He freely acknowledged that the general practice is to check religious Jews extra carefully, making sure they are not carrying prayer books or other provocative material, while others are barely checked at all. When activists Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and Yehuda Glick were recently arrested on their way to visit the Mount, “one of the policemen told me straight out, ‘they didn’t do anything; they were being picked on.'”
In short, those wishing to actualize Jewish sovereignty and religious aspirations on the Temple Mount must struggle with antagonism from both the police and the Moslem Waqf – but that’s not all: The Chief Rabbinate officially negates entry to the site, for fear that it will be desecrated by disrespectful behavior, and by those who do not know precisely where Jewish Law forbids even those who are not ritually impure to walk.
Opinions are divided within the haredi world as well: Many haredi men are actively involved in the struggle to visit the holy site, while others are strongly opposed. The Vizhnitzer Rebbe this month sharply attacked those who ascend the Mount, saying, “It is totally forbidden; those who go up are defiling the sanctity of the Temple site.” Similarly, Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, is said to have ruled that we may not ascend to the Temple Mount nowadays because of the prohibition against provoking the nations.
The Makor Rishon newspaper – representative of the right-wing, both religious and not – devotes a page in its weekly edition to news of Jews and the Temple Mount and Holy Temple. It is named “Home Page,” a play on words based on the Hebrew term for Temple Mount: “Mount of the Home/House.” A prominent feature in the section is a list of visiting hours for Jews (Sun-Thurs, 7:30-10:00, 12:30-13:30), brief halachic instructions, and phone numbers to call for more detailed Halakhic guidance.
To take part in our bus tours of Israel’s capital, including Ammunition Hill and King Hussein’s partially-built palace, and to find out more about how to keep Jerusalem Jewish, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
About the Author: 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 reside in Beit El.
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