Rabbi Yosef reveals the charged debate over the Temple Mount

Chief Rabbi reveals 2 members of Chief Rabbinical Council demanded sign declaring prohibition against ascending Temple Mount be removed.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Israeli Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Israeli Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
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Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef revealed in his weekly shiur that two members of the Chief Rabbinical Council demanded that the sign be removed that clarifies the Rabbinate's prohibition on going up to the Temple Mount.

"On the Temple Mount there has been a sign since the Six-Day War that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel forbids entering a place where there is sanctity. At the time, Rabbi Elyashiv asked that a person be standing there, a Torah scholar, who would warn people not to enter," Rabbi Yosef said.

He then revealed the dramatic debate in the Rabbinate Council. "Some time ago, a meeting of the Rabbinate Council was convened and one of the members protested the sign saying that it is forbidden to go up to the Temple Mount. 'There are rabbis who permit entering the Temple Mount,'" he said.

He said that the petitioner (whom Rabbi Yosef refused to name) wanted to replace the sign with a sign that clarified that there is a halachic controversy about ascending the Temple Mount and that some allow it.

"There was a sharp argument between the members, and I explained to him that we respect every torah scholar but we must remember: Who forbade entry?All of the great rabbis of all generations, from Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook through his son Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, forbade this," Rabbi Yosef said

"There are those who claim that sovereignty should be shown, but Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook also referred to this and argued vehemently that it was a karet prohibition, and he wrote against it. All the leaders of the generation wrote this way. How can one disagree with them?"

In his remarks, he described problems that arise from the lenient opinion. "Traditional tourists come from abroad, they see religious people entering - they also enter. It is possible that the religious immersed in the mikvah and know how far to enter. But there are many others who do not know and enter in impurity. Will the Torah scholar who permits [ascending the Temple Mount] take responsibility for this?"

He then revealed that a vote was held. "They wanted to set up a committee to discuss the matter, and I said, 'There is nothing to discuss.' One said: 'Let's vote,' they voted, two voted for [the lenient position] - 12 voted against. The proposal failed. We have to be vigilant and warn the public that doesn't know."

During his speech he referred to the sanctity of the Western Wall and said that there is holiness throughout the Western Wall, even at the southern part of the wall. "We were at the prime minister's house with the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Rabinowitz, and we made it clear to him that the Reformists should not be recognized."

He attacked the Reform movement. "They do not have a foothold in Israel, but abroad they cause tremendous assimilation. The Reform and Conservative movements are the continuation of the Enlightenment 250 years ago. We stand strong against giving them any recognition."