Groups of ascenders to the Temple Mount that were organized by Beyadenu on Thursday, including several MKs and one government minister, were reportedly hounded by the police who constantly ordered them to “hurry up, don’t pray, don’t sing, and don’t bring that Israeli flag here.”
See our report about Flag Day on the Temple Mount: “Ministers, Knesset Members Visit Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day.”
“The Temple Mount is not a welcoming place for Jewish people, and the Israeli police and government see to it that Jews are deterred, not for ideological reasons, but rather because of the hassle,” Beyadenu said in a press release on Jerusalem Flag Day.
According to Beyadenu, Jews wishing to enter the sacred compound were ordered to stash their belongings in unguarded lockers that were overflowing with precious items like Tefillin, prayer books, flags, leather shoes, and backpacks. The sacred items spilled into the aisle, forcing the visitor to step over them.
“The entire day, our guides were asked repeatedly by confused tourists, Jews, and gentiles alike, ‘Which way to the Temple Mount?’” Beyadenu reported. “We understand their confusion as there is absolutely no indication, signage, or guidance to help visitors find the Temple Mount.”
Last week, Beyadenu CEO Tom Nisani was issued two separate restraining orders barring him from entering the Old City of Jerusalem because he challenged a police officer on the Temple Mount on the latter’s interpretation of the law. The officer warned Nisan several times to keep quiet while he was being restrained, and when he continued to talk, protesting his arrest, and questioning the officer regarding his freedom to guide visitors, he was handcuffed and told this was done to prevent him from running away. See the video below:
Nisani commented on Thursday: “We thank and cherish the Knesset members who decided to go up to the Temple Mount without fear and without worry, and above all without trying to flatter the media. This is what is required of our elected officials these days – courage and integrity. Going up to the Temple Mount should become routine and not anything to get excited about, but on the contrary: there must be a permanent exercise of sovereignty by elected officials on the most important and holiest place for the Jewish people!”
I’m not so sure our sages, past and present, would agree that entering the Temple Mount compound should be routine. Indeed, the seven-day process of removing the tumah of the dead before entering the Temple suggests the Torah discouraged turning our stay at our holiest site into an everyday thing. But Nisani probably meant that the exercise of going up to the Mountain should become commonplace. He would probably be challenged by many poskim on that one, too.