Minister questions Temple Mount jurisdiction

An Israeli Cabinet minister drew censure by questioning the Jewish state’s legal right to the Temple Mount.

Culture Minister Ghaled Majadle appeared in the Knesset on Tuesday to address lawmakers’ complaints about renovations by Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount, which houses Islam’s third holiest mosque.

Asked by Aryeh Eldad of the National Union whether he recognizes that Israel has jurisdiction over Judaism’s most important site, Majadle, who is the only Arab in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Cabinet, said “no.”

Asked to elaborate, he said: “As a citizen, as a man, as a Muslim, I believe this should not be so.”

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Six-Day War, though it allows the Jordanian- and Palestinian Authority-sponsored Muslim Waqf to administer the Temple Mount.

Israel Radio reported that Eldad may file an official complaint charging Majadle with breach of trust, as his remarks clashed with long-standing government policy regarding sovereignty over Jerusalem.

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