Israel's Jerusalem Day: Influential rabbi speaks out against flag march to MKs

The spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah Knesset faction questioned why the "needles and dangerous" flag march was allowed to be carried out.

 RABBI GERSHON EDELSTEIN will assume Rabbi Kanievsky’s spiritual role. (photo credit: SHLOMI COHEN/FLASH90)
RABBI GERSHON EDELSTEIN will assume Rabbi Kanievsky’s spiritual role.
(photo credit: SHLOMI COHEN/FLASH90)

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, the spiritual leader of Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) party Degel HaTorah, warned against Israel's Jerusalem Day flag march which took place in the capital on Sunday, Israeli media reports.

Thousands of Jerusalem residents and Israelis across the country marched in Israel's capital, passing through Damascus Gate and the Muslim quarter to reach the Western Wall, the march's ending point. 

In a meeting between Edelstein and MKs from Degel HaTorah, who serve in the Knesset with Agudat Yisrael under the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) faction, the 99-year-old rabbi reportedly questioned why a "needless and dangerous" march should take place.

"Don't you see that [the Jerusalem Day flag march] is needless and dangerous?"

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein
 Israelis take part in Jerusalem Day flag march in front of Damascus Gate, May 29, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Israelis take part in Jerusalem Day flag march in front of Damascus Gate, May 29, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Rabbi takes issue with Jewish ascent to Temple Mount

Edelstein, who is also the rosh yeshiva of Ponevezh, one of the leading Lithuanian yeshivas in Bnei Brak, also reportedly asked the MKs if anything could be done to stop Jews from entering Temple Mount, an act viewed by the rabbi as a "provocation."

Ultra-Orthodox belief states Jewish prayer on Temple Mount is forbidden, with UTJ head MK Moshe Gafni once stating that those who ascend to Temple Mount are "instigating war."

However, as per reports, the MKs replied saying that "nothing can be done."

UTJ's meeting mostly a political one

The meeting, the first of which to take place since the death of rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in March, mainly dealt with political issues. According to reports, the MKs discussed with the rabbis the party's course of action in preparation for the fall of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government, embroiled in constant crises and resignations.

The rabbi reportedly called for the MKs to work for the establishment of a new government in the current Knesset, rather than force new elections, the preferred option for opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu.

MK Gafni denied the details reported from the meeting, adding he will not comment on discussions with the Council of Rabbinic Sages (Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah), "as I have done throughout all my political career."