The Israeli government is letting Jews pray inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount, in a move that jeopardizes shifting the site’s status quo.
In a story published on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Rabbi Yehudah Glick made “little effort to hide his prayers” and was even live streaming them. The area is in Jerusalem’s Old City and is part of the territory Israel occupied following the 1967 war. Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1980, a step that is not recognized by the international community.
In 1967, Jordan and Israel agreed that the Waqf, or the Islamic trust, would have control over matters inside the compound, while Israel would control external security. Non-Muslims would be allowed onto the site during visiting hours but would not be allowed to pray there.
Movements such as the Temple Mount Faithful and the Temple Institute have challenged the Israeli government’s ban on allowing Jews to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The formal arrangement agreed on by Jordan and Israel is in place to avoid conflict at the flashpoint site.
However, Israeli forces routinely allow groups of Jewish settlers who live in the occupied Palestinian territories to descend on the Al-Aqsa compound under police and army protection, stirring Palestinian fears of an Israeli takeover.