Israel’s chief rabbis called for the country to maintain control of the Temple Mount after the IDF liberated it in 1967, according to research presented in the Knesset Sunday.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) co-hosted a conference in the Knesset on sovereignty over the Temple Mount with Professors for a Strong Israel.
Michael Puah, a Likud Central Committee member and research and development director of Feiglin’s Jewish Leadership faction within the party, presented protocols from meetings of the Chief Rabbinate in the days following the Six Day War.
According to the document, then chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim said that Jews should oversee the site – either alone or in cooperation with other religions – because it belongs to the Jewish people.
Then-chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman was quoted as saying, “the site of the Holy Temple should belong to the rabbinate. As for the mosque…we will not give up ownership of the land on which the mosque was built.”
Chief Rabbinical Council member Rabbi Eliezer Goldschmidt suggested that an honor guard made up of rabbis protect the entrance to the Temple Mount.
“If supervision of the mosque will be in their [Muslims’] hands, it will mean it belongs to them again,” Goldschmidt said.
The rabbis agreed, however, that the site is too holy for Jews to enter.
Puah found the documents during research for his MA studies at Ariel University.
A spokesman for Feiglin said “there is a serious gap between the [chief rabbinate’s] clear goal to protect sovereignty and the emphasis on prohibiting Jews from entering the site, which led to us losing that sovereignty, as Rabbi Goldschmidt predicted.”
Feiglin outspokenly favors allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount and having Israel take control of the site, which is run by the Wakf, the Muslim religious trust. Last year, he rebelled against the coalition after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu specifically forbade Feiglin from ascending the Mount.