In Honor Of Jerusalem Day MKs Get To Dig Into Past.(Excerpts)
Ahead of Jerusalem Day, members of the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby spent Tuesday sifting through more than 2,000 years of history inside a large tent at the Temple Antiquities Salvage Operation.
In 1000, the Wakf Islamic trust, which is in charge of the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount, requested permission from the government to construct emergency exists for a series of underground mosques that had be opened inside the compound during the late 1990’s. Upon receiving permission, Wakf officials constructed an entrance to the underground el-Marwani mosque in the area known as Solomon’s Stables. During the exists’ construction, the Wakf removed some 10,000 tons, or 400 truckloads of ancient debris, which was then dumped in the nearby Kidron Valley and the Jerusalem municipal - dump some of it lost forever among the trash and other rubble.
On Tuesday afternoon, Knesset members got a first hand look at the site’s operation and were even given a chance to do some sifting of their own, as they paid a visit to the tent where Barkay, Zweig and a slew of volunteers were conducting their work.
“This could have been part of a vessel one of my ancestors carried olive oil in to make sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash,” said MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), as he held up a shard of pottery he discovered in a pile of the discarded debris.
Other MKs echoed Ben-Ari’s observations, expressing the importance of the site’s offerings for “all Israelis and all the Jewish people.”