40% more Jewish visitors to Temple Mount compared to last Hanukkah

The miracle of the oil menorah commemorated on Hanukkah took place at the Temple, according to Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Ram HaCohen and other Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount during Hanukkah 2019 (photo credit: HAIM KROIZER)
Rabbi Ram HaCohen and other Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount during Hanukkah 2019
(photo credit: HAIM KROIZER)
During the Hanukkah holiday, there was a 40% rise in the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount, with 400 more visitors compared to last year.
Temple Mount organizations reported the large rise in the number of Jewish visitors, with the Yaraeh Organization reporting that over 1,200 Jews visited the site during Hanukkah. The organizations stated that visitors were coming to be at the site where the miracle of Hanukkah took place during the 2nd century BCE in the time of the Hasmoneans. Eight hundred Jews visited the site last year during the Hanukkah holiday.

Many rabbis and heads of yeshivas visited the site during the holiday, according to the Temple Mount organizations. Rabbi Dov Lior, Otniel Yeshiva head Rabbi Ram HaCohen and Rabbi Eyal Yaakovovitz were among the visitors.
HaCohen expressed admiration for the recent easing of restrictions on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and thanked police officers for their positive relationship with Jewish worshipers.
The Hanukkah holiday commemorates the war between the Jewish Hasmoneans and the Hellenic rulers of the area, and the end of the war when the Jews entered the Temple and re-sanctified the site. During the resanctification ceremonies, Jews tried to light the menorah, a candelabra used in the Temple service, but only had enough oil for one day. The oil ended up lasting eight days; the hanukkiah lit for eight nights during Hanukkah commemorates the miracle to this day.
The word "hanukkah" also refers to the ceremonies dedicating and sanctifying the Temple.
On Wednesday, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry condemned Israeli visits to the Temple Mount, referring to them as "ongoing Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque," according to Jordan's official news agency.
The agency mentioned a recent visit by an unnamed Israeli member of Knesset to the Temple Mount. Likud MK Sharren Haskel visited recently, according to her spokesperson. Former MK Moshe Feiglin also visited the Temple Mount with his son two weeks ago.
The Jerusalem Post recently revealed that Jewish visitors to the site have started praying undisturbed by police forces. As of the end of December, police officers continued to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, according to Jewish visitors to the site.
Over the week-long Sukkot holiday, some 1,657 Jewish Israelis visited the Temple Mount, according to former MK Yehuda Glick.
Jews are prohibited from praying or bringing religious items onto the site – and are removed and sometimes detained if caught doing so.
The Waqf, an arm of the Jordanian Ministry of Sacred Properties, administers the Temple Mount site. Visits by religious Jews are monitored by Waqf guards and Israeli police – and all Jewish prayer, including silent prayer, is forbidden, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. No sacred Jewish objects, such as prayer books or prayer shawls, may be brought onto the mount, according to the tourism website Tourist Israel.
The Temple Mount is open to Jewish entry Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. (10:30 a.m. in the winter) and again from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.
In October, the Palestinian Safa news agency reported that there has been a "marked escalation" in the frequency of visits by Israeli Jews and "extremist calls to storm [Al-Aqsa] during the Jewish holidays amid tight restrictions imposed by the occupation authorities on the Palestinians."
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.