Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef issued a clarification of comments made on Friday in which he fiercely criticized rabbis who rule that it is permitted in Jewish law to visit the Temple Mount.
Yosef said that such rabbis were “fourth rate” and claimed that Jewish visitation to the site had caused terror attacks in Jerusalem. His comments generated consternation from the national-religious community, since many rabbis from the sector permit Jews to visit the Temple Mount, and his remarks were taken as a slight on the community’s rabbinic leaders.
“In our generation we are all third or fourth rate and we are not able to contend the rulings of rabbis from earlier generations,” he wrote to the municipal chief rabbi of Peta Tikva, Rabbi Michah HaLevy, who had written to Yosef following his comments.
The chief rabbi provided a long list of rabbis from the last century who had banned Jews from going to the Temple Mount, asking “who are we to argue with such great Torah scholars... All of us, all of this generation, great and small alike are on the third or fourth level and so we cannot argue with previous opinions at all.”