Israel Knesset mulls Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa mosque

Israel Knesset mulls Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa mosque
Tue Nov 5, 2013 13:12:08

An Israeli Knesset committee has held a controversial debate on whether to begin allowing Jews to pray at al-Aqsa mosque.

But there was no outcome to the Knesset internal affairs committee's hearing, which was repeatedly disrupted by Arab MPs who were eventually ejected from the room.

Israeli Deputy religious affairs minister Eli Ben-Dahan of far-right Jewish Home party said his ministry was seeking ways to enable Jews to pray at the mosque, which is in Israeli-annexed east al-Quds but administered by Muslim religious authorities.

Ben-Dahan, himself a rabbi, said they had approached the chief rabbinate, which is opposed to Jewish prayer on the al-Aqsa site, but had not yet received an answer.

He claimed that "if anyone expects me to go contrary to the stance of the chief rabbis of Israel -- that won't happen."

Arab MPs warned that enabling Jewish prayer on the compound would spark "a third intifada," or Palestinian uprising.

Committee chairman Miri Regev of the right-wing Likud ruling party argued that Jews should be allowed freedom to pray wherever they choose.

"We cannot have a situation in which a state cannot realize its sovereignty and people can't pray at sites holy to them," she claimed.

Regev also claimed that "we don't want to go into al-Aqsa or prevent you (Muslims) from praying there, but want to enable Jews to pray on the compound as well."

Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. Clashes frequently break out there between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli forces, who wanted to break into the holy site.


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