The battle over the Temple Mount is heating up. It is no longer just an occasional violent clash between Muslims and Jews, but daily battles with increasingly violent and growing numbers of participants. Loyal “soldiers” in “God’s army” are deployed on both sides, willing to sacrifice themselves in the religious war being waged over one of their holy sites.
Heading the Jewish side is Yehuda Glick, chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Jerusalem last October. On the Muslim side are two organizations acting together, one for men, one for women, who call themselves the Mourabitoun and Mourabitat, respectively. Their names are taken from a phrase in the Quran that obliges every Muslim to be a “mourabit” (defender) of Islam’s holy places and to protect them against heathens who threaten to desecrate them. As the struggle over the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), escalates, with the Muslims perceiving a real threat to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the number of male and female recruits has grown. The police and General Security Agency (Shin Bet) put their numbers at more than 1,000 women and hundreds of men, who are paid up to 4,000 Israeli shekels ($1,040) a month for their activism.