A rally was organized by the Bnei Akiva youth movement to support equal rights on the Temple Mount and to decry desecration on the site. The rally took place Monday at the Haas Promenade, known in Hebrew as the Tayelet, in Jerusalem. The location overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.
Speakers said the government is refusing to take action against desecration on the Temple Mount by the Muslim Waqf. Photos printed recently in Makor Rishon newspaper depict scaffolding, building material and debris laying across the Foundation Stone in the Holy of Holies. According to Jewish belief, the Foundation Stone, or Even Shtiyah in Hebrew, is the rock on which the world was founded.
In past years the Waqf has also dumped Jewish artifacts and committed other acts in the process of digging on the site.
Ma'ayan Anael Kalif of Rishon Letzion told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew news service that she and fellow Bnei Akiva youth group member Yarden Porat have been addressing the issue with political parties and other groups since the beginning of summer vacation.
When applying for a police permit for the rally, the two youth said police told them that the rally could not display banners with the well-known phrase "the Temple Mount is in our hands." They said the police informed them that the statement could be perceived as a provocation against the sensibilities of the Arab Muslim population. "The Temple Mount is in our hands" is the statement made by General Mordechai Gur who led the Israeli paratroopers onto the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War during the the liberation of the area.
Members of Knesset Dr. Aryeh Eldad and Dr. Michael Ben Ari, both of the National Union Party, were present as well. MK Eldad has recenty proposed legislation in which Jewish and Muslim worshipers could share the Temple Mount equally by creating set hours for prayer time.
A number of veteran Temple Mount activists attended the rally as well such as members of the Temple Institute and other organizations. They expressed pride in the fact that middle school and high school age students organized the event.
Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute told Arutz Sheva news, "it was very encouraging and refreshing and gave us hope for the future. These students could have been at the beach or on their iPhones during summer vacation."
Rabbi Richman credited the work of Temple awareness groups for raising conciousness on the issues. "This probably would not have taken place twenty years ago. But because of the hard work of people of vision, this issue has been introduced into the fabric of public debate." He called the event historic because "this was the first time a normative, mainstream non-Temple related organization put together a rally for the Temple Mount."
Coverage of the event was discussed on this week's episode of Israel National Radio's Temple Talk podcast. To download the mp3 click here.
Temple Talk with Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven covers everything you need to know about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and the building of the Third Temple (Beit HaMikdash). Discussions include the Temple's history and significance today for both Jews and non-Jews. Also discussed are the weekly Torah portion, Bnei Noach issues and new projects of the Temple Institute. The Temple Talk podcast airs Tuesdays from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Israel time / 1-2 p.m. U.S. EST on Israel National Radio. For show archives click here.
All photo credits: Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven - the Temple Institite.