passover came early to Jerusalem this year when a group of Jewish religious nationalists gathered in the Old City of Jerusalem April 6 for a live reenactment of the original, biblical holiday ritual: sacrificing a lamb.
Hundreds gathered in the Jewish Quarter to watch barefoot, white-robed priests slaughter, skin and roast a lamb on a makeshift altar and hear speeches by rabbis and a Likud Knesset member. It was held in a public square outside the Hurva Synagogue, a stone’s throw from the Temple Mount where priests conducted daily sacrifices in ancient times
The event was an awkward reminder of the tight spot Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is in as it tries to balance the competing religious claims over arguably the world’s most volatile shrine. The government and its defenders have long been trying to debunk Palestinian accusations — deliberate lies, Israel argues — that Israel intends to build a third Jewish Temple on the site where Al Aqsa mosque and the iconic Dome of the Rock now stand. Unfortunately, events like the Passover reenactment illustrate the growing influence within the government itself of Jewish activists who aim to do just what some Palestinians accuse them of.
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