Admission to Temple Mount Area Becomes Supreme Court Issue

The Israel Supreme Court has given the Minister of Religion ten days in which to show why the Temple Mount area in the walled. Old City of Jerusalem should not be administered by Jewish institutions and why Jews should not be allowed to enter the compound through all the gates leading into it.

The court acted on an action brought by two Israeli citizens who objected to the fact that the compound, in which is located the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque, is administered by the Waqf. the institution which administers all Moslem religious property in Jerusalem. For hundreds of years the Waqf and its Moslem predecessors have charged non-Moslems a fee to enter the compound and there was indignation among many Jews after the reunification of the city, when the Waqf gatekeepers demanded an admission fee from them.

Last week, without any fanfare, a second gate was opened into the compound through which visitors could enter without having to pay the Moslem tax. The Waqf protested to the Israeli military governor who rejected the protest on the grounds that it was written on stationery of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The Ministry of Religions is preparing briefs for submission to the court and may call Moslem religious leaders to testify.

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