Israel’s leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis are waging a new offensive against Jews visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Rabbis Shalom Elyashiv, Chaim Kanievsky and Ovadia Yosef sent a letter recently to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, the overseer of holy places in the Western Wall complex, urging him to reiterate the religious decree signed 40 years ago by most rabbis in Israel forbidding Jews from entering the Mount.
The rabbis’ efforts follow the publication in Haaretz last month of the visit of Rabbi Moshe Tendler, the son-in-law of prominent U.S. rabbi Moshe Epstein, to the Temple Mount.
Rabbi Tendler was photographed visiting the plaza atop the Mount, where the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine now sits, igniting a firestorm of controversy in the ultra-Orthodox community. Several other prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis have ascended the Mount in recent years, including Rabbi Dov Kook of Tiberias, the husband of Elyashiv’s granddaughter.
The rabbis’ statement calls for a complete ban on entering any part of the Temple Mount complex for fear of compromising the “purity” of the area.
The declaration stated that “as time passed, we have lost knowledge of the precise location of the Temple, and anyone entering the Temple Mount is liable to unwittingly enter the area of the Temple and the Holy of Holies,” referring to the inner sanctuary of the Temple tabernacle.
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HT: Joe Lauer