What intrest does he have in the temple mount?
Update: The University of Cambridge retracted its statement of Hawking joining the boycott, citing health concerns as his reason for missing the conference. But when reached for comment and clarification, university spokesman Tim Holt provided The Huffington Post with this response:
“We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking’s office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President’s office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.
“We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly.”
Conference chairman Israel Maimon told the Guardian that Hawking's decision was "outrageous and wrong."
"The use of an academic boycott against Israel is outrageous and improper, particularly for those to whom the spirit of liberty is the basis of the human and academic mission," he continued. "Israel is a democracy in which everyone can express their opinion, whatever it may be. A boycott decision is incompatible with open democratic discourse."
In a subsequent conversation with Haaretz, Maimon noted that Hawking was being more Palestinian than the Palestinians: While he was boycotting the conference, other Palestinians had agreed to attend it as speakers.