The halachic issue of Jewish entry to the Temple area is a complex one. All agree that entry is forbidden without proper prior purification procedures, and many feel that even then it is not known exactly which spots are permitted and which are not. For these reasons, the Chief Rabbinate forbids Jewish entry altogether. Some rabbis and experts, though, believe the precise areas of forbidden entry are now known and easily avoidable, and many pious Jews do visit the site whenever the police allow it.
A public protest has been scheduled for next Wednesday, against both the construction works and the ban of Rabbi Ariel, outside the prime minister’s official residence. Past experience does not inspire confidence that it will have great effect. Bolstered, however, by e-mails and faxes to Netanyahu’s office from Israel and abroad, the results could well be different this time.
For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.