Thousands took part Wednesday in a 'Greet the Rabbi' event organized by the Shas party in Jerusalem and attended by the spiritual and political leaders of the party.
At the event, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef referred to those who pray on Temple Mount and said that the matter contradicted halakha.
The late Religious Zionist Chief Rabbis Kook and Avraham Shapira and others publicized the same prohibition because of uncertainty as to the location of areas where halakha does not allow Jews to tread or which are permitted to the High Priest only on Yom Kippur, while Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren and others felt that it was possible to delineate areas that are permitted as long as those ascending are ritually pure after immersion in a mikvah.
"It pains my heart to see religious Jews ascending to the Temple Mount in contravention of halakha," said Rav Yosef.
He also referred to the UNESCO decision to deny the Jewish connection to Temple Mount, but said that "The Jewish connection to Temple mount will not be strengthened by ascending to Temple Mount in contravention of halakha."
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri attacked those who criticized the event claiming that it excluded women. Deri said that "Those who talk about excluding women should learn from us what it means to honor women. There is a huge area adjacent to this one in which thousands of women are taking part in this event. Nobody complained that they were excluded."