Temple Mount Gate Bridge Work Suspended, by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz (Israel National News)
The construction of the new bridge to the Temple Mount’s Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate, which led to widespread Muslim violence, is to be suspended. The archaeological dig in the area will continue.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski announced Sunday night that completion of the bridge will be postponed to allow opponents to file formal objections to the construction work. To that end, the bridge building plans will be made public, giving all citizens the right to examine them. The city planning committee will provide a complete and organized urban construction plan for the bridge and environs.
Mayor Lupolianski reached his decision to suspend construction of the bridge in coordination with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places. Lupolianski and Rabbi Rabinovitch consulted Muslim religious leaders and with Arab residents of Jerusalem, as well, to hear their views on the new Rambam Gate bridge.
Ahead of the decision, Mayor Lupolianski also conferred with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, the planning authorities of the Jerusalem Municipality and the city engineer.
The publication of the bridge plans and the opportunity given to residents to file formal complaints is intended to combat the rumors promoted by Islamic leaders that the construction is part of an “assault on Al-Aksa mosque.” Such false reports have led to violence inside Jerusalem, attacks on Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall, and condemnations throughout the Muslim world.
The decision of Mayor Lupolianski effectively halts the bridge construction, which will limit access to the Gate, until all objections are registered and reviewed by city planning authorities.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority, which is conducting a dig accompanying the bridge construction, is not expected to halt its work. The dig, required by law at any major construction in the ancient city of Jerusalem, is meant to uncover and salvage any antiquities that may otherwise have been covered or destroyed by the construction work.