This weekend, as Jews went to the Temple Mount to observe the mournful fast of Tisha B'Av, King Abdullah of Jordan expressed outrage that worshipers of the Jewish faith would long to pray at one of Judaism's holy sites. Now, The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon reports that former Shin Bet chief and current Foreign Affairs and Defense chair Avi Dichter has spoken out, defending Jews' rights on the Temple Mount:
“The idea that what was done in Saudi Arabia – where two cities holy to Islam, Mecca and Medina, are sites where only Muslims have the right to enter – will be done on the Temple Mount is a distorted idea that we will not let happen,” Dichter said. “We will respect the sanctity of al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem, and will stand up for our rights on the Temple Mount.”
Non-Muslims are not allowed into al-Aksa’s prayer hall, while they are permitted on the Temple Mount. Al-Aksa is the lead-domed mosque on the southern side of the site, often confused with the golden Dome of the Rock, which is a shrine, not a mosque, and is located in the center of the Temple Mount...
Dichter noted that there is an attempt under way to conflate the Aksa Mosque with the entire Temple Mount compound.
“Recently there has been a growing tendency calling for the ‘defense’ of al-Aksa,” he said. “This defense has grown a great deal, and from the mosque on the southern part of the Temple Mount they are now talking about the whole area of the Temple Mount. Israel will not let this happen.”