JERUSALEM (JTA) — A leading Israeli rabbi, Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, said Jews should not visit the Temple Mount and that such visits could provoke bloodshed.
Elyashiv told President Shimon Peres that Jews are forbidden according to Jewish law to ascend to the Temple Mount and that such visits — which he termed a "provocation" — could lead to violence and death.
"I have declared this in the past, and I repeat once again my statement," he said. "Beyond the halachic aspect, it is also a kind of provocation of the world’s nations that could lead to bloodshed, and this would be one sin leading to another."
Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian sect of the fervently Orthodox Ashkenazi community, hosted Peres in his sukkah on Thursday morning in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Meah Shearim.
"The nation has ears and you must let your voice be heard," Peres replied. "Your voice is heard, you are a Torah sage and you are respected by the public. We must ensure that your position is heard."
Peres was visiting with the rabbi for the first time. At the end of the visit, Elyashiv gave Peres a blessing to help him steer the nation.