In response to recent tensions and violence in and around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, the Rabbinate Union of Israel, the Israel Committee of Rabbis, the Rabbinical Union of French Speaking Community in Israel, and Forward Thinking, facilitated an urgent conference in Netanya, Israel.
Between 30 May and 1 June, over 70 Rabbinical leaders from across Israel attended, including Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi, and Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weiss, member of the Chief Rabbinate of the Israel Council.
The two key outputs of the conference were: a commitment by the Rabbis to ‘help build peace between families, communities and nations’, and the reiteration of the sacred religious edict which prohibits Jews from entering the Temple Mount, the location of the Holy of Holies. Rabbinical leaders examined the theological background to the two themes and how they, as religious leaders, can mitigate and prevent future tensions over Jerusalem’s sacred spaces and promote peace and reconciliation.
Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef closed the conference with a clear statement that reaffirmed the long-standing religious edict, issued by the Chief Rabbinate, expressing the sanctity in the place of the Holy of Holies, and prohibiting Jews from entering the Temple Mount/ Haram al-Sharif.
Halachic ruling delivered by Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Netanya (pictured 1st June 2021)
“With the recent encouragement by certain sectors that call on the public to go to certain parts of Temple Mount, we want to publicise our opinion (the opinion of the Torah). It is fitting to warn the public that no one should enter any area of the Temple Mount. This is because the boundaries of the area where entrance to Temple Mount is permitted have not been clarified by our sages throughout the generations of exile. Clearly, it is impossible to know nowadays exactly which places on Temple Mount are permitted and which are forbidden.
Therefore, Heaven forbid that anyone who enters any area of the Temple Mount, even after ritual purification (immersing in Mikveh) and for the sake of a mitzvah, especially because as a result of this, uninformed people will enter forbidden areas in a state of impurity, as is stated in the Talmud Yerushalmi: it is forbidden to place a stumbling block before the holy nation of Israel that they might transgress such a serious prohibition. Both those who warn others and those who are careful will merit peace”.
With blessings of gratitude,
Chief Rabbi of Israel