|Arutz Sheva News Service
Sunday, April 20, 2003
The Supreme Court rejected yet another
petition by the "Temple Mount Faithful" today, in which the group
requested to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Jews have not
been allowed to ascend to the site - the holiest in Judaism - since the onset
of the Oslo War over 2.5 years ago. The police explained that allowing
Jews to visit the site might lead to Arab riots.
Yehuda Etzion, head of another Temple Mount group called Chai VeKayam, and
who has spearheaded similar court petitions in the past, explained to Arutz-7
today why he has given up on that approach:
"The police, government, and the courts have an unwritten agreement to totally
close off the Temple Mount to Jews, and to maintain the Islamicization and
Palestinization of the site. We had better realize this and not fool
ourselves any longer." He said that protests should be carried out
that do not in any way indicate cooperation with the ban on Jewish entry
to the holy site.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites, takes
the other position. He asked the police to prevent the Temple Mount
group from "arriving in the area and causing provocations and disturbances,"
which, he said, they do "every time we have a Birkat Kohanim" (Priestly Blessing)
ceremony. Tens of thousands of people in fact participated in the
traditional Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall this morning. Rabbi
Rabinovitch explained to Arutz-7 today that the Chief Rabbinate has long
forbidden Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount for Halakhic [Jewish
"The Torah forbids us, in our present state of impurity [which cannot be
changed without the ashes of a ritually-offered Red Heifer], from entering
parts of the Temple Mount compound. We do not know all the exact places
that we may enter and which not; even in those areas that we know are permitted,
the rabbis in 1967 banned entry, in order to distance ourselves - and others
who are not knowledgeable or careful - from violating this very severe Biblical
Rabbi Rabinovitch said that the Chief Rabbinate issued the ban after the
Six-Day War in 1967, and that it was signed by then-Chief Rabbis Nissim and
Unterman, as well as by Rabbis Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Ovadiah Yosef, Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach, Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, and others.
Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson asked him if the late Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren
also agreed. "Rabbi Goren sought to have a change made in the ruling,"
Rabbi Rabinovitch responded, "but the Chief Rabbinate Council did not
A-7: "Didn't former Rishon LeTzion Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu suggest building
a synagogue on the Mount?"
Rabbi Rabinovitch: "He did not suggest this while he was Chief Rabbi."
A-7: "Doesn't the ban on Jewish entry to the holy site in effect give the
Temple Mount to the Arabs?"
Rabbi Rabinovitch: "We would prefer that no one, including Arabs, be allowed
to enter - but given that this is not the case, how would it help if Jews
also go there? Would it make it ours? The Arabs would still be there,
and it wouldn't solve anything."
Not all rabbis agree with the ban, however. Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi
Dov Lior has explained in the past that there are areas that are one may
definitely enter, "provided one knows what they are and has immersed in a
mikveh." The Yesha Rabbis Council recently declared, "This situation,
in which the Temple Mount is closed to Jews and open only to Moslems, is
a desecration of G-d's Name to the fullest extent, for in this way we broadcast
to the whole world that the Arab connection to our holy site is stronger
than ours, Heaven
(Most Rabbis obviously do not understand that the Muslim's control of the
Temple Mount gives legality to their claims of all of the territory
promised to the Jews. It explains why an image of the Dome of the Rock
appears in the logos and symbolism of just about every Arab and Muslim
organization in Israel, including Arafat's terrorist Authority. Destruction
of the Dome of the Rock (Mosque of Omar) will remove their legimacy -