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visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

Macau
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visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

Hi everyone.

During our visit to Jerusalem, we hope that we can entre the Dome of the Rock & the Al-aqsa Mosque, not simply watching the buildings from outside. However, information differs whether non Muslims can visit the inside part of these two sites. It is also said that with the arrangement of local guide, it is possible to get in. Look forward to all kinds of information and thanks a lot.

Jerusalem, Israel
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1. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

Officially, the Muslim Waqf allows non-Muslims to enter only the Temple Mount of Haram ash-Sharif Plaza during certain (and very limited) visiting hours, but non-Muslims are not allowed into the Dome and into the Mosque. This has been the policy since September 2000.

This being said, over the last years this policy has been more and more softened. International VIPs have always been allowed into the shrines as official visitors of the Waqf. And it seems that more and more people fall into this categorie. So if you absolutely want to visit the shrines, the question is how to make the Waqf believe that you are an international VIP. It has been suggested on this forum to ask Sam Salem if you could join one of his guided tours he offers for UN personnel. Another possibility is to socialize a little bit with a Waqf guard until he feels that you are his "very best friend". Anyway, it takes some preparation to find a possibility.

However, personally I haven't visited the shrines since 2000. I feel that the "you are my best friend, you are so much better than the Jews"-attitude of some Waqf-officials is simply disgusting. Therefore, I prefer rather not to go until I can bring my Jewish friends as well.

Jerusalem, Israel
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2. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

Of course I meant "the Temple Mount OR Haram ash-Sharif" (not "of") - why can't we edit our postings here?

NYC/Israel
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3. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

I could be wrong but I believe Sam offers private tours and tells the WAKF--who knows what to get people in. There has also been questions concerning the legality of his giving tours in Israel, as he is not a licensed tour guide.

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4. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

That is WAQF, I too need an edit button!!!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

If you don't know what Sam does or what arrangements he has with the Waqf, rdglady, then I respectfully suggest that you hold your tongue about him and not go back down the road of complaining about and attacking this good and kind man. The reports about him on this forum have been uninformly positive, even glowing. I note that the same cannot be said of the person whom you most often recommend, and in spite of that, I have held my tongue until now for the sake of this forum's tone.

I doubt if the "guides" who take the nationalistic tours on the reinforced buses into Kiryat Arba and Hebron are fully licensed by the Ministry of Tourism either, but have any of us made some big issue about that? (Let alone bringing it up over and over again....) While such tours are not my cup of tea, I don't really care about formal licensure -- they provide a service that many apparently find valuable. So does Sam.

Leave him alone. Attacking him only reflects badly on you, as too many of us know how good and generous a man he is.

Douglas Duckett

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6. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

Doug--I feel it is important that before people book a guide they know the whole story. I have not argued with his apparent competency.

re: the guides that take people on buses to West Bank settlements. I hate to burst your bubble--but they ARE licensed Israeli tour guides!!! They do tours of the whole country, not just those areas!!!--same as Fred --who does left wing tours appears to be a licensed Israeli tour guide!

Paragon
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7. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

In my travels (to Israel and elsewhere) I have met all kinds of people. Most have been kind and helpful. Occasionally I have met a "me me me!" type person whose first and only thought seemed to be of themself and how to further themselves and pad their pockets.

In Israel by and large the people I have met (just "folks" and/or those who are offering services to "tourists") have been extremely kind and helpful. Occasionally I have had a not top notch experience with a clerk or a cabbie......and a few times I have had the pleasure of meeting people who not only fulfill the polite requirement of being "nice", but, who go far above and beyond to help others and are charming and intelligent while they're at it! *smile*

Sam Salem is one who fits that description to a "T". When I return to Israel I will more than likely use his services in some way and even if I do not I will go out of my way to see him (and his family).........lovely, lovely folks.

Kathy Walters

Paragon, Indiana, USA

cakywalters@iquest.net

Cincinnati, Ohio
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8. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

I'm glad to hear that about the Hebron guides, rdglady, but if they weren't licensed I still wouldn't care because I think people are entitled to hire whom they wish for what they wish.

But this constant harping on Sam Salem is an unseemly and tasteless vendetta that should stop. You aren't the guide police, and your post speculated -- nothing more -- about the arrangements he makes to take people into a beautiful and fascinating site that they want to see.

As for your comments, Kathy, amen! Sam Salem is kind, generous, and good. We call could use more of that in traveling, and I am privileged to have met him.

Douglas Duckett

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9. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

Doug--FYI, there are tours going to lots of Jewish communities. Hebron is just one of many!

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10. Re: visiting Dome of the Rock & Al-aqsa Mosque

A rather unbelievable thing about this thread is that nobody had mentioned Sam until Rdglady did - thereby proceeding to slur his name. So why mention him at all? And Rdglady, I strongly doubt all those youngsters showing Hevron are licensed tour guides.