Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the 78-year-old founder of the Temple Institute and a former Israeli paratrooper that took part in the Israeli liberation of the Temple Mount in 1967 has been banned from entering the Temple Mount by Israeli Police, according to a press release from the Temple Institute. Rabbi Yisrael Ariel was informed of the ban last week after attempting to visit the site. He was told by police officers that he was banned indefinitely. The Temple Institute feels the banning is a result of a video taken on Yom Yerushalayim in May showing a large group of Jewish visitors singing and praying at the site.
Rabbi Ariel, who was among the Israeli paratroopers who liberated the Temple Mount in the Six Day War, can be heard saying in the video, "I have waited forty-five years to be able to say the shehechianu, (blessing of thanks), here on the Temple Mount." His prayer is then followed by a memorial prayer for his fallen comrades that lost their lives in the mission to liberate the Temple Mount during the Six Day War. The group was accompanied by journalists and cameramen representing Israel's major news outlets.
In response to the ban, Likud Member of Knesset, Tzipi Hotovely released a statement on Wednesday calling for the convening of an urgent Interior Committee meeting in the Knesset to discuss freedom of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. In a statement released from her office she stated, “this is a fatal blow to freedom of worship, and has no place in the state of Israel."