On 10 April and 9 May, Revava and other Jewish groups tried to march to the the Noble Sanctuary – also known as the al-Haram al-Sharif – but were forced back by Israeli police.
The compound housing al-Aqsa Mosque also contains the Dome of the Rock mosque and is referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount.
David Ha’ivri, chairman of the Revava organisation planning the 6 June march, is hoping to pressure the Israeli government to transfer full control of the compound from Muslim to Jewish hands.
The compound, which is considered holy to both Muslims and Jews, is currently administered by al-Waqf Muslim authority, custodians of the holy sites. Jews are allowed access to Jewish holy sites from 7.30am to 10.30am and again from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, Sunday through Thursday.
Palestinian officials including Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya have repeatedly warned against the consequences of what they termed “an attack by a group of Jewish extremists” against al-Aqsa Mosque.
“The threats by a group of Jewish extremists to stage an aggression against al-Aqsa mosque, involves real and serious risks when it coincides with an Israeli pullout from Gaza,” Quraya said.
Aljazeera.net recently interviewed Ha’ivri about his third attempt to march to the compound this year.
Aljazeera.net: You tried on 10 April and 9 May to march up to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and you are planning another march on 6 June. Why this persistence?
Ha’ivri: We have opened up a long awaited dialogue about freedom of worship for Jews on the Temple Mount. We understand that this issue might take some time to be resolved. We see this as a process; we will continue to press the issue until we see real results.
According to statements you made to the press, you are seeking to reclaim Jewish sovereignty over the area, but you have told Aljazeera.net before that you simply wanted more access for Jews to pray there.
From a press article: “We’ll commemorate Israel’s reclaiming of the Temple Mount and stress that it is the holiest site for the Jews and that Jews must be allowed to pray there unrestricted.” Are you trying to dislodge Muslim control of the holy sites?
The Temple Mount is holy to the Jewish people; it is the site of Solomon’s Temple. The site should be administrated by a Jewish Rabbinical authority. Al-Aqsa Mosque takes up less than 5% of the mount; we are not talking about that area.
How have the Israeli authorities reacted to your call for more religious rights?
Some public figures have expressed support for our claim. President Moshe Katzav has said that arrangements must be made to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. Others are more concerned with Muslim reactions.
Have you tried to meet with Palestinian officials or the Waqf to try and work out some kind of compromise?
We see the Israeli police as the authority on the mount and expect them to enforce our religious freedom there.
On your website, you provide links to Hameir L’David website which calls Baruch Goldstein a “soft-spoken, pious, humble and proud Jew who lived and died for his people”. But Goldstein is also the man who killed 28 Muslims as they were praying in a Hebron mosque. How is your movement associated with Goldstein?
Thousands of Jewish Israelis have been murdered by Palestinians. When you interview Arabs on other issues, do you also inquire if any website they are involved with has anything nice about Arabs who killed Jews?
You also wrote on Hameir L’David fondly of Rabbi Meir Kahane and the Kach and Kahane movements. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, these groups “organise protests against the Israeli government, and harass and threaten Palestinians in Hebron and the West Bank.
Groups affiliated with them have threatened to attack Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials. They also claimed responsibility for several shooting attacks on West Bank Palestinians in which four persons were killed and two were wounded in 1993″.
The US State Department lists both movements as terrorist groups.
I am a student of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane; his organisations were outlawed in Israel and listed by the US State department after his death. I believe that that was a wrongdoing of Israel politicians, who were afraid of him and his party as competition in the electorate arena.
None of the accusations quoted from the Israeli Foreign Ministry have been proven aside for “organise protests against the Israeli government”, which is not illegal in any democratic country.
But in the same article you say “we don’t use violence and break the law for its own sake.” What is your position?
That is my position.
What will Revava do if it is barred yet again from its march on Monday?
On Sunday, 5 June at 10.30 (0830 GMT) we will be petitioning Israel High court in Jerusalem asking them to overturn the police’s decision not to allow us to have our planed event on Jerusalem Day – Monday, 6 June.
If at first we don’t succeed we will try, try again. We will continue pushing the agenda until we achieve our goal.
What are your thoughts on the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza?
I am against the withdrawal. I believe that the Land of Israel is God-given to the Jewish people and that we don’t have the right to give it over to others. By the way, today’s polls show that Sharon‘s pullout plans are losing ground with the Israeli public.