JERUSALEM (JTA) — A respected Israeli archaeologist was nearly ejected from a holy site in Jerusalem for calling it by the term “Temple Mount.”
Archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay on Sunday was explaining the archaeological history of the site to a multi-faith group of students from the University of California-Los Angeles when two guards of the Wakf, the Islamic authority that oversees the site known as Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, who had been shadowing the group, brought him to Israel Police officers at the site to complain, the Times of Israel reported.
The incident was witnessed by the Israeli news website’s reporter, who was accompanying the students.
The police told the guards that they had no legal reason to eject Barkay, but also advised the archaeologist to stop using the term during the tour, according to the Times of Israel. He referred to the site as TM for the rest of the tour, according to the report.
Tour guides told the reporter that they had been reprimanded by Wakf guards in the past for using the term Temple Mount.
The Wakf does not allow Jewish visitors to pray or perform religious ritual on the Temple Mount.
Late last year committees of the United Nations passed resolutions that referred to the site only by its Muslim name, seemingly denying the Jewish connection to the site of the Jews’ First and Second Temples.