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The Temple Mount/al-Aqsa in Zionist and Palestinian National Consciousness

A Comparative View

Hillel Cohen

Keywords: al-Aqsa; holy places; Jerusalem; nationalism; Palestinians; religion; Temple Mount; Zionism

While the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque constitutes a national and religious focal point for both Israelis and Palestinians, there have been profound differences in the attitudes of the competing national movements to this site. The Zionist movement attempted to create alternative, secular holy places (such as the Jezreel Valley and the Hebrew University) in order to detach itself from blunt messianism, while the Palestinians, from the Mandate period onward, have emphasized their attachment to the holy site in Jerusalem. The revival of suppressed messianic sentiments in Israeli society, however, exposes the religious dimension of the conflict and accentuates the role of the holy sites in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

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