This week, a rare photograph was taken on the Temple Mount. Taken inside the Dome of the Rock, it shows construction materials and rebar placed on the Foundation Stone, the place where the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant are believed to have been. While there does not appear to be any archaeological damage, this state of affairs is an expression of the weakness of the Antiquities Authority in the place that is the most important to the Jewish people. This weakness takes the form of the authority’s complete dependence on the police and also of the contempt that the Muslims show toward Jewish archaeological remnants on the Temple Mount.This is what the Foundation Stone normally looks like:
Here are the photographs of this desecration, from Makor Rishon last Friday:
The article mentions that traditionally the Muslims treated the Stone with much respect, only washing it once a year and then burying the dirt. Now that has changed; in order to beautify the Dome they are willing to use the Foundation Stone as a mere support for the scaffolding.
The article chronicles the authors going from one Israeli authority to the next asking about whether this work is being supervised or even is known about, and the answer is uniformly - no. Obviously the rabbinic leaders had not been informed that the Stone was being used as a support in order to beautify the dome - why should Muslims show even a pretense of respect the most holy Jewish site in the world? Neither had the police, or the Israel Antiquities Authority, even as everyone assured the reporters that everything is fine and being taken care of.
Moreover, every move to beautify the golden dome is generally political, in order to increase its allure to Muslims who all but ignored it even during Jordanian rule. Since 1967, of course, it has become a symbol and its picture is all over the Arab and Islamist media.
UPDATE: Another picture from the Aqsa Heritage Foundation site:
UPDATE 2: My Right Word has been all over this.
UPDATE 3: Here's what it looked like a century ago: