JERUSALEM (Aug. 5)
A group of rabbis led by former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren launched Tuesday a renewed campaign to allow Jews to pray and to erect a synagogue on the Temple Mount.
Jewish prayer on the site here of the two destroyed Jewish Temples has been banned following a 1967 government decision to continue the status quo on the Mount, run by the Supreme Moslem Council. Also in effect is a ruling by the Chief Rabbinical Council not to allow prayer there for fear that Jews will enter the Holy of Holies, the chamber which was entered only by the high priests.
But Goren and a number of other prominent rabbis called for a gathering 10 days before the fast of Tisha B’Av to demonstrate that by Jewish law, Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is not only permitted, but desired.
The gathering was held at the newly built Idra Raba Yeshiva, overlooking the Western Wall. The Yeshiva is directed by Goren, who explained there was no need for Jews to be concerned over prayers on the Temple Mount.
Goren argued that most of the dissenting rabbis have not studied the matter thoroughly. He said that following thorough research, he had no doubt that the Mount contains a large plot on which the Temple was not erected, which could be accessible to Jews. The Temple was known to span 7,680 square yards, and the size of the Mount was twice that. Therefore, he noted, the entire southern section, presently the site of the Al-Aksa Mosque, could be open to Jews.
The meeting ended with a halachic (Jewish legal) ruling that Jews were permitted to go on the Temple Mount. It called on the government to lift the ban, erect synagogues there and halt what it called illegal building by the Moslem authorities on the Mount. The gathering established a new body calling itself the Supreme Rabbinical Council on the Temple Mount.
Among those attending the meeting were the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem, the Chief Rabbi of Givatayim, a member of the Chief Rabbinical Court and the head of the Kiryat Arba Yeshiva.