This weekend, the rabbis Haim Druckman and Avraham Zukerman, of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and Tzafania Drori, chief rabbi of Kiryat Shmona, are set to join this growing group with an ad in the Orthodox media. The rabbis, who are major figures in the religious Zionist movement, will call on Jews wishing to enter the Temple Mount "in purity, to ascend at this time to the to the places permitted for Jews to enter."
The three rabbis are known for their principle support for letting Jews on to the Temple Mount. But they had not yet expressed their stand formally, because of the religious sensitivity of the issue. Now, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Jerusalem's unification, with many right-wing movements placing the Temple Mount on their agenda, the rabbis have decided to call publicly on Jews to go to the Mount.
In publishing the ad, they will be joining dozens of other rabbis of the religious Zionist stream, among them rabbis in West Bank settlements, who in recent years have allowed Jews to go to the Temple Mount within the bounds of Jewish law.
Currently, rabbinic consensus in the religious Zionist and the ultra-Orthodox world prohibits Jews from entering the Temple Mount. This is because the exact location of the Holy of Holies is not known, and therefore Jews who have not properly purified themselves may accidentally walk there or through other prohibited places.
Rabbis who allow their supporters to ascend to the Temple Mount set stipulations for entry, including the mandating of ritual immersion beforehand, the wearing of cloth shoes, the keeping to areas permitted to Jews under Jewish custom, and the studying of relevant religious regulations.
...successive Israeli governments, backed by the High Court of Justice, have allowed Jews to visit the Temple Mount, but have prohibited them from praying there. The policy was set 40 years ago by then-defense minister Moshe Dayan. Dayan argued that the national and territorial dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict should be separated from the religious dimension, and for this reason Jewish prayer and ritual should be prohibited on the Mount. At the same time, it was decided that ultimate responsibility for security on and around the Temple Mount would be in the hands of Israel, while religious and administrative autonomy at the Temple Mount would be under the Waqf (the Muslim religious authorities), a situation that prevails to this day.
Just for the record, my first ascent was in September 1970.