The Temple Mount
The Temple MountiStock

After police confirmed that there was no legal obstacle to conducting learning sessions on the Temple Mount, members of the Knesset’s Education Committee have requested that students be required to take a course on the topic of the Temple Mount, which will include an organized trip to the site.

“The subject matter is not being taught correctly, and it should be included in the matriculation curriculum,” Committee members concluded, as reported by Israel Hayom; the full article will be published in Israel Hayom’s special Friday edition this week.

For the first time since the Temple Mount was liberated by Israel in the Six-Day War, the Knesset’s Education Committee has issued a recommendation to the Education Ministry, asking that the Temple Mount be included in the mandatory sites to be visited by school children.

In addition, the Committee recommended including one compulsory unit (within the history course) on the topic of the Temple Mount. Until now, the subject has been an optional topic within various other courses such as Tanach (the Jewish Bible), geography, or history.

The recommendations were formulated by the Committee last week but were published only on Wednesday of this week, a few days before the festival of Hanukkah is due to commence (on Sunday night), a festival that commemorates the rededication of the lighting of the menorah (ritual candelabra) in the Holy Temple in the times of the Maccabees, in the second century BCE.

The Committee’s discussion of the matter was the initiative of the Committee’s head, MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) along with the Beyadeinu organization which is headed by Tom Nissani and Ofir Dayan. Prior to the discussion, Beyadeinu presented committee members with its position paper on the issue.

The Committee ultimately resolved that, “The history of the Mount and its significance in Jewish culture and history are not being taught correctly,” and called on the Education Ministry to “introduce the subject of the Temple Mount and the Holy Temple to the matriculation examinations; to place a stress on learning about the heritage of the Temple Mount within the curriculum; and to encourage visits of students to the site on a more frequent basis.”

In addition, the Committee requested that the Education Ministry hold a discussion on the issue and produce a report on it within eight weeks, summarizing its conclusions and the steps it intends to take. The Committee also requested of the Ministry of Public Security that within two weeks it should present statistics regarding visits of students to the site in the last ten years.

Present and participating in the Committee’s discussion were representatives of the police, who clarified that from their standpoint, there was no obstacle to permitting students to visit the Temple Mount. However, according to the site’s regulations, the security personnel accompanying them are not permitted to carry live weapons, and therefore police officers themselves would have to accompany the groups.

The Committee also clarified that in the last two years, not a single school had made a request of the police to coordinate a visit to the Temple Mount. In another seven weeks, the Committee will hold another discussion on the matter.