A videotape shot secretly at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by a disguised Jew shows apparent disregard for ancient artifacts by Muslims who control the area.
The footage was shot by a Jew dressed as a Palestinian. Areas of the Temple Mount, the site of two biblical Jewish temples, remain off-limits to Jews and Christians.
According to the Jerusalem Post, which obtained a copy of the video, ancient boulders are strewn near heaps of garbage. Two tractors are shown by piles of new stone slabs. The Muslim Wakf, or Islamic Trust, oversees the Temple Mount area.
Hebrew University archeology professor Eilat Mazar, a spokeswoman for the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, said the ancient stones on the video have a unique design linked to the Second Temple.
Though parts of the Temple Mount compound, which includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque, were reopened to non-Muslims five months ago, Israeli archeologists from the Antiquities Authority have not been allowed to supervise work there for more than three years, the paper reported.
The video was filmed by Army Radio’s Yossi Milshtein during an escorted visit to the site less than two weeks ago. The Post reports a section of the ancient entranceway to Solomon’s Stables shown in the 10-minute film looks like it is on the verge of collapse. According to Israeli police, the ancient boulders pictured in the video next to the garbage piles were left over from the massive construction work carried out at Solomon’s Stables in the late 1990s.
“There is no place for the existence of an Antiquities Authority if the holiest site in the State of Israel is being destroyed and abandoned as we see happening,” Mazar told the paper. “The Temple Mount is neglected, and it’s just a matter of time before it collapses.”
Israeli archaeologists contend a bulge in the southern wall of the Temple Mount is the result of construction work at Solomon’s Stables over the last decade. Jordanian engineers recently completed repairs on the bulge, the Jerusalem paper reported.