Yesha rabbis: Chief Rabbinate's policy on Temple Mount to blame for violence

Spokesman of the Yesha Rabbis' council: "We send out to the Arabs a message of weakness by forfeiting our physical presence on and around the Temple Mount."

February 14, 2007 00:00
2 minute read.

Muslim violence over building near the Temple Mount is a direct result of the Chief Rabbinate's fawning policy of forbidding the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount, said the Council of Yesha Rabbis Tuesday. "We send out to the Arabs a message of weakness by forfeiting our physical presence on and around the Temple Mount even in places where there is a rabbinic consensus that Jews are allowed to walk," said Rabbi Daniel Shilo, spokesman of the council. "The Arabs believe the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount and the Chief Rabbinate is helping them believe that," added Shilo, who said that the rabbinate and the State of Israel must send out a clear message to the world that the Temple Mount belongs to the Jewish people. A press released signed by Shilo and the Hebron-Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior stated that "the Arab violence on the Temple Mount and the desecration of God's name, is the direct result of the signals of weakness that this government is sending out." The statement also said the violence is "result of the policy of refusing Jews the right to enter the mount and the prohibition against prayer. The only way to combat Muslim violence is by making it clear to the world that the Temple Mount is the Jewish people's most holy place and its holiness far surpasses the holiness of the Kotel." Shilo also criticized Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski's decision to postpone construction for what he called his diaspora mentality. "Haredim are obsessed with the fear of upsetting the goyim," said Shilo. The vast majority of haredi rabbis and many modern Orthodox rabbis oppose entering any part of the Temple Mount. Since September 1967, just a few months after the area came under Israeli control, the Chief Rabbinate's official stand has been to prohibit entry to the Temple Mount. Rabbis are concerned that those who enter will inadvertently walk in places that are off limits. There is a severe biblical prohibition against entering areas where the Temple once stood while under the influence of certain ritual impurities. For instance, all Jews have been "infected" by the ritual impurity of death since all people have come into contact, either directly or indirectly, with a corpse. Since the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish people lack the means to purify themselves from these impurities. According to biblical law, one needs the ashes of a red heifer to purify oneself from the ritual impurity of death. This red heifer must be without blemishes. Also, most rabbis believe that the actual rebuilding of the Temple will be initiated in the Messianic Era. Until then there is no need to enter the Temple area. However, several leading modern Orthodox rabbis encourage going up on the Temple Mount. In answer to the Chief Rabbinate's prohibition, they say that the prohibited areas are clearly delineated and known and there is no danger of walking on the site of the Temple.

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