The status of Islam’s third-holiest site, Al-Aqsa Mosque, has been the subject of many academic and research efforts, most of them with an ideological bias. Israeli Jews consider the site of utmost importance to them and most research associated with Israel reflects this view. Some right-wing Israelis often try to stir up other Jews about access to the compound that houses the mosque, emphasizing that the Jews who won the 1967 war still “don’t have unfettered access,” including the right to pray at the mosque.
Arab Muslims fear Israeli attempts to Judaize the site, or, at best, to impose a policy where the site is shared with Jews, similar to the arrangement at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, where over the past 48 years prayer areas in parts of the mosque are shared by Jews and Muslims. For Muslims, the entire walled and guarded compound that includes Al-Aqsa Mosque — Masjid Omar, the Islamic Museum and the courtyards — is generally referred to as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and is regarded as one holy site.