Israel’s Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz has claimed that the religious significance of Jerusalem’s al-Haram al-Sharif in Islam is an invention, stating that the vast majority of Muslims know nothing about the Quran.
During a lecture at the Otzem Pre-Military Torah Academy in Moshav Naveh, he claimed that Muslims have no real reason to pray at Temple Mount, known as al-Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) in Arabic.
“The only mosque any holiness is attributed to is Al-Aqsa. The rest of the Temple Mount has no religious significance,” Peretz claimed.
“What is the Al-Aqsa Mosque?” Peretz asked. “It says in the Quran ‘make me a mosque on the edge.’ Al-Aqsa is on the edge. The edge of what? Mecca? The edge of the Arabian Peninsula. When they bow, they bow to Mecca but their backside is turned to the Temple Mount, because the edge for them is the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. So what are they doing on the Temple Mount?”
He added: “Jerusalem isn’t mentioned in the Quran even once. Not even in a hint. The Arabs are imagining it.”
“Ninety percent of the Arabs don’t know a thing about the Quran. I tell you with full authority. We know better than many of them,” he said.
In answer to a question about the dream [during Mohammed the Prophet goes to the holy site], Peretz said: “there’s a commentator who explained something in the Quran by this dream. It’s not Rashi commentary. It’s a legend that was added on.”
Jews claim that the Al-Aqsa compound lies on the site of Temple Mount, the most holy site in Judaism, however many Rabbi’s, including Israel’s chief rabbinate, believe that entering the area is a violation of Jewish law, and that the Temple can only be rebuilt and sacrifices resumed when the Jewish messiah returns.
Right wing Jews have led a campaign to increase Jewish ownership over the site, which has led to wide scale clashes, especially in East Jerusalem.
Ariel Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa flanked by a 1,000-strong security force is believed to have sparked the second intifada.