In the clearest indication of the growing dangers threatening Al-Aqsa Mosque, in an opinion piece published on Saturday, Haaretz discussed a group of rabbis who met to discuss the scheme for the establishment of the Third Temple on the ruins of the mosque. The newspaper published a photograph of a number of rabbis and engineers studying a map of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In a piece written by Professor Ronnie Ellenblum entitled “Bells are ringing for the ultra-Orthodox and Secular”, the paper discussed the future of Al-Aqsa Mosque which Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.
Although the paper did not identify the rabbis who appeared in the picture, one of them has been identified as Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, president of the Temple Institute, a religious authority that is considered the most enthusiastic about destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque and establishing a temple on its ruins.
The research also involved Rabbi Yehuda Etzion, who was responsible for implementing the Hebron University massacre which left 15 students dead or wounded, and was also responsible for implementing three assassination attempts against elected mayors in the West Bank, one of which injured the then Mayor of Nablus Bassam Shakaa, leaving him permanently disability.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to the king of Jordan not to take any steps that would change the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Miri Regev, MK for the Likud party led by Netanyahu, announced that she will not allow the continuation of the status quo Al-Aqsa, stressing that the next Knesset will issue a number of laws that will promote Jewish sovereignty over it.
Israeli Channel 10 quoted Regev saying on Thursday that the consecration of Jewish sovereignty in Al-Aqsa Mosque is the most important embodiment of the political, religious and cultural sovereignty of “the Jewish people on their land”.
The channel noted that this view is supported by the ministers of economy and housing, Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Ze’ev Elkin, the head of the coalition bloc in parliament, Danny Levin.
Note: this page was updated at 13.06 GMT on December 22, 2014 to clarify the source of the story.