Uproar After HaRav Yosef Slams Ben-Gvir For Visiting Har HaBayis

HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef (צילום: דר וסוחרת)

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A storm of controversy arose on Sunday after HaGaon HaRav Yosef Yitzchak sharply condemned Religious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir for his repeated visits to Har HaBayis.

The report aroused even more interest than usual as recent polls show the Religious Zionist party as possibly doubling its mandates in the next election. Reports even say that the Shas party is very worried that Ben-Gvir’s popularity will cause them to lose a significant number of votes.

Speaking at his weekly shiur on Motzei Shabbos, HaRav Yosef slammed Ben-Gvir, saying that his visits to Har HaBayis are a chillul Hashem as they are contrary to the opinion of so many Gedolei Yisrael, who hold that it is assur to visit Har HaBayis.

Ben-Gvir’s Rav, HaRav Dov Lior, a well-known Dati Leumi Rav, holds that it is mutar to go up to Har Bayis and himself visits the site. However, HaRav Yosef is not impressed by that fact, saying “Ben-Gvir will say: ‘I also have a Rav.’ But think for a minute. Your Rav is like all these great Gedolei Yisrael?”

“I signed, together with HaRav Dovid Lau and over 100 Rabbanim, including Dati Leumi Rabbanim, against ascending to Har HaBayis.”

HaRav Yosef also criticized Ben-Gvir for stirring up controversy and said that “one should stay away from him and all his ways.”

In response to an inquiry from B’Chadrei Chareidim about the issue, Ben-Gvir said: “I respect HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef and love him.” He did not address the specifics of HaRav Yosef’s complaints against him.

The report aroused much discussion, with the Dati Leumi website Srugim publishing an article entitled: “HaRav Yosef hits the sore spot of Tzionit HaDatit.” The article said that, unlike other controversies, HaRav Yosef’s criticism has been met with resounding silence – both from reporters and the Religious Zionist party.

According to the report, Avi Maoz’s Noam party, which is part of the Religious Zionist party, is opposed to visiting Har HaBayis and is loyal to the Rabbanut. Members of Betzalel Smotrich’s party don’t visit Har HaBayis and are loyal both to the Rabbanut and to Rabbanim who allow visits to Har HaBayis. Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party is supportive of visiting Har HaBayis and allows its members to make up their own minds about the Rabbanut.

Due to the varying opinions, the issue is a complicated one. Religious Zionists MKs who may want to come to Ben-Gvir’s defense are hesitant to do so since they don’t want to publicly oppose HaRav Yosef and the Rabbanut.

Below is a video of Maran Hagaon Chacham Ovadia Yosef saying that there is an Issur Kares for those who ascend the Har HaBayis.

Gedolei HaPoskim throughout the ages including Gedolei Hador Shlita today have ruled it is absolutely forbidden to visit Har Habayis, even if one does so in line with Halacha including tevila. This is also the ruling of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. This is an Issur Kares.

Thirteen years ago on Sukkos, then President Shimon Peres paid a visit to the Sukka of the late Posek Hador, Maran HaGaon Rav Elyashiv ZATZAL, where Rav Elyashiv called on the President to prevent Jews from visiting Har Habayis, stating it is an act that that is viewed as extremely provocative by the goyim. Maran stated everything possible must be done to avoid a religious war, and the provocateurs are playing with fire.

Maran is quoted as explaining to the president that Halacha forbids going onto Har Habayis but today, it is more than this, it is an act that may lead to a religious war and bloodshed.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Kudos to Rav Yosef. Unfortunately in such a Zionist climate of total confusion, a little light shed is appreciated.
    Ascending the Har Habayis shld never be a topic. It was known in all ages that it’s forbidden but these days everything is “mutar.” Its a. Beaides the sin of it, its a 1+1 that it ignited bloodshed.
    Unfortunately, Zionists are “affiliated” with Judaism. They dont see eye to eye with the Torah. Its the flag they swear allegiance to and choose what commandments best suits them.
    If Rav Yosef had to come out against ascending the Har Habayis, that shows us so blatantly how Zionism has ripped away the essence of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael.
    Israel, Zionism 🇮🇱 is the antithesis to Judaism.
    May Mashiach come now!

  2. He is 100% correct. We do not belong on the Har Habayis. We are still in Golus. When Hashem decides to end the Golus, we will go up there with song and joy and no opposition.

  3. “Religious Zionism” is idolatry, according to Rav Elchonon, the Chazon Ish and all the rest of the gedolim.

    So, when a religious individual adds idolatry to his Judaism and thinks that various idolatrous anti-Torah practices are really Judaism, then it gets complicated to tell that individual that he is really doing something idolatrous rather than, liHavdil, Jewish – while not also telling him that he is acting as the idol worshipper that he is.

  4. HaGaon HaRav Yosef Yitzchak sharply condemned Religious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir for his repeated visits to Har HaBayis.

    […] the Shas party is very worried that Ben-Gvir’s popularity will cause them to lose a significant number of votes.

    Hmm, I wonder, did it not occur to you that there could possibly be a relationship between these two facts? Even the dumbest person can easily join the dots here. Ben-Gvir is a threat to Shas, so Shas’s godfather attacks him. Very nice. Kach hi darka shel Torah.

    “Ben-Gvir will say: ‘I also have a Rav.’ But think for a minute. Your Rav is like all these great Gedolei Yisrael?”

    Actually, yes, he is. R Lior is easily as great as R Yosef and everyone else in Shas. And he is hardly alone in his opinion. The opposition to going up is more political than halachic. Or rather, the political convenience of not having Jews go there makes it not worth while for rabbonim to make the effort to find out what the halacha actually is. It’s much easier to just sit back and say “We don’t know, so let’s just asser it”.

    This is what the gemara actually means when it says “Koach dehetera adif”. Not, as it is commonly misused, that it’s better to be lenient than strict, but that it takes more effort to be lenient, in order to permit something you have to be sure of yourself, while forbidding is easy. Forbidding is the lazy rov’s way; one willing to do the work will investigate, and either find that it’s forbidden or that it’s permitted. Therefore he will be lenient more often than the lazy rov who forbids everything, even though he is NOT biased in favor of leniency.

  5. The Yabia Omer YD (5,26) says to publicize that most paskim don’t follow the Ravad and there is kares when going to the Har habayis being tamai.

  6. Kol Hakavod to Rav Yosef !! A real leader !!
    For being steadfast on Laws of the Torah and publicly expressing the rules of the Torah, even if it does clash with the views of the politicians.

  7. It is indeed a קדוש השם that the YW was even handed and mentioned the opinion of BG’s Rabbi who is not the only מתיר. Some of the greatest were מתיר as well. In general. the Rav and his sister are aligned with the left politically .

  8. Baby Squirrel: Let the Arabs remain on the Har Habayis as a continuing reminder of our Golus and our aveirahs that led to the loss of our presence on the Har Habayis. Maybe our seeing them up there will inspire tshuva.

  9. The Ramban in the 13th century hung a chain as a reminder that Jews may not ascend past that point for that is the Har Habayis. I’ve heard recently that that chain is still hanging although I can’t verify that as fact. This would indicate that the Issur is not a modern day one but the Rishonim held that way too. I guess Rabbi Lior is מחולק on the Ramban.

  10. What has the Raavad got to do with this? Most of Har Habayis is Machaneh Leviya, and teme’ei meis are allowed there. Any area that is definitely known not to be Machaneh Shechina is permitted LECHOL HADE’OS.

    And no, Miriam, it was NOT “known in all ages”. It was made up in recent centuries. In the Rambam’s day there was a shul on Har Habayis, and he himself went there. The rabbonim who asser it say, “Well, somewhere up there is the Azara, and we don’t know where exactly, so rather than bother finding out we’ll simply asser the whole mountain just in case”. The rabbonim who are matir say, “YOU don’t know; we do know. Because unlike you, we bothered to find out.” For a rov to say, “Not only do I not know, but nobody knows”, is simply arrogance and not a legitimate psak. How does he know that nobody knows? At most he can say “I don’t know whether what you think you know is correct, so I will not rely on it”. But he can’t say “You don’t know”.

  11. @Milhouse – It seems very likely that we actually do not know, nor could we know the precise locations, as there is evidence that part of the man made platform, which is known as the Har Habayis, has actually been reconstructed in certain areas, and the locations are not the same as during the zman haBayis.

  12. wow. milhouse and “could be” combined to shed more light on the actual halochos involved than the dozens upon dozens of YWN articles and speeches by Rav Yitzchak Yosef.

  13. CB, we may not know exactly where the Azara was, but we do know large areas where it definitely wasn’t. Those who go there stick to those areas.

    Yaapchik, the idea that a chain hung by the Ramban is still hanging is just stupid beyond imagination. It’s impossible for a reasonable person to believe such a claim. As for whether he did hang a chain, I have never heard that, and I doubt the Arabs would have allowed him to; but if he did, I would bet a large amount that it was somewhere INSIDE the Har Habayis, not at the entrance where the Rabbanut now tells people they can’t enter.

  14. When Caliph Umar captured Yerushalaim in 637, he supposedly asked a Jew on his force where the Beis Hamikdash was and built Al Aksa there or nearby. So, this is relatively old testimony, i addition to whatever archeologists are finding nowadays.

    also, note that thanks to Muslims, there was less of avoda zara at Har Habayit over the centuries.

  15. To all those people that go up to Har HaBayis:
    Let us put to the side for a moment the discussion of exactly which area is a Chiyuv Kares.
    We all know the every day reality, that when Jews go up there, it triggers a fatal response from the arabs, they start rioting, they are shooting at the Police Officers. Also a few years ago, the Har HaBayis issue triggered a real war with hamas. Thousands of Israeli citizens had to run at 2 AM into bomb shelters.
    Over the years, many many people got murdered by the arabs only because they were angry that we went up there.
    Any person with a real true Jewish soul, will never go to Har HaBayis, because he knows very well that he is causing many Jewish people to get injured in terrible ways.
    Some people think, who cares if 1,000 Jews get killed because of my actions, the main thing is that I will hide my spouse and children from the arabs and I will watch myself and my family will survive. 1,000 people are dead (because of my actions) but my family is still alive-tough luck on you if you are dead-I am alive and that is what’s important-if you are dead tough luck. I only care about myself and my immediate family. This is the real truth, don’t even bother replying to this true comment.

  16. As long as he went to mikva and was sprinkled with ashes from the red cow, what’s the problem? The Muslims don’t deny they stole the site (albeit they stole it from the Christians who took it from the “pagans”, and the Muslims do deserve credit for removing the idols that the previous occupiers had worshiped there).

  17. @Milhouse your clearly an am haertz gamur and have never read any seforim from the Yosef family. Rav Ovadyah zt”l was very into koyach dehitayrah udif in one of the first simanim in YD 1 (think its siman 11 end of the teshuva) he brings down a teshuvah meahavah that says its better for a rav to be makel because thats bein adom lamkoyom and yom kippur is mechaper as opposed to being machmer that bein adm lachavero and yom kippur is not michaper. So before you say anything about great rabonim do your research!!!