Jerusalem replica of Dome of the Rock stirs controversy

The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sacred to Jews and Muslims

A replica of the Dome of the Rock, one of Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmarks, has been erected in a Palestinian neighborhood without city council approval, sparking controversy led by Israeli NGOs.

Located atop the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

In the town of Beit Safafa, south of Jerusalem, residents reportedly built the replica with donations and volunteers.

“Those who did not donate contributed to the physical construction work,” said Mohammad Othman, a resident of Beit Safafa. i24NEWS.

“There is no external funding, only the premises.

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Constructed of stainless steel about 20 feet in diameter, it is about a third the size of the original dome.

Yet he is noticed by the surrounding Jewish population.

Right-wing Zionist NGOs called on the city council to remove the structure based on the belief that it had been built without a permit.

“[The replica] represents the fact that there is no law or enforcement in the State of Israel, ”said Yehuda Sharabanay, project director of the NGO Im Tirtzu. i24NEWS.

“This dome was built illegally by the Muslim Brotherhood who placed it here in defiance of the law without any permit,” he added.

Othman insisted that there was no nationalist element involved in the construction and that residents simply did not have the money to acquire a permit.

Sharabanay insisted that if Israel respects “places of worship and other religions … the law of the State of Israel must be respected.”

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