Holy Land Heads of Churches: no one must violate the “status quo” on the Holy Sites of Jerusalem

(news.va) Faced with the worsening of the situation in the Holy City, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued a statement to express their concern about the outbreak of violence and the rapid deterioration of the situation in the Holy City. They also call for the respect of the Status Quo, especially on the Haram al Sharif, the esplanade of the Mosques.
In the statement, released on Thursday, November 6 and sent to Agenzia Fides, the Heads of Christian Churches express ” serious concern regarding response to recent activity on Haram al Sharif which has included both full closures and some limitation of access to Al Aqsa Mosque”. To trigger the escalation of tension, marked by violent clashes between security forces and Muslim Arabs were the initiatives of Jewish extremist groups. 
The latter in past days have been staging demonstrations in which they try to enter the esplanade of the Mosques to revive the idea of seizing the area of the ancient Temple of Solomon, where for centuries there have been two of the greatest shrines of Islam.The groups in question – explains in the bimonthly Holy Land Fr. David Jaeger, OFM, Prelate Auditor of Tribunal of the Roman Rota and expert on legal issues related to the Holy Sites – “represent a new ultra-nationalist right, atypical for Israel”, whose claims appear delirious from a faith point of view and the Jewish tradition. 
The destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, was certainly a traumatic event in the collective memory of the Jewish people. But already at the time when the Temple was destroyed, “Judaism became the religion of the Divine Word, aimed at a ‘worship in spirit and truth’, no more shedding of lamb and ram blood”. In the two centuries that followed, the longing for the restoration of the Temple expresses the eschatological hope only in literary forms, whose completion is expected at the end of time. 
“The rabbis themselves, in order to avoid the abuse of the beautiful prayers that express the longing for the Temple of the Lord” refers Fr. Jaeger “have for many centuries established automatic excommunication for those who, before the end of time, dared to even reach the spot where the Temple once stood”.
In their statement, the Heads of Churches and Christian communities in Jerusalem condemn “the proposed amendments to the Statute of the Holy Places, wherever they come from. The Holy Sites – the statement says – need constant watchful protection so that reasonable access to them can be maintained according to the prevailing Status Quo of all three Abrahamic faiths. 
The existing agreed Status Quo governing these sites needs to be fully respected for the sake of the whole community. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present delicate political climate”.
On Wednesday, November 5 even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, through a statement by the Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev, had assured that there will be “no change” in the Statute of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem.