Prayer and “status quo”
Some time ago, CFI Headquarters in Jerusalem took a group of twenty staff members to visit the Temple Mount in the Old City. When they entered the site with a Jewish guide, they were immediately surrounded by fifteen armed members of the Israeli Police Force. One would naturally think that the reason for so much security presence would be for the safety and protection of the visitors.
The truth, however, is painfully quite the contrary. The armed police were there to make sure that our Jewish guide in no way was praying or allowing us to pray on the Temple grounds that are controlled and managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Wagf. It is amazing the lengths that Israel must go to keep their word and allow the agreed “status quo” to continue on the Temple Mount.
The original “status quo” was reformulated after the Six-Day War in 1967 by Moshe Dayan and the Muslim religious authorities. The Jews were given the right to visit the Temple Mount unobstructed and free of charge if they respected the Muslim’s religious feelings and acted decently, but the Jews were not allowed to pray. The Western Wall below was to remain the Jewish place of prayer. Religious sovereignty was to remain with the Muslims while overall sovereignty was to be Israel ’s responsibility. However, the Muslim site rejected such an agreement. Ever since private and public visits by the Jewish people have caused problems. Therefore, Israel forbids all Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
As Christian Friends of Israel, it is our privilege to come alongside Israelis in times of their need. The members of the Household of Faith struggle in the midst of political demands and religious regulations. Join us in December to raise support to comfort and encourage the faith community in the Land. Thank you.