Relive the Past

Archaeologist: Prevent Muslim Temple Mount Denial, ‘Barbaric’ Digs

Dr. Gabi Barkai, senior lecturer at Bar Ilan University and recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for Archaeology, says Israelis must claim that Israeli antiquities law be enforced at Israel’s most significant archaeological site– the Temple Mount.


“It is the most significant site in the world for the Jewish people,” Barkai told Benny Tucker of Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew newsmagazine in a Jerusalem Day interview, “as well as the most significant archaeological site in Israel, and in spite of all this, Israel has discarded it. Over the past ten years, the Waqf has taken control, making major changes in the status quo: It has conducted illegal digs, built mosques and the like, and the situation has changed from one tremendous to the other.”

Barkai explained that despite the circumstances, “We have made thousands of amazing finds that have changed the way we understand that period.”

He told Israel National News, “For instance, we have found many small floor tiles, of different colors, which bear out the Talmud’s description of the floor of the Second Temple as being evocative of the ocean.”

Other finds have included fragments of stone festooned with ornaments known to be from the Second Temple Period, arrowheads from Nebuchadnezzar’s military and also from the Romans, as well as coins and decorations from many periods. Among the most thrilling finds were bullae (seal rings), ostracons written in ancient Hebrew script, seals, and more.

The “Screening the Waste” project is being carried out in Emek Tzurim, to where the mud was transferred. Emek Tzurim is located above the Kidron vale northeast of the Old City wall, part of the National Park around the walls of Jerusalem, and the project is being behavior under the sponsorship of the National Parks Authority, sponsored by the Elad (a Hebrew acronym of “To the City of David”) Association.

“We demand that the law regarding antiquities be compulsory,” Barkai said, “and our dominion be activated there. These are cultural property for which we have a tremendous responsibility towards future generations… I would like to see the removal of all the Waqf’s heavy equipment, and I would like to see the Waqf view the law; the Israel Antiquities Authority must be allowed to always be on site to control, and not have to come in various disguises and the like.”

Barkai explained that in addition to building mosques on the site, the Moslems clearly have the objective of detaching Israel from its past and Holy Temple connections: “They desire to undermine Jewish ownership and bonds to the Temple Mount. They’ve built a giant mosque there in Solomon’s even [under the Temple Mount] and another one nearby – but aside from that, they have an ideological aim which is even making inroads to naïve circles in the west, and it is called ‘Holy Temple denial.’ They act as if there never was a Holy Temple. This is very serious; regarding the Holocaust, there are living people who still remember it, but the same cannot be said regarding the Temple…”

May 12th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

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