Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, and Haifa Rabbi She'ar-Yashuv Cohen left for the United States on Saturday night. The rabbis were invited to Washington, D.C. to meet with senior US officials and discuss the importance of the Temple Mount to the Jewish people. US President George Bush might attend the meetings.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen and Christian and Muslim religious leaders during a visit in Israel two weeks ago. The group discussed the future of holy sites in Jerusalem. When Muslim leaders charged that Israel plans to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount, Rabbi Cohen said the Temple Mount belongs to the Jewish people, and that while he does not plan to destroy the mosques, “the Muslims need to remember that they are there thanks to us.”