Biblical Archaeology Review 30:4, July/August 2004

Strata: How Solid Is the Temple Mount?

IAA Sounds Alarm

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is in danger of collapse, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) told the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in May. IAA director Shuka Dorfman informed the Knesset’s Interior Committee that the eastern wall of the compound is in danger of immediate collapse, which could cause a domino effect and bring down other parts.

Dorfman’s public warning follows a classified report issued by the IAA in April to the highest levels of Israel’s government and security establishment. According to the Jerusalem Post, the report warned that an earthquake this past February 11 may have damaged the eastern wall of the Temple Mount so badly that parts of it are liable to collapse. The IAA asked government officials to recommend appropriate actions.

The report comes after several earlier signs of trouble. In recent years numerous cracks and a large bulge have formed in the southern wall. The earthquake created new cracks and other signs of instability; most ominously, the 800-year-old wall supporting the ramp that leads up to the Mograbi Gate, the entrance by which non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount, collapsed.

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