Israeli archaeologist scolded for Temple Mount reference at Jerusalem holy site

Marcy Oster

Muslims seen at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem's Old City, on their way to pray on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, June 30, 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Muslims walking near the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, June 30, 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An eminent Israeli archaeologist was nearly ejected from a holy site in Jerusalem for calling it the Temple Mount.

Gabriel Barkay was explaining the archaeological history of the site to a multi-faith group of UCLA students on Sunday 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 there to complain, The Times of Israel reported.

The Israeli news website’s reporter, who was accompanying the students, witnessed the incident.

The police told the guards that they had no legal reason to eject Barkay, but also advised the Jerusalem Prize winner 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 rituals 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.

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