Islamic authorities managing the Temple Mount attempted to have a veteran Israeli archaeologist ejected from the Jerusalem flashpoint holy site on Sunday for using the term “Temple Mount” in a lecture to American students. Waqf guards brought him to Israeli police at the site to complain, and the police, while saying there were no legal grounds to eject him, advised him to refrain from using the phrase “Temple Mount” for the rest of the group’s visit.Sigh.
A multi-faith group of students from the University of California, Los Angeles, was visiting the Temple Mount as part of a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories to understand facts on the ground. Dr. Gabriel Barkay was brought in to explain the archaeological history of the site.
Barkay, a veteran Israeli archaeologist, devotes much of his time in recent years to sifting through tons of fill illegally excavated from the Temple Mount by the Waqf — the Islamic endowment charged with administering the flashpoint holy site — in the 1990s.
The incident, which was witnessed by this reporter and which other tour guides said was not without precedent, highlighted ever-present tensions over the nomenclature used at the site, months after Israel furiously protested a UNESCO resolution that refers to The Temple Mount and Western Wall as solely Muslim sites.
Dr. Gabriel Barkay (Barkai) is also the head of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, on which more here and many, many links.