Deputy FM: Visit the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day

Dep. Minister Tzipi Hotovely says Israelis today must 'prove the Temple Mount is in our hands.'

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Shimon Cohen,

Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi Hotovely
Hezki Baruch

Recently, several Religious Zionist and haredi rabbis called on the Israeli public to ascend the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day (which falls on Wednesday, May 24 this year). Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) joined the rabbis' call, encouraging Israelis to make use of their special privilege and ascend the Temple Mount.

"Fifty years ago, we heard the call, 'The Temple Mount is in our hands,'" Hotovely said. "Now, fifty years later, our job is to prove that indeed, the Temple Mount is in our hands."

"Ascend the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day. The Temple Mount is open to Jews. We have merited an enormous privilege.

"In the fiftieth year since Jerusalem's liberation, we should ascend the Temple Mount."

"This is an unprecedented step forward," a United Mikdash Movements (Mateh Irgunei Hamikdash) spokesperson said. "The fact that a Foreign Ministry representative - especially a Deputy Foreign Minister - has explicitly encouraged Israelis to ascend the Temple Mount, is unprecedented in the State of Israel's history."

"This has a very significant influence on Israel's official stance with regard to the Temple Mount's status."

The Temple Mount, Judaismj's holiest site, was returned to Jewish hands in the 1967 Six Day War, but control of the area was left in the hands of the Jerusalem Islamic Trust, called the Wakf, which does not allow Jews to pray on the Mount and has built an enormous mosque, destroying priceless archaeological treasures in the process.

According to Jewish law, there are stringent rules for ascending the Mount and parts of it are forbidden because of the impossibility of being free of certain ritual impurities that preclude entry to those areas. Since there are differences of opinion on the exact location of those areas, many Religious Zionist and haredi rabbis refrain from ascending the Mount. Others feel strongly that Israel must display its sovereignty over Judaism's holiest site by showing a presence there.

All agree that the Israeli government should have declared the Temple Mount off limits to both Jews and Moslems in June 1967 so as to carry out excavations and archaeological research that could have enabled rabbis to decide conclusively where the Holy Temples stood and which areas need special ritual purity. The Wakf has destroyed so much of the historical remains that it is not at all certain that this could be done today.