Suggested prayer times would be separate, held for Muslims and Jews with overlap for Christians at Jerusalem’s most holy site.
By LAHAV HARKOV
On the heels of a US State Department report criticizing Israel for not allowing non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount, MK Arye Eldad (National Union) has drafted a bill mandating separate hours for Jews and Muslims to pray at the holy site.
“The Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish People, where the First and Second Temple stood,” Eldad explained. “It is also a holy place for Muslims, and is the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It also has a special status in Christianity.”
As such, the National Union MK seeks to anchor in legislation freedom of worship at the Temple Mount for all three religions.
The bill, which has yet to be officially submitted because the Knesset is on an extended summer recess, states that the site must be open to Jews every day, except for Friday, the Muslim holy day, and on other Muslim holidays. It will be open to Muslims every day except for Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
Jews would be allowed to worship on the Temple Mount from 8:00-11:00, 14:00-18:00 and 21:00-23:00. Muslims could pray at the site from 4:00-7:00, 11:00-14:00 and 18:00-21:00.
Christian and other tourists’ visiting hours would overlap with some of the Jewish and Muslim hours.
If Muslim and Jewish holidays fall on the same day, the bill calls for a special schedule to be established by the Religious Services Ministry.
The US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report was released to Congress and the public two weeks ago.
The report points out that all non-Muslims are denied opportunities to worship at the Temple Mount, because of security concerns.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=280937