Chabad Temple seminar rankles Islamists

Islamic Movement spokesman says brief course "represents real danger" to Aksa Mosque.

old city 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
old city 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A brief course offered by the Chabad Hassidim about the Temple endangers the Aksa Mosque, Islamic Movement spokesman Zahi Nujidat said Tuesday. The three-part seminar, which is being held this week and next week at some 200 Chabad Houses throughout the country, comes less than two weeks before Tisha Be'av, which marks the destruction of the Temple. "We view this as a serious and drastic move toward the fruition of extremist organizations to establish a temple in place of al-Aksa Mosque," Zahi Nujidat said. "This represents a real danger to al-Aksa." A similar condemnation was issued in Arabic this week by the Aksa Foundation. The Aksa Foundation was cynically pointing to the courses, which are held in three sessions, as proof that the Israeli establishment wants to damage the mosque, Chabad spokesman Rabbi Menachem Brod said. "This is a pure provocation by an organization that is exploiting any opportunity to incite the Arab public to violence against Israel," he said. "Every time they are looking for some other excuse to incite, and now they found it in the course." The courses, which are being attended by "tens of thousands" of young students, include a "virtual tour" of the Temple Mount and explanations of daily Temple life, as well as the job of the kohanim (priests), Brod said. In contrast to members of the modern Orthodox Zionist rabbinical leadership, Chabad hassidim do not even ascend the Temple Mount, he said.