Recently, there has been an increase in the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount, with the encouragement of various religious ultra-Zionist organizations. We wish to reiterate the simple fact that for centuries, rabbis from all Orthodox Jewish communities have ruled that Jews are forbidden to enter the Temple Mount nowadays.
In today’s climate of conflict and tension, this prohibition has unfortunately taken on additional significance. As Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, world-renowned authority on Jewish law and member of the rabbinical court of the Eidah Chareidis, said in a public address this week, “Those who visit the Temple Mount are turning the Israeli-Arab conflict into a religious conflict.”
But a religious war is precisely the goal of these ultra-Zionist organizations, as well as the right-wing parties in the Knesset.
When violent conflict over the Temple Mount first erupted in 1929, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, then chief rabbi of the Orthodox community of Jerusalem, issued a touching appeal to the Arab population to live in peace with the Jewish community, assuring them that the Jewish people had no secret plans to take the Temple Mount or any other Arab properties. He wrote:
The Jews do not want, in any way, to take that which isn’t theirs. And they certainly don’t want to contest the rights of the other inhabitants to the places held by them which they regard with honor and consider holy. And in particular there is no foundation to the rumor that the Jews want to acquire the Temple Mount. On the contrary, from the time that, because of our sins, we were exiled from our land, and our Holy Temple was destroyed, and we have been lacking the purity required by the Torah, it is forbidden for any man of Israel to set foot upon the grounds of the Temple Mount, until the coming of the righteous moshiach, who with the spirit of the L-rd, which will hover over him, will rule righteously, for the good of all creation, and will return to us the purity required by the Torah.
The article was printed in Arabic in the leading Arab newspaper. Click here to read the entire article.
Orthodox Jewish organizations and communities throughout the world have a responsibility to condemn today’s Temple Mount visitors in the strongest of terms, distance themselves from them and reiterate the ban on Jews entering the Temple Mount.
Just a month ago, some American Jews expressed their concerns over the Iran deal, because they felt it might place Jews in danger. Where are they now? Why don’t they publicly condemn those lovers of conflict who deliberately enter the Temple Mount to bring definite danger upon Jews?
It is the duty of every Jew to publicize that these provocateurs don’t represent us. And whoever is in a position to influence settlers, or their supporters, who wish to visit Jerusalem and might be tempted to enter the Temple Mount, has the duty to explain to them the severity of the prohibition and the obligation of Jews to act peacefully and responsibly at a time like this.