On Father's Day, Ron and I had the rare opportunity to attend an exclusive tour of the Temple Mount, a highly religious and controversial site in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is open to visitors of all faiths, however, entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock is generally only for Muslims. The U.S. Consulate arranges this exclusive tour which allows us access to the mosque and Dome of the Rock...only five embassy employees are allowed to attend each tour. It's a long waiting list (we've been on the list for over a year) and we were lucky that our names came up for the last tour before we depart Israel.
We started early, meeting our group at 7:45 a.m. In order to attend, we had to adhere to a strict dress code. Ladies were required to wear ankle-length skirts or baggy trousers...nothing form-fitted, a shirt past their elbows and a head covering. Men had to wear pants and long sleeves.
Upon entering the compound, we soon saw the Dome of the Rock, the well-recognized golden dome.
We took our shoes off outside and entered.
An ablution fountain used for cleaning before entering the Mosque for prayer.
Ron entering the Well of Souls beneath the Foundation Rock.
After the tour we stopped by the Church of All Nations to visit the Garden of Gethsemane.
Happy Father's Day, Ron!