Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan: Jews are Entitled to Religious Freedom on Har Habayis Too

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hhaHar Habayis was closed to Jews on erev Shabbos as a result of continuing Islamic violence. On Wednesday, erev First Day of Sukkos, Arabs rioted as well, resulting in injuries to four policemen. Clearly the violence coincides with yomtov, times many Jews wish to visit Har Habayis. The Islamic rioters are aware that if the violence continues to escalate, the routine response is to shut the holy site to non-Muslims, hence granting the rioters a victory.

Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan responded to the yomtov violence. “Once again we see that we cannot rely on the Waqf and Israel Police must take control and maintain order. Jews are entitled to religious freedom on Har Habayis. I call on Israel Police to expedite addressing the formulation of guidelines for Jewish worship on Har Habayis.”

As Jews began ascending on Har Habayis on erev Shabbos, the first day of chol hamoed in Eretz Yisrael, dozens of Arabs began attacking and police with stones and blocks.

Jerusalem police continue to reassure the public it will not tolerate violence on Har Habayis in any form and troops will take whatever measures necessary to restore order on Har Habayis.

YWN notes that this view is not accepted by poskei hador, who remain opposed to Jews visiting Har Habayis. This is and remains the view of poskei hador. This is also the view of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Among the rabbonim who share this view are HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L, Maran Hagon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZT”l and many others.

Recently, HaRav Yitzchak Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Israel said in a speech about this: “One of the rabbis even dared to argue. I told him ‘with all due respect how can you disagree with Rav Elyashiv, with Maran my father, the Steipler, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and the Gedolei Hador? We are talking about kores!”

Six years ago on Sukkos, former Israeli President Shimon Peres paid a visit to the Sukka of 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)