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Jun 11, 2023

dividing Har Habayit

Zman Yisrael (I think it is the Hebrew version of Times of Israel) is reporting on an interesting proposal. 

MK Amit Halevi (Likud) is putting together a plan to divide Har Habayit up between the Jews and the Arabs. I think of it as being somewhat similar to the arrangements in the Mearat Hamachpela in Hebron with Jews getting Ulam Avraham and Yaakov, and Arabs getting the [much larger] Ulam Yitzchak, and for 10 specific days each year Jews get the entire complex and another 10 specific days Arabs get the entire complex. The arrangement there seems to work. I said somewhat similar but more deficient and unlikely.

Halevi has come up with a plan to divide up Har Habayit giving the Jews full access to the central area of Har Habayit (including Dome of the Rock), where the Beit Hamikdash stood, along with the northern side. The Arabs would be given full access to the southern area where Al Aksa mosque is located and the areas surrounding it.

Part of Halevi's plan includes kicking the Jordanians off the Mount and taking away their special status they have obtained somehow via agreements with Israel over the years.

Halevi says the entire Har Habayit is 144 dunam, with just a very small portion on the southern side being Al Aksa. The Arabs have expanded their space adjacent to Al Aksa digging and adding and building. The majority of the Mount though is the central area where the Mikdash stood. The fact that the Muslims consider the entire Har Habayit as Al Aksa is a fiction with no precedent or basis, which has caused us to be unable to go naturally to the sections that are associated with us.

As much as it makes sense, to me, as a Jew, as someone who supports Jewish rights on Har Habayit, I don't see how this can happen without likely starting a major war. As I said above, it is somewhat similar to the arrangement in Hebron but more deficient and unlikely. Why? Because the Arabs, who have a stronger hand there right now, don't agree with Halevi's analysis. They consider the entire Mount to be part of Al Aksa, whether they made that up or not. Jordan is not just going to walk away from their control of the area just because Israel says get lost. Unless Israel is willing to create a lot of conflict over this it just isnt going to happen. Plus the northern side is where a lot of Arab activity happens as well as there are Arab houses abutting the northern side and there is a school there and people cross through to get to school or do go on their way. It might make sense and be more palatable to others if the division was more like Hebron where each side had access to part the entire year and then for x number of days each of the other would get full access.... I wonder how quickly PM Netanyahu will shoot this down considering the flare up it has the potential of causing...

And one can point to the story of King Solomon and the babies and say if Amit Halevi is willing to divide Har Habayit he must not really have a connection to it, while the Arabs who are not willing to divide it must have a stronger connection to it...

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  1. Garnel IronheartJune 11, 2023 7:09 PM

    The Mearat HaMachpelah compromise works because it was instituted as soon as Israel took the area over. They marched in and said "this is how it's gonna be" and the Arabs, scared by how quickly the lost the 1967 war, cowed under. Had Israel done the same with the Temple Mount - we get it Mondays, Thursdays and Shabbos, you get it the rest of the time, or something like that, right back when they held the keys to the place, it might have worked. For Israel to show up now, decades later after repeatedly giving into Arab demands on limiting Jewish visits and ignoring the archaeologist destriction the Waqf has committed, would be a non-starter.
    Plus there's the halakhic access. Sadly, giving the Jews the southern part is less of an issue because the Temple area is middle and north.

    1. From what I recall, the reason that we have that arrangement in Marat Hamachpela and not Har HaBayit is that after Dayan handed the keys to Har Habayit back to the Wakf, Rav Goren was determine that the same thing wouldn't happen in Chevron, so in the middle of that night, without permission he moved an Aaron Kodesh and Bookcase into one of the Halls in the Ma'ara.
      The next morning when Dayan heard about it he was furious and demanded the Rav Goren remove the items that were brought in without permission. Rav Goren refused but said that if Dayan wanted to remove it he could, and for the rest of history would be known as the general who forcibly removed a shul from Maarat Hamachpela.
      Dayan decided to let the Aaron Kodesh remain, and the rest is history

    2. The Mearat HaMachpela compromise was fully hashed out after Baruch Goldstein in 1994.

  2. There seems to be a massive problem with this proposal (aside from the obvious political and security issues). The Northern Part of Har HaBayit where the golden Dome is today is the one part of Har HaBayot which according to all Halachic opinions is forbidden to enter (As far as I know).
    The Jews who do ascended to Har Habayit go to the Southern area and the the perimeter, so giving the Southern area exclusively to the Arabs makes no sense. Unless the plan is to close most of Har Habayit to everyone - which would be the Halachically preferred solution, but political dynamite.

    1. the dome area is the central area (that is how I am familiar with it being referred to) and the northern area is beyond that. the northern area is also mostly not technically har havbayit

    2. Jews enter on the south side and move past it pretty quickly. Most of the area they go around is on the north side, around the Dome of the Rock (which is, incidentally, not a mosque at all).

      I think that things could be made a lot simpler if Jordan was removed (we can wait for Jordan to collapse, I suppose) and Muslim affairs placed under the Muslim division of the Ministry of Religion. Considering the number of Jews who go up, I don't know that things have to even be this formal- just open it for all.


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