The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf on Tuesday uploaded pictures to its official Facebook page showing Waqf employees carrying out unauthorized digs on the Temple Mount.

“Despite the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Haram esh-Sharif [the Temple Mount] due to coronavirus, the staff, workers and guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque are continuing their hard work,” wrote the Jordanian-backed Waqf, which administers the Temple Mount.

The Arab Desk of the Zionist watchdog Im Tirtzu, which first reported the unauthorized dig, accused the Waqf of taking advantage of the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic to carry out illegal work at the site aimed at “destroying Jewish artifacts and history.”

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the Temple Mount, all digs must be approved by both the Waqf and the Israel Antiquities Authority. Despite this, the Waqf has a long history of conducting illegal digs, most notably in 1999 when it disposed of more than 9,000 tons of dirt mixed with invaluable archaeological artifacts, that are now being salvaged by the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

Students for the Temple Mount, a student-based organization promoting religious equality and freedom on the Temple Mount, also blasted the digs.

“The fact that the Waqf had the gall to publicly publish pictures of this illegal digging just emphasizes Israel’s lack of sovereignty on the Temple Mount,” said the organization.

Tom Nisani, head of Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk, said: “What is even more disturbing are the things that the Waqf doesn’t make public. The time has come for Israel to once and for all assert its sovereignty over the Temple Mount. It’s absurd that the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site—is the only place in the Western world where Jews can’t pray.”

Nisani added: “The longer the Temple Mount stays closed, the greater the chances are that the Waqf will destroy more Jewish history.”

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.