Rabbi Rosen
MK Ariel
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Rabbis visiting Temple Mount 'hope for an awakening'
Thirty Zionist rabbis break taboo and visit Temple Mount as part of 40th anniversary celebrations of Jerusalem's unification
Dozens of religious Zionist rabbis, including yeshiva heads and municipal rabbis made their way to Temple Mount Sunday for the very first time.


More and more rabbis in the religious Zionist sector have been calling for a march on Temple Mount over the last few years, especially after Jewish access to it has been restricted since 2000.


"Forty years after we won the Six Day War, its accomplishments seem to be fading away," said Rabbi Israel Rosen, head of the Zomet religious Institute.


Temple Mount (Archive photo: Haim Zach)


"Recognizing values such as returning to eastern Jerusalem and Temple Mount, the massive return of Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel, and the construction of West Bank settlement are all part of our Jewish core," he added.


"This is a blessed event," said MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) when he heard of the rabbis' action. "The police finally realized that keeping Jews out of one of their holiest places is absurd, and must change.


"This week, when we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, we must remember we still have a long way to go before the Jewish people reclaim this holy place. This is a positive step," he added, "but it can't be a one-time thing."


Rosen said he didn't think Israel's chief rabbinate would join the Zionist rabbis' call. "The Orthodox community is divided mainly by the political beliefs of its leaders," said Rosen, "and as long as that is the situation, there is very little chance they'll join us."


The Shas rabbis, however, "might be able to join our call" he said, adding he hopes they "listen to the movement's call"


Jews were able to visit Temple Mount after the Six Day War, but were not allowed to pray there.


Access to Temple Mount was forbidden completely in 2000, after former Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon's visit to there sparked riots and the second intifada. Restricted access was allowed again only since 2003.


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