Who Owns the Temple Mount? Nati Shohat/Flash90

Who Owns the Temple Mount?

Events over the past few weeks surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have brought into focus the Muslim Waqf and its claim to ownership over the holy site.

What is the Waqf, and what is the source of its demand to retain exclusive guardianship over the Temple Mount? Waqf in Arabic refers to a piece of real estate held in trust and dedicated to religious or charitable purposes. According to Sharia Law, once a property is designated as Waqf, there can be no possibility of transfer of ownership, not through inheritance, sale or otherwise. Waqf properties are exempt from taxes, past or present, and any accumulated debts are cancelled. Over the centuries, Christians and Jews living in some Islamic lands were allowed to designate churches and synagogues as…