Residents, Officials Up in Arms Over Jewish Quarter Mosque

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the Old City of Yerushalayim from the roof of the Beit Hatzalam residence. (Flash90)

A plan by the Muslim Waqf to open a mosque in the Jewish Quarter of Yerushalayim’s Old City is a sign of the further deterioration of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and “a sign of the loss of control by police in the Old City and in all of Yerushalayim,” said attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, who was planning legal action to force police to prevent the opening of the mosque. “We demand that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the defense minister wake up and act. It is important to attack Syria but it is no less important to rule in Yerushalayim,” he said.

The mosque in question, the Sidna Mosque, is located in the center of the Jewish Quarter, near the Ramban Synagogue. It has been closed since the end of the Six Day War in 1967, but is still administered by the Waqf, which is a Jordanian-run institution. The building has been under repair for several years, and the Waqf plans to open it in the coming weeks.

Israeli officials have not commented on the matter yet, but residents of the Jewish Quarter expressed concern over the likelihood that Arabs would be entering their neighborhood en masse. Yerushalayim City Council head Aryeh King said that “it appears that our national rabbit, Binyamin Netanyahu, is once again acting like a bunny in the face of the Waqf and the Jordanians. You voted for the Likud, but you got the United Arab List.”

Jewish Home Knesset whip MK Ofir Sofer also demanded that something be done to stop the opening of the mosque. “Entry of Jews to Har HaBayis is considered a violation of the status quo, and Jews praying on Har HaBayis is a violation as well. But when a mosque is planted right in the midst of a Jewish neighborhood, that is part of the status quo. The time has come to stop standing by when the Jordanians give an order. Peace with Israel is as much a Jordanian interest as an Israeli one. We need to stand up for our own needs,” he said.