20 Rabi uth Thani 1439 – 08 January 2018

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, condemned the inauguration of a new synagogue beneath Masjid al-Aqsa in December.

The dedication of the synagogue, Hussein said, constitutes a “blatant violation and genuine provocation of the feelings of the Palestinians” and “an attempt to wipe out Islamic history and to imprint the false Jewish seal in the region.”

He said that Al Quds,  and the Al Aqsa Mosque are purely Arab-Islamic, and the attempts to “legitimize the occupation” are baseless and in violation of international law.

“We emphasize that Al-Quds is an inseparable part of the occupied Palestinian land and there is no legitimacy for the existence of the occupation in any part of it,” Hussein said.

On December 19,  Israeli authorities unveiled a new Jewish synagogue under the Al-Buraq Wall – known to Jews as the Western Wall – in occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

“Following 12 years of construction, the new synagogue was opened on Monday evening,” the Heritage Foundation of the Western Wall, an Israeli governmental body, said in a statement.

“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” the statement read.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the synagogue, which was funded by donations from the Delek Foundation and Delek Group owner Yitzhak Tshuva, is deep inside the complex, adjacent to the area above which the Dome of the Rock stands, and the inner sanctum of what Jews refer to as the Holy of Holies in particular.

“The subterranean synagogue has a dramatic feel to it, with low arched ceilings and walls of ancient stones on all sides, and a unique spherical, metal ark to house Torah scrolls.

“The ark’s walls are formed from the words of the “Shema Yisrael” prayer and the Biblical Book of the Song of Songs cast in metal and running the entire circumference of the sphere, topped by a cast metal sculpture of the burning bush.

“The Western Wall Heritage Foundation said the synagogue “will be open to anyone who desires to study and connect” to it and that prayer arrangements will shortly be published,” the publication said.

In a statement, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Council and a former Al-Aqsa imam, stressed that the Al-Buraq Wall was a component of the Al-Aqsa’s western wall.

“The wall is part of our Islamic heritage and will remain so until Judgment Day,” Sabri said.

“The Israeli occupation has no claim on Jerusalem’s heritage,” he added. “This new synagogue… doesn’t have any historical roots.”

“All new construction by the [Israeli] occupation authorities in Jerusalem is illegitimate and lacks a historical basis,” Sabri said, adding the holy city “cannot be partitioned”.

SOURCE: Jerusalem Post; Arutz Sheva, Middle East Monitor