Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fighting over Prayer

Who can pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem?

At the moment, only Muslims.

In October for one day, no one could pray there.  Access was closed, a step that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called nearly a "declaration of war."

In the future, maybe both Muslims and Jews will pray there--at least that is the hope of some Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem.  

But Muslims view Jewish prayer outside their mosque as an encroachment, a step toward total Jewish control of their holy site.  

Currently Jews can pray only at the Western Wall--and women are not welcome there, according to the Ultra-Orthodox.

Women rabbis are especially unwelcome.  They have to smuggle in a scroll of the Torah to pray.

For an explanation of this complicated struggle for power and prayer, see this article by Laura King, "An ominous Mideast shift":

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