The head of the Likud Party's foreign relations department gave a massive boost to the claims of Islam - Israel's most implacable enemy - Tuesday when he inferred that Jerusalem's Temple Mount was not sacred to the Jewish people.
The Temple Mount is the Jewish people's holiest site.
Arab and other Muslim leaders and clerics, who assert that the hill is Islam's third holiest site, have long and fiercely maintained that the Jews have no historical connection or claim to the outcrop the Bible calls God's "holy hill."
While secular Jews often appear content to limit their "right" to the Western Wall, Israelis who have the fear of the Lord and who know that their nation's First and Second Temples were built on top of the mount will not agree to relinquishing it to the followers of another god.
"It is not in Israel's interest to be in any way in charge of the holy places other than those of the Jewish faith," the secular Shoval said, adding he believed there were "ways to adopt formulae to this end."
Using politico-speech (universally known as the language of compromise) Shoval first insisted that "the question of Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem, and first and foremost the Temple Mount, is not negotiable."
But he then reminded his audience that "actually there have been plans for a long time" to find a way around this "immovable" political reality.
"Arab and Muslim countries, Jordan for instance, could play a leading role," and it was even possible that the Palestinian Authority could "run" the Temple Mount if there were real peace.
Likud official infers Temple Mount not Jewish holy place
According to the teachings and traditions of Islam, Jewish or Christian sovereignty is never permissible over territory that has - at any point in history - been under Muslim control.
As Hebrew University Professor of Islamic Studies Moshe Sharon has explained before audiences from all over the world: Islam holds that "any territory that comes under Islamic rule cannot be de-Islamized. ... It is unthinkable that non-Muslims shall rule over Muslims."
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