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Jewish Reporter Chronicles Muslim Harassment on Temple Mount

In another chapter of the ongoing story of Muslim harassment on the Temple Mount, a Jerusalem Post reporter was subjected to intimidation as she went to the holy site on a personal-turned-professional visit.

While on the Temple Mount’s grounds, Lahav Harkov was closely pursued by minders employed by the Islamic Waqf, shouted at by professional Islamic agitators, and chastised for physical contact with her father when taking a personal photograph for posterity. She observed a poorly maintained site, with rubbish strewn about and unnecessary damage to infrastructure of archaeological interest. This is not unheard of on the Temple Mount. Afterwards, she described the process as “degrading” and described it as Israeli Jews being treated as “dangerous criminals” on Judaism’s holiest site.

Initially planning a personal trip with her family, Lahav Harkov soon chose to document her experience through live-tweeting when considering the newsworthiness of her experiences on the site. Even before entering the grounds through the designated-for-Dhimmis Mughrabi Bridge—the only of eleven entrances to the Temple Mount accessible to non-Muslims—Israeli police began expressing their displeasure with what the Harkov family females were wearing. Harkov, along with her mother and sister, were wearing skirts that went past their knees. This was insufficient modesty, however, as they were given shawls to cover up further.

While on the site, Harkov and her group were shouted at by professional agitators employed by the Islamic Waqf. “Allahu Akbar!” was yelled at them repeatedly by the Morbitat, a group of hijab-wearing middle-aged and elderly women employed by the Islamic Waqf to harass and intimidate non-Muslim visitors. This has been ongoing for years.

Harkov and her family were part of group of sixteen visitors on a guided tour of the site. They were closely pursued by twelve operatives of the Islamic Waqf, as well as three Israeli police officers. Harkov, an observant Jewish lady, was at one point moved to tears by the experience. An operative of the Islamic Waqf immediately began shouting in Arabic, which was translated by an Israeli police officer, “You can’t close your eyes and cry. That’s like praying.”

The Islamic Waqf is a religious agency of the Palestinian Authority charged with administering the Temple Mount. While accurate assessments are difficult to come by, the Palestinian authority receives a huge portion of its funding through direct and indirect aid from developed states. As of July 2014, the United States has poured approximately $5 billion into aid for the Palestinians, most of which was administered by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians are among the world’s highest per-capita recipients of foreign aid. Between 2008 and 2013, Canada provided about $300 million in direct aid to Palestinians. There have been unsuccessful proposals to cease direct aid of the Palestinian Authority in America.

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