Israel Hayom on Wednesday morning ran a headline that was more clickbait than substance: “The opening of all the gates and the introduction of sacred objects: the discussion at the security apparatus that may provoke the next storm on the Temple Mount.”
The sub-headline reads: “Soon: the security establishment will discuss the demands of the Temple Mount movements that were submitted to the Minister of National Security • The goal: opening all the gates to Jews, even on holidays, Saturdays, and in the evenings, entry of individuals, and the possibility of putting tefillin on the Mount • In the meantime: Netanyahu agreed with Ben Gvir that any change will be subject to his approval.”
The rest of the lengthy report is the wish list of the Jewish Temple Mount movements, which is great, even heartwarming, but whose connection to the current political reality, that part about everything being subject to the prime minister’s approval, is loose at best.
It all comes down to the final paragraph, which states soberly: “All these demands, and many more, will soon be raised by Ben Gvir before the professional elements––the police and the Shin Bet––and will also be brought before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who wants to show great caution when it comes to the mountain. Netanyahu agreed with Ben Gvir that any significant change on the Temple Mount would require his approval, and Ben Gvir alone would not be able to promote a policy that is fundamentally different from the one that has been followed so far on the Temple Mount.”
The last few lines are a bit more encouraging, though: “It is estimated that formal prayers of Jews at the mountain will not be promoted at this stage, but the easing of conditions for visitors and worshipers at the mountain will be promoted.”
Between the luring headline and the sober conclusion, you’ll find a plethora of fantastic demand from the Temple Mount Management, the Beyadenu movement, and Returning to the Mountain, all of whom are splendid faithful Jews with fiery hopes and dreams – all of which would have to get past Benjamin Netanyahu.
Among other demands, the movements wish to end the requirement that Jews visit the compound in groups only, and allow individual Jews as well into all areas of the mountain (not clear if this includes the parts where the holiest sanctuary stood – DI). Nowadays, Jewish visits are accompanied by police and progress along
specified routes. Changing the guidelines and allowing individuals to ascend the mountain would require the police to secure the Jews on the mountain by employing a spatial rather than individual security concept (switching from man-to-man to zone defense – DI), a change the police professionals oppose.
Here’s a demand I’ll bet you didn’t think was necessary: it turns out the Temple Mount is not officially a holy site, and the Temple Mount movements want it to be declared as such. Even though hundreds of Supreme Court rulings have referred to it as a holy site, the Temple Mount is not on the Ministry of Religious Services’ holy sites list.
As soon as the Minister of Religious Services Michael Malkieli (Shas) adds it to the list, Jews would be allowed to pray there based on the guarantees of religious freedom in the Declaration of Independence. And this is why Malkieli, like all the religion ministers before him, will never include the Temple Mount in the holy list – because the Chief Rabbinate opposes Jewish visits to the Temple Mount.
It would be easier to convince King Abdullah II to lead the Flags Parade in the Old City of Jerusalem than to make the Shas minister declare the Temple Mount an official holy site.
At this point, the Messiah, who has been walking among us for decades just waiting to start the redemption, is laughing into his beer somewhere in the Mahane Yehuda market, making Elijah even more perturbed.