Jews were denied access to the Holy sites in the Old City Jerusalem since 1948, when Jordan took it over during the War of Independence. In the intervening 19 years the Jordanians waged systematic destruction, desecration and looting of Jewish sites.
57 ancient synagogues (the oldest dated to the 13th century), libraries and centers of religious study were ransacked and 12 were totally and deliberately destroyed. Those that remained standing were defaced, used for housing of both people and animals. Judiasm’s Holiest site, the Temple Mount, became a slum.
On the Mount of Olives, the Jordanians removed 38,000 tombstones from the ancient cemetery and used them as paving stones for roads and as construction material in Jordanian Army camps, including use as latrines. When the area was recaptured by Israel in 1967, graves were found open with the bones scattered. Parts of the cemetery were converted into parking lots, a filling station, and an asphalt road was built to cut through it. The Intercontinental Hotel was built at the top of the cemetery. Sadar Khalil, appointed by the Jordanian government as the official caretaker of the cemetery, built his home on the grounds using the stones robbed from graves. Source.
Since that day in 1967, the Muslims have been trying to reclaim Jerusalem’s Holy Sites, not because of any ‘religious ties” but to de-legitimize the Jewish claims to the city.
The sad part of today’s struggle is there might not have been as fierce an Muslim claim to the city if Moshe Dayan didn’t give away the Temple Mount almost 42 years ago.
When Israel gained possession of the Temple compound during the Six Day War, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol wanted to create a multi-faith council to run the compound. Dayan thought it should remain in Muslim possession. In his biography Dayan clearly stated that the last thing he wanted was the Beit Hamikdash rebuilt. So Dayan “gave” the Temple Mount back to the Arabs because he wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be a third Temple. There was nothing that Prime Minister Eshkol could do about it, after all Moshe Dayan, was a war hero.
It would have so much extra meaning if Israel could celebrate Yom Yerushalayim with a beautiful ceremony where the two Temples stood, on top of the Temple Mount, but that isn’t possible because of Dayan. In fact thanks to the General, only Muslims are allowed to pray on top of the Temple mount.
The Jewish people have lost possession of the the Temple Mount only three times since King David purchased the site 30 centuries ago. Only once, was the site given away voluntarily. Dayan will go down in history as the man who gave away the Temple Mount and gave the Muslims the opportunity to make Jerusalem an Issue:
……….”It’s true,” Eldad said, “that the original sin was when the Jewish People, immediately after the Six Day War in 1967, ceded its hold on the Temple Mount in an unholy alliance between the Chief Rabbinate and Moshe Dayan – each side for its own reasons – but now the danger is that the Arab sovereignty on the Temple Mount will spill over to the Western Wall plaza, and from there to other places.”
Then-Defense Minister Dayan, just days after Israel’s liberation of the Old City, informed the Muslims running the Temple Mount that they could continue to run the mosques there – and later went further by preventing Jewish prayer all over the Mount.
“It was evident that if we did not prevent Jews from praying in what was now a mosque compound,” Dayan later wrote, “matters would get out of hand and lead to a religious clash… As an added precaution, I told the chief of staff to order the chief army chaplain to remove the branch office he had established in the building which adjoins the mosque compound.”Source Israel National News