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This article answers the question, “What Is the Temple Mount in orthodox Judeism?” It also explains the Jewish ties to the site and whether it should be open to non-Muslims. The article also covers the debate over the Temple Mount’s Control and the future of Jerusalem. In this article, we will consider the ramifications of these two issues and try to answer these questions for all of us.
Recently, a national-religious movement called for the Jewish ascent of the Temple Mount. The group claims to know the precise location of the Holy of Holies, but an Ir Amim report suggests the real motive for this renewed call is political. They fear compromise on the Temple Mount during a future peace agreement. Nevertheless, the Temple Institute continues to push for the Jewish ascent of the Temple Mount.
According to halakha, the construction of the Temple did not make the Temple Mount holy. The mountain itself was already sanctified, and the Divine Presence descended upon it when the Temple was built. Because of this, Orthodox Jews have refused to enter the site. According to Maimonides, without the rituals performed at the Temple, all Jews are ritually impure. Thus, he issued an edict against the Temple Mount and the site of the Temple. Today, religious Jews strictly observe this edict.
In the 1970s, the Chief Rabbi of Israel proposed a new synagogue to be built on the Temple Mount. This synagogue would be surrounded by a glass wall and have no door that leads to the forbidden area. The building would also be enclosed by a fence, with stone markers to indicate where it belongs. It would be taller than the Dome of the Rock or El Aqsa.
Several steps were taken to make the Kotel a synagogue. The most controversial of these measures was segregating the sexes in the Temple Mount. These steps brought the Chief Rabbinate into conflict with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. In addition to countering the efforts of the National Parks Authority to turn the Kotel into an archeological site, the Chief Rabbinate also rejected an architectural plan to develop the Western Wall area.
The recent incident sparked a new debate about access to the Temple Mount. Jewish activists have sought increased praying rights and visiting hours for the holy site. They also believe that the ancient Temple will be rebuilt and sacrificial services should resume. However, despite the tensions, the activists say they are not there to provoke any religious rift. And Rabbi Glick does not want to start a war. He hopes to establish dialogue with Muslims to determine whether building a third Jewish temple on the Temple Mount is compatible with their faith.
While the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the site of two ancient Jewish temples, the importance of the site cannot be overstated. The First Temple, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second Temple, constructed by King Solomon after the destruction of the first Temple, stood for about 600 years until the Roman Empire destroyed it in 70 CE. The Temple Mount is also the site of a third Temple during the messianic age.
Jewish ties to the Temple Mount
The debate over Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in orthodox Judaisim is a complicated one. While some rabbis have endorsed the controversial religious-Zionist position, others have not. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former chief rabbi of the Sephardic community of Israel and founder of the religious political party Shas, has remained unmoved by the issue.
After the 1967 war, the Chief Rabbinate was forced to deal with a new reality. Israel recognized him as the spiritual leader of Orthodox Jewry, so he has been trying to adopt positions that do not conflict with official thinking and the vast majority of Israeli society. However, the controversy over Jewish ties to the Temple Mount will remain for now. The Chief Rabbinate’s decision to remove the Israeli flag from the Temple Mount is a major sign of a new phase of the debate.
The Israeli capture of the Temple Mount opened a Pandora’s box for religious authorities. While the official Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s stance was generally conservative, the debate has intensified and some rabbis have become more partisan. In fact, despite a largely conservative stance from religious leaders, some rabbis of the ultra-Orthodox movement (Haredi) have called for the complete ban on Jews from visiting the Temple Mount.
The Palestinians, supported by six Arab states, were able to convince the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to list the holy sites as Muslim. This decision was a major defeat for Israel and is part of an attempt to dismantle the Jewish connection to the holy site. Despite the Palestinians’ efforts to eradicate Jewish ties to the site, the Palestinians have managed to convince the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to condemn Israel for the archaeological work that has taken place on the Temple Mount.
The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations said that this resolution did not mention the ancient Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. A majority of countries supported the resolution, but as many as 19 countries withdrew their support during a vote in November, the Palestinian Authority is pushing hard to make the site exclusively Islamic. The controversial area is a central site for Muslims and Christians and has long been a source of political tension.
While some Jews have been skeptical of this new religious movement, they do support the idea of building a third Jewish temple on the Temple Mount. The Temple Institute works closely with architects to design a new temple on the site of the Second Temple. In addition to building the Third Temple, the Institute is committed to dialogue and peace with Muslims. By making this issue more visible, however, the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in orthodox Judaism can help bring the topic into the forefront of global consciousness.
Control of the Temple Mount by Israel
In 1967, when the State of Israel captured the Old City and the Temple Mount, it recognized the Mount as a Muslim holy site. Moshe Dayan halted Jewish prayer on the Mount and transferred control to the Muslim Waqf. The resulting status quo has remained in place since then. In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Jews were allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. But the debate about the Temple Mount remains far from over.
The Muslim claim that the Temple Mount belongs to them is the basis of the enduring conflict between the two religions. During the Ottoman and Mamluk periods, non-Muslims were prohibited from visiting the Temple Mount, but the Sultan of Turkey made an exception during the visit of Prince Edward VII. The Arab occupier Jordan also desecrated the Temple Mount, denying Jews access to the holy sites. In 1967, Israel’s Defense Forces captured the Old City, declaring, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” In the aftermath of this war, the Jewish people reclaimed control of the Mount.
While Israel has not yet been accused of annexing the Mount, its government has been funding and promoting extremist groups on the site. In addition, the government of Israel has also indoctrinated its children with the “Temple Mount” movement, instilling in them the desire to build a Jewish temple on the Noble Sanctuary. The extremist groups on the Temple Mount are also supported by right-wing evangelical Christians. The Israeli government has been responsible for the destruction of an entire neighborhood near the Noble Sanctuary. The Mughrabi (Moroccan) Quarter consisted of 135 homes. As a result, between 650 and 1,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes.
The battle for Jerusalem is an icon in Israeli history. Israeli paratroopers fought in the Old City, Temple Mount, and Western Wall. Few battles have fateful consequences as the Battle for Jerusalem. The Israelis’ decision to surrender control of the Temple Mount was a sign of weakness. Israeli colonel Motta Gur snaked through the alleys and declared on the radio: “Control of the Temple Mount is in our hands.” This was a big deal for all Jews, as it is the site of daily prayer.
Since 1990, Israeli officials have tightened security around the Temple Mount. Additional police officers and soldiers have been deployed around the Mount. Although Palestinian protestors continued to clash with the Israeli security forces, the situation has calmed down significantly. The current Israeli government, including Naftali Bennett, has rejected this fact-finding mission. As a result, Israel has gained a more centralized grip over the Temple Mount.
Until the Six-Day War in 1967, Jordan controlled the West Bank and the Temple Mount. However, with help from Egypt and Syria, the Israelis attacked and forced the Jordanians to retreat from the West Bank. The Israelis then seized the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem. While the Temple Mount is under the control of the Islamic Waqf, Israel provides security and upholds the decisions of the Islamic Waqf.