Court Says No To Jewish Entry To Temple Mount

Some of the Likud MKs who planned to ascend to the Temple Mount on the day of Tisha B'Av, despite the police ban, have changed their minds. One of them is Knesset Law Committee Chairman Roni Bar-On.

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He said that after meeting with police officials and Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi, who gave him classified information explaining why the Mount is now closed to Jews, he understands the security dangers. He also canceled a Law Committee session on the topic.

MK Yechiel Chazan, however, who also met with police officials, said he was not convinced. He still plans to visit the holy site.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, Rabbi of Israel's Holy Sites, issued a request today to the police, Knesset Members and the Supreme Court, asking that Jews be prevented from visiting the Temple Mount. He said that there is a halakhic [Jewish legal] prohibition on such entry, and that the sanctity of the site must not be violated. Other rabbis have ruled that entry to certain known areas of the Temple Mount are permitted after proper precautions have been taken. Rabbi Rabinovitz further noted today that the tensions raised with the Moslems by such Temple Mount visits might even lead to a drop in Jewish visits to the Western Wall.

In keeping with the above, the Supreme Court turned down a suit on the matter by the Temple Mount Loyalists. They had asked, as they do every year, for permission to ascend to the Temple Mount on Tisha B'Av, in order to commemorate the day on which the Temples were destroyed. Although the Court gave their petition greater consideration than it did in previous years, the end result was the same: No.

Atty. Naftali Wurtzberger, representing the petitioners, said sorrowfully afterwards,
"The cave-in of the government, with a national-camp Minister like Tzachi HaNegbi giving in to the dictates of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority - this is a true manifestation of the destruction that we are commemorating this week... In case we thought that the State of Israel had put an end to the Exile, we instead see that the destruction did not end 2,000 years ago, but is, in some ways, a state of mind that persists; this surrender by a proud national-camp minister to the man from the Mukata is clear proof that the destruction is still with us - and that there is what to cry about."