Chief IDF Rabbi: Temple Mount Not for Muslims

Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz questions Islamic religious significance of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ilan Assayag

Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz recently said the Temple Mount has no religious significance to Muslims and questioned their affiliation to the site.

“Jerusalem isn’t mentioned in the Koran even once. Not even in a hint. The Arabs are imagining it,” Peretz said at a lecture at the Otzem Pre-Military Torah Academy in Moshav Naveh earlier this month. The lesson was posted on the Kipa website.

Talking about the recent events on the Temple Mount and the Arab protests that the site was being taken over by Jews, Peretz said “the only mosque any holiness is attributed to is Al-Aqsa. The rest of the Temple Mount has no religious significance.”

“What is the Al-Aqsa Mosque?” Peretz asked. “It says in the Koran ‘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?

“Ninety percent of the Arabs don’t know a thing about the Koran. I tell you with full authority. We know better than many of them,” he said.

In answer to a question about the dream [about Mohammed the Prophet going to the Temple Mount], Peretz said “there’s a commentator who explained something in the Koran by this dream. It’s not Rashi commentary. It’s a legend that was added on.”

Peretz told the students he used to live in the Old City of Jerusalem before moving to Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip. “When the people of Ateret Cohanim [a religious settler organization] entered the Muslim Quarter an Arab came out to them with a key and said ‘For 19 years I’ve been waiting for you because I knew it was yours.’ He saw the Jews returning in the Six-Day War and gave us back what was ours.

“Why did they know to give us back the Land of Israel after 2,000 years? Because we opened the Bible and showed that it was ours,” he said.

Talking about the summer’s offensive in Gaza, Peretz said “the dissenters of 8200 are negligible. But in Operation Protective Edge there were 20,000 soldiers and not an iota of dissent or disobedience.”

Contrary to Peretz’s statement, at least two combatants – doctors – refused to take part in the war in Gaza and were court martialed.