| May 31, 2018
Two encounters of IEA's Rabbis and Sheikhs group
By Dr. Yehuda Stolov | Executive Director
We met, around thirty Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, to discuss Jerusalem and Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa.
We learned the verses from the Hebrew Bible about Jerusalem as well as Sura 17 from the Quran that talks about the connection of Islam to Al Aqsa.
Khaled mentioned that according to the interpretation that Al Aqsa is the place of the Temple, the story about God taking Muhammad to Al Aqsa is a fulfilment of the prayer of King Solomon that the Temple will relate also to the far-away stranger. We also mentioned the similarity between the sura in the Quran and the story in the book of Ezekiel in which God shows the temple to Ezekiel, who lived far from the Land of Israel.
Rebecca told us about the early caliphs who encouraged Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. She showed us a photo of coins with the image of the Menorah and Arabic inscription.
We also talked about the relation between Al Aqsa and the prophecy of Isaiah that in the end of days there will be a house of prayer for all nations on the Temple Mount.
We met around fifteen Jews and Muslims to continue our joint study.
Waji mentioned that Al Aqsa connects all Muslims – who all go up there and meet each other. Reuven said that in Judaism it also says about Jerusalem that it is "as a city that is compact together" which in Hebrew is interpreted that it makes all Israelites friends.
Yakov quoted Rabbi Nevenzal who said that a mosque is a holy site and that anyone who harms it is as if he is harming God. He also brought the story of Rabbi Shmuel Salant, who was the Rabbi of Jerusalem, who would make sure not to pass in front of a Muslim praying, just as is the rule for a Jew praying, because the divine presence is there.
The rule that before entering the Temple Mount one must dip in a ritual bath led to a vivid conversation about what are the things that cause impurity and how the ritual bath is organized.