Berkoff blasts Israelis over Temple Mount


Steven Berkoff has launched a tirade against what he calls Israel's "completely insensitive" attitude to Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

Writing for the JC, the actor and director condemns Israelis for laying claim to the Temple Mount, the location of the Al Aqsa mosque, considered by Muslims to be one of the three holiest sites in their religion.

The Mount is also where the two former temples stood, making it the holiest site in Judaism.

The veteran actor, who is a staunch supporter of Israel and has previously likened anti-Zionism to antisemitism, implores Israelis to "leave the Palestinians alone in their own spiritual territory".

He says the freedom to "walk along Tel Aviv beach" is what should be sacred to Israelis.

"We must not risk this for something so utterly trivial, so shallow, just to fulfil our nostalgic needs."

Mr Berkoff writes: "Who could ever dream that the Jews, who have suffered so much, could be so completely insensitive to the spiritual needs of the Palestinians?"

He adds: "Why is there such an important need to step into the place where once the Jewish temples stood? It has gone, gone, over 2,000 years ago. Get over it!"

In October, Israel imposed restrictions on Palestinian entry to the mosque, following a series of attacks against Israelis.

Metal detectors were installed at all entrance points and men under the age of 45 were banned from attending to pray on a Friday.

Mr Berkoff writes: "When a nation is occupied, as the Palestinians have been since 1967 and have been obliged to watch their land being slowly but surely chewed away, the only thing they have left is their spiritual rights."

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