AMMAN: Muslims in Jerusalem took the unusual step of postponing important religious and family traditions to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque from potential infiltration of extremist Jews.
The Islamic Waqf Council announced that the Eid prayers will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday and called on all Jerusalem mosques to close in order to encourage their members to attend Eid prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Imad Abu Kishek, the president of Al-Quds University and a member of the Jerusalem Waqf Council, told Arab News that the decision was taken to thwart attempts by extremists. “There is genuine worry that extremist Jews wanted to use the event to control certain parts of Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
After the delayed morning prayers, the Waqf Council will accept holiday greetings at Al-Qibli Mosque, Abu Kishek said, from all who have come to stand up in defense of Al-Aqsa on the first day of Eid Al-Adha.
Israel’s police said it was monitoring the situation before deciding whether Jews wanting to enter the mosque area will be permitted to do so. Sunday marks what is considered the “saddest day” in the Jewish calendar. The Tisha Be’Av according to the Jewish calendar is an annual day of fasting for devout Jews because it marks the reminder of the destruction of the Jewish temple and other calamities.
Wasfi Kailani, director of the Royal Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa and a key Jordanian official dealing with Jerusalem affairs, told Arab News that this is the first time that Israel police have abandoned their normal practice during the most important Islamic holiday of “unilaterally” showing respect to Muslims of Jerusalem.
However, Israel’s leading rabbis have publicly opposed the general idea of Jews going up to the mount, despite public attempts by extremist Jewish groups to enter Al-Aqsa mosque on the Tisha Be’av holiday. Two of Israel’s most senior adjudicators of Jewish law, Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg and Rabbi Asher Weiss, published letters ruling that it is forbidden to go up to the Temple Mount (the Jewish name of Al-Haram Al-Sharif). The rabbis felt it was necessary to publicize their rulings in the lead up to Tisha Be’av this coming Saturday night/Sunday, when some Jews have the custom to attempt to go up to the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Kailani praised the people of Jerusalem for their sacrifice. “They postponed personal and community traditions for the sake of defending Al-Aqsa.” Muslims visit the graves of relatives and hold the traditional Eid festive meal after having carried out the adha (sacrifice) of the sheep. Kailani said that the people of Jerusalem made their decision despite the attempts at blackmail by the Israelis.
“Muslims in Jerusalem had no choice but to give up the holiday events to visit the cemeteries and choose to stay put at the grounds of al Aqsa in a nonviolent protest to protect their place of worship,” Kailani said that Jordan expresses appreciation for this decision. “This was a communal sacrifice carried out at a time no world power is left to pressure Israel from these repeated violations of what is holy to Muslims.”
In its editorial on Aug. 10, Palestine’s leading newspaper Al-Quds said that the “calls by Israeli extremists to crash Al-Aqsa mosque on the first day of Eid Al-Adha is a provocative escalation and a violation carried out by those with support from the extremist Israeli government and with the protection of its police and intelligence services.”