Israel's intentions concerning the controversial Mugrabi Gate

The Mugrabi gate is used primarily by non-Muslims and leads to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Some accuse the Israeli government of seeking to make a religious point by renovating the gate.

 On Monday, December 12, 2011, Israel temporarily closed the single pedestrian walkway open to non-Muslims that leads to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel's Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which closed the walkway to the Mugrabi Bridge, cited the public safety of visitors who use the walkway as the reason for closure. The ramp is a temporary structure that is unstable, a fire hazard and prone to storm damage. It was built after an earthquake damaged the original ramp in 2004.

Israel wants to build a safer, permanent structure, but has been reluctant to do so because of the type of hysterical reaction of Arab officials that accompanied the brief closure of the current bridge. Egyptian, Jordanian, and Palestinian (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) officials characterized the Israeli move as negative, and their statements range from calling it "illegal" and "unacceptable" to "a declaration of religious war."

Jordan's religious affairs minister Abdul-Salam Abbadi criticized the Israelis for "further Judaizing Jerusalem and changing the Islamic and Christian character in the Old City using baseless excuses." One PA Official called the decision "illegal unacceptable and provocative [because] Israel has no right running these sites in the occupied part of east Jerusalem." Hamas accused Israel of "provoking the feelings of all Islamic and Arab people."

Additionally, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights "condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing policies adopted by Israeli occupation authorities aimed at creating a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem, the latest of which has been closing the wooden bridge of Bab al-Maghariba."

The outrage expressed over Israel's actions is less about the bridge than the underlying issue of who ought to have jurisdiction to control the gate to the Temple Mount. Palestinians insist this should be part of the capital of a future Palestinian state and Muslims argue they should control the area because it is the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. For Jews, the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, the site of the original holy Temple built by Solomon. Politically, it is also part of Israel's capital and subject to the government's authority.

The issue has nothing to do with freedom of religion or access to the Temple Mount. The Mugrabi Bridge is used primarily by non-Muslims. Muslims can and routinely do enter the Temple Mount from another of the several gates only open to Muslims.

Israel has demonstrated sensitivity to the issue by refraining from demolishing the bridge and building a more structurally sound one up to this point; however, the time is coming when public safety will have to take precedence over politics. The Mugrabi Bridge is unsafe and needs to be replaced. Providing this security to Muslims and non-Muslims alike who wish to visit the Temple Mount or pray in the mosque should be commended.

Mitchell Bard is the author of several books and is the editor of the Virtual Jewish Library.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

Comments

Spero News
 

Disney drops 'Good Luck Charlie'

Most popular show on television in its time-slot for youth under 15.

Conference to focus on advances for Paraguayan electronic media

An international conference on digital migration will take place in Paraguay on July 4, just as the South American country concludes an agreement with El Salvador to share electronic content.

Mexico: Food prices sky-rocket

Tomatoes are going for $5.77 per kilo in Mexico.

On Heaven and Earth: an excerpt

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, before his election to the papacy as Francis, conversed with Rabbi Abraham Skorka on the commonalities of Jewish and Catholic faith.

Texas Gov. Perry defies Obama and sends Guard to border

Perry visited border facilities where illegal immigrants are housed and said that Obama's policies are responsible for the crisis.

Chagas and chikungunya diseases spread in Texas

Chikungunya and Chagas disease are prevalent in Latin America. Visitors to those areas may be bringing it to the U.S. Dogs are a prime factor in spreading fatal Chagas infections.

After Israel, the next stop for Hamas is the Vatican

The Hamas terrorists have had no qualms about launching missiles at the holy city, Jerusalem, and the sites allegedly holy to Islam. So too they will have no qualms about attacking Rome.

Michigan subsidizes deer for wealthy landowners

Most deer reside on private land, according to Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, and thus need public money.

This page took 0.1240seconds to load