Israel weighs webcast of Old City project to allay fears

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JERUSALEM -- The Israel Antiquities Authority is considering broadcasting real-time, 24-hour video from a contentious Jerusalem holy site in a bid to allay Muslim fears the shrine will be harmed by repair work, an official said Thursday.

Muslim leaders ridiculed the idea, and Israeli police were on heightened alert before Friday Muslim prayers at the site, imposing travel restrictions and planning for a helicopter to hover overhead.

Israel says it needs to replace a centuries-old earthen ramp leading to the hilltop compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, which was damaged heavily in a 2004 snowstorm. It has promised the work would not harm Islamic shrines at the site, some 60 yards away, but those assurances have not calmed Muslim outrage over the project.

Lawmaker Israel Hasson said he proposed installing cameras so "all the Arab world would be able to see everything that goes on there."

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