Thursday, March 23, 2006

Who Shall Ascend?

This is interesting.

Haaretz reports that Imams and rabbis form summit on issues surrounding Temple Mount

Alright, the headline was a pun ("summit", "mount") but the intrigue is there.

In Seville, Spain a panel discussion on holy sites discussed a proposal to establish a permanent committee comprising an equal number of Jewish and Muslim clerics to discuss issues affecting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Rav Ratzon Arussi, though,
stressed that their fear is baseless because Jewish law forbids Jews from entering the site. Rothenberg, who has published research on the issue, said the halakhic prohibition could prevent a religious war between Jews and Muslims

He further
urged the Muslim representative to take action against anti-Jewish incitement regarding the Temple Mount, which he said "feeds extremist elements within Israel."

Well, Aroussi is wrong, as he himself well knows, being a member of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate which itself has a committee to investigate possibilities of entrance even thought, true, the official stand of the Chief Rabbinate is to prohibit all entrance.

Back in February a year ago, the same Haaretz reported

Rabbi Shear Yashuv Hacohen, chief rabbi of Haifa who chairs a committee set up by the Chief Rabbinate to determine which areas on the Temple Mount are permitted to Jews and which are forbidden, publicized a letter of protest he'd written about the fact that the chief rabbis had added their signatures to a new ban on the entry of Jews to the Mount, even before the committee he heads completed its work.

Rabbi Dov Lior and the Yesha council of rabbis openly permit and encourage the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount. This long-standing internal Halakhic dispute is heating up now and causing agitation in the ranks. This in itself serves the Temple Mount movements, which now speak of "mass visits of Jews to the Mount, and a rebuilding of the consciousness of the Mount and the Temple among the public at large."

So, it seems that Rav Aroussi is a bit fablunshet. But to be comprehensive, let's recall that:

It was no coincidence that heavy fog blanketed the various rabbis' positions on a key question that has concerned the Temple Mount movement for years: Is it permitted for Jews in our generation to visit the Temple Mount - as a growing minority of the rabbis believes - or are the halakhic constraints so real that entry of Jews to the Mount should be banned outright?

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu , chief rabbi of Safed and the son of the former chief rabbi of Israel Mordechai Eliyahu, who forbids entry to the Mount, was named by the Temple movement as someone who does permit entry to the Temple Mount. Yet he made it clear, when asked, that he had never permitted it, and said that he would publicly announce his approval of entering the Temple Mount only in coordination with the Chief Rabbinate Council.

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