As reported by Israel National News, a Druze Israeli police officer was assaulted when he tried to halt an Arab tractor that was employed in digging an illegal trench on the Temple Mount, threatening damage to priceless archaeological artifacts from the First and Second Temples. Entering the cabin of the tractor in an attempt to stop the illegal excavation, the police officer was pushed out by Arab workers, and then bravely took up a position in the trench and physically stopped the work. However at that point an Israeli police supervisor arrived to take control of the situation and, it appeared to witnesses, calm down the police officer.
The incident only became public because it was witnessed by eyewitnesses from the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities. The outcome of the incident is not known, because, according to Gideon Charlap, a top Jerusalem architect and Temple Mount expert, who witnessed the events, "because our allotted time was over." Jews are permitted onto the site - Judaism's most sacred anywhere in the world - only four or fewer hours a day.
Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist and a leading member of the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities, spoke with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine about the desecration. "It is an untenable situation," she said. "Underneath the Temple Mount is a closed area, one that has barely been disturbed since the Destruction of the Second Temple. Anyone can realize that remnants of both the First and Second Temples are there, and can guess what damage is being done by the tractor. The most precious findings are just rolling around there and are available to be found - and instead they have a tractor there! If I would try to work with a tractor at one of my digs, the Antiquities Authority would stop me immediately! With a tractor, it's impossible to make any type of careful examination of the earth and pieces being dug up."
However, if past experience is any indication, it is quite likely that the digging continued after the supervising police commander removed his courageous subordinate from the scene. Despite years of almost constant illegal excavations conducted on the Temple Mount by the Moslem Waqf (religious body), which are known to have destroyed archaeological artifacts, the Israeli Antiquities Authority has refused to assert its legal authority for fear of offending Moslem sensitivities.