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Jerusalem Life

| Report: No change to Mosque in Old City Jewish Quarter (Updated)

Zev Stub    
Sunday, 01 December 1:22 PM
In response to a flurry of recent articles with titles like Jewish Quarter Residents Fear Unrest Following Opening of Mosque Next to Jerusalem’s Hurva Synagogue, we just received the following report from an Old City resident: 

I had a long conversation  with Ami Meitav who is in charge of communication between different communities in the Old City and he has confirmed that there will be no change in the status quo regarding the Sidna Omar mosque. Someone in the Wakf was trying to stir up trouble and he is going to find out who it is, but there will be no prayers, lights or meuzzine on the mosque.

 

Update Dec 1:

 

Last week I received information from a reliable source regarding the renovations of the mosque next to the Hurva and the intentions of the Wakf to appoint an Imam and hold prayers in the building. I turned to the mayor and other politicians, the press and the residents to pressure anyone they can think of to ensure that the status quo of the building is upheld.

It now appears that the rumors were unfounded.  I met this afternoon with a sheikh from the Wakf (about to go out on pension, but still in the know and was at meetings all day yesterday on the matter) and he assured me that there will be no prayers in the mosque (aside from the one or two people who drop in once a day). Neither will they be lighting up the mosque. We spoke about the need to improve communication between our communities for the betterment of all.

I spoke with the Pam"i representative who oversees involving residents (sounds better in Hebrew שיתוף ציבורי) and he realizes that a big mistake was made by not involving the community and explaining the background for the renovations and to allay our concerns. The heavy rains last year caused water damage throughout the building and there was a need to strengthen the stones, paint, remove the water damaged prayer rugs etc.

Bezrat Hashem the status quo is being upheld in the neighborhood and all involved learned an important lesson in the necessity for communication when dealing with such potentially explosive issues.

Shosh Selavan

Photo of the Sidna Omar mosque and Hurva Synagogue taken by Noam Chen for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.


         
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