PHOTOS: ZAKA Volunteers Received Rabbinic Approval To Enter Har Habayis Terror Attack Site



Following the terror shooting attack that took place early Friday morning near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem, in which two Israeli Druse policemen were shot and killed and the three terrorists killed in the ensuing gun battle on Har Habayis, Zaka volunteers found themselves in a difficult situation.

Not only were they on the scene to carry out their sacred work at the site where the two Israeli Druse policemen were killed, but they were also required to assist the Israel Police in evacuating the bodies of the three terrorists at the second site – on Har Habayis complex where access is forbidden to Jews.

After consultation with the Zaka Rabbinical Council in order to work within halacha, two Zaka volunteers toiveled in a mikve and removed their shoes before entering the holy site. Other Zaka volunteers, led by Jerusalem Commander Bentzi Oaring, waited outside the Har Habayis compound to complete their work and evacuate the bodies in Zaka ambulances.

Zaka Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav noted the difficulties that volunteers face at every terror attack, in dealing with the bodies of the terrorists, alongside those of their victims. “This is the greatness of Zaka – our volunteers treat the deceased regardless of religion, race or nationality. As it is written: Man was created in the image of God. It is not written Jew or Gentile, rather that every man was created in His image. There are incidents, like today, that lead to the absurd situation where we deal with the bodies of the victims and the terrorists, albeit with teeth gritted. In terms of the halacha, the bodies of terrorists and murderers must also be handled with respect and sent for burial. The only difference we make is with the use of black body bags for the murderers, rather than the white Zaka body bags for the victims.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. 1. All the victims and perpetrators were non-Jewish. There’s no plausible heter to enter the Har Habayis.

    2. The daati leumi mizrachi rabbis they got a heter from allow anyone to enter the Har Habayis anytime (in violation of the pronouncements of Gedolei Yisroel). So this is no chiddush.

  2. Would first responders have hesitated to respond if there were injured individuals waiting for emergency care? I assume that the urgency of pikuach nefesh would preempt any concerns about going up to har habayis. In this case, there was urgency for kavod hames but not the same as if the individuals were still alive and needed to be rushed to the hospital.

  3. Joseph

    You shouldn’t second guess the psak. Do you know the rabbanim of Zaka, Why do you think they are the ones who give blanket heterim to go on Har Habayis?
    There is an issue of darcehi shalom because there are Druse soldiers and policemen protecting Jews every day. If we don’t treat them as equals, then chas vishalom they may be lax in their job and Jews could be killed.

  4. joseph, it is important to differentiate between different parts of the har habayis. one can be machmir and go nowhere on the har habayis. but bemakom tzorech such chumrot result in the violation of other mitzvot. many chumrot kept indiscriminately can result in real aveirot.

  5. Joseph,
    You’re taking quite a lot for granted. You should probably do some research before stating your opinion.
    1.There is a mitzvah to remove tumah from the mikdash, see rambam hilchot beit habechira 7:23. If a corpse is found there, preference should be given for a levi to remove it. From videos it is apparent that the corpse was outside the mikdash. So there would be no heter to enter that area but to remove it while remaining on har habayit but outside the mikdash. This is reportedly how it was carried out. I have this information from those who were there.
    2. R’ Avigdor Nebenzahl who gave the heter is one of the leading mitnagdim to aliyah to har habayit.