The Muslims claim that Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, or, more accurately, the Al Aqsa Mosque that occupies its southern end, is the third most holy site in Islam. The Muslims regularly demonstrate their reverence by using the sacred plateau as a soccer field, much to the consternation of the Jews, for whom the Temple Mount is the most holy site in the world.
The Islamic authorities that oversee the Temple Mount could care less if Jews are offended by the soccer matches, given that they do not recognize the Jews’ historical and religious connections to the site.
But Israeli law does, and it officially forbids the desecration of this holy site in such ways.
Police officers stationed at the site are supposed to put an end to soccer games played atop the ruins of the biblical Temple. But just as Muslim intimidation prevents police from protecting freedom of worship for Jews and Christians atop the Temple Mount, so too does it preclude any interference in these acts of desecration.
In fact, insisting that the law be enforced in this regard could land the offended party in hot water, as a Jewish man who became upset upon finding Muslims playing soccer on his religion’s most hallowed ground discovered this week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently reassured Jordan’s King Abdullah II that his government would in no way alter the Temple Mount status quo, which permits the Jordanian-linked Islamic authorities there to forbid any hint of non-Muslim worship and to belligerently disregard any Jewish affiliation.