JERUSALEM – The Hamas terror organization is planning a radio broadcast Wednesday from the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – while the Israeli government has completely banned Jews and Christians from ascending the Mount that same day for fear of offending Muslims, WND has learned.
“Our broadcast is very symbolic and is only the start,” said Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ so-called military wing in the Gaza Strip. “In the coming years, Hamas and other organizations will be broadcasting freely from the [Mount], which will be under full Islamic control protected by a Muslim army.”
Wednesday marks the Muslim holiday of Ein ul-Adhaa, which commemorates the Islamic belief of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael for Allah. The Torah says Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac, not Ishmael.
Wednesday is also the Jewish fast day of the Tenth of Tevet, which commemorates the start of the siege of Jerusalem leading up to the destruction of the First Jewish Temple during the reign of the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar. The fast also was proclaimed to mourn the First Temple’s destruction.
Jewish organizations and Temple Mount activist groups here were planning mass visits to the Temple Mount Wednesday morning during the fast.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the international department at Israel’s Temple Institute, which planned to lead a tour of the Mount, told WND the Israeli police informed his group yesterday they decided the Mount would be closed Wednesday to non-Muslims for fear of offending Muslims on the Islamic holiday.
Due to Israeli restrictions at Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount is open only to non-Muslims Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Waqf, the Mount’s Islamic custodians.
Meanwhile, WND has learned Hamas is planning to exclusively broadcast the Ein ul-Adhaa morning prayers and following sermons from the Mount’s Al Aqsa Mosque, which Muslims say is their third holiest site.
The services are slated to be aired on Al Aqsa radio, Hamas’ official radio network. The station routinely broadcasts sermons and speeches from Hamas leaders and Hamas-affiliated sheiks calling for the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews. It has been airing commercials the past few days promoting Wednesday’s Temple Mount broadcast.
All broadcasts from the Mount must be approved by the Waqf, which guard the Muslim entrances to the Temple Mount along with the Israeli police. Broadcasts in theory must also be approved by the Israeli police, but cameramen and reporters routinely enter the site from Muslim gates to broadcast without prior police approval as long as Waqf agents allow the entry.
Asked if the police approved the Hamas broadcast, Jerusalem Police Spokesman Shmulik Ben Ruby told WND, “As far as I know, the Israeli police is not engaged with this issue.”
Ben Ruby confirmed the Mount would be completely closed to non-Muslims on Wednesday due to the Islamic holiday.
Hamas would not say how they planned to coordinate the broadcast from the Temple Mount. But Wednesday’s scheduled broadcast would not be the first by a terror group.
WND broke the story in September that the Islamic Jihad terror organization exclusively broadcast daily Ramadan prayers from the Mount on their official station, the Al Quds Network. The radio network regularly features Iranian and anti-Semitic propaganda and death threats against Jews.
According to Palestinian security sources speaking to WND, Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds radio used technicians from the Voice of Palestine, the official radio network of the Palestinian Authority, to facilitate the Temple Mount broadcasts, even though the program is not aired on PA radio. The Voice of Palestine has a permit to broadcast from the Mount.
The Palestinian sources said the Waqf as well as the PA was “well aware” Islamic Jihad was broadcasting from the Mount.
Islamic Jihad, together with Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, took responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the last three years. Islamic Jihad also carried out scores of deadly rocket and shooting attacks and is one of the most active Palestinian terrorist organizations.
Rabbi Richman called Wednesday’s scheduled Hamas broadcast “astounding.”
“The siege of Nebuchadnezzar is recurring again in our time, this time through the Israeli government, which is banning Jews and Christians but is allowing Hamas, who will defile God in our holiest place. There is no greater demonstration of the total spiritual bankruptcy of the Israeli government.”
Temple Mount: No prayer zone
The First Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God’s “presence” dwelt. The Al Aqsa Mosque now sits on the site.
The Temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.
The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.
The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark where Muslims came to believe Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven.
Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night from “a sacred mosque” – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to “the farthest mosque” and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.
Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.
The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003 but only on select days for certain hours.
During “open” days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any “holy objects” to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.
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