Hillel Fendel of Israelnationalnews (Arutz 7) reports that the stone floor inside the Dome of the Rock is being dug up by tractor under the guise of “replacing carpets”.
Using the excuse of “replacing carpets,” the Waqf (Islamic Trust) on the Temple Mount began digging up the stone floor today inside the Mosque of Omar – the site of some of the most sacred areas of the two Holy Temples of Kings Solomon and Herod.
A small tractor was brought into the famous gold-domed structure and dug and removed earth there, with no permit to do so. Such work requires permission from and supervision by the Antiquities Authority, as well as approval from the Ministerial Committee on Archaeological Digs in Holy Sites.
The Antiquities Authority said the works were not coordinated with it, and added, “Further questions must be directed towards the police, who are the sovereign body there.”
The joint Temple Mount Movements umbrella organization, HaMateh HaMeshutaf, reports that any change in the floor, and certainly a penetration into the earth below, is liable to cause irreversible damage to the foundations of the Holy Temple and the surviving remnants of the Holy Temple periods.
This is understandably a cause of concern, especially as there is no information of how deep the excavation is. It is not known therefore what was found or damaged below the floor.
It may be helpful to remember that in 1959, sections of the floor were also dug up for the purpose of strengthening the columns and walls of the Dome of the Rock with reinforced concrete. These secretly taken photographs showed the bedrock below the pavement:
In all of these photographs, the bedrock appears to be located not more than a foot or two below the floor of the Dome of the Rock. It is important that this excavation is carried out under archaeological supervision for even if nothing other than soil is found, the configuration of the bedrock may cast light on the layout of the Second Temple that stood here almost 2000 years ago.
HT: Joe Lauer