that Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The compound also houses the site which Muslims consider their third-holiest shrine.

Israel captured the Temple Mount in the 1967 war after neighboring Arab armies had amassed troops on the borders of the Jewish State.

However, because of a fear that regional violence could erupt and taking into account the opinion of some rabbis that Jews should not ascend the Mount because of its holiness, Israel opted to maintain the Temple Mount under Islamic religious control.

Through the years, larger numbers of Jews have been going up to the Mount, as various rabbis have agreed to the practice, but the Waqf Islamic Trust has insisted on refusing to allow Jews to pray there.

The 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty granted the monarchy an official special status of patron of the holy sites.

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The latest war of words between Amman and Jerusalem came in the aftermath of clashes on Sunday between the Israel Police and Muslims at the site, who began inciting and using violence to protest a decision by Israel to allow Jews to ascend the Mount as well.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted on Sunday: “We condemn Israel’s violations of [the] sanctity of Al Aqsa, especially on this holy day. Its attempts to change the status quo in occupied Jerusalem and its holy sites will only lead to more violence, threatening [the] security of all. [The] international community cannot remain silent on these violations.”

Ironically, his reference to a “holy day” was regarding the Muslim Eid al-Adha, but for Jews, the day was Tisha B’Av, the most tragic occasion on the calendar, marking the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which stood in the area where Sunday’s Islamic rioting took place.

Police initially barred “non-Muslims” from going up on Sunday but later announced that such visits would be permitted. Later in the day, Erdan announced that, in fact, more Jews had toured the site than on Tisha B’Av last year.

“I think there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ’67,” Erdan said on Israel’s Radio 90. “We need to work to change it so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount.”

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The Israeli minister clarified that it would have “to be achieved by diplomatic agreements and not by force.”

Even so, Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufyan Al-Qudah “expressed the Kingdom’s absolute rejection of such statements, warning of the consequences of any attempt to prejudice the historical and legal status quo and the serious consequences thereof,” reported the Jordanian Petra news agency.

The spokesman reportedly said that the Jordanian Foreign Ministry had “sent an official note through diplomatic channels to protest and object to the statements of the Israeli minister.”

On Israel’s left, MK Tamar Zandberg, until recently the head of the Meretz party, expressed support for the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount but said that it should be arranged through a diplomatic agreement.