The place of religious aspirations for sovereignty over the Temple Mount in religious-Zionist rulings

Eliav Taub, Aviad Yehiel Hollander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In recent years, the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount has increased. In 2008, on the first day of the Succoth festival, hundreds of yeshiva students and their teachers paid an organized visit to the Temple Mount. This, in combination with private visitations, constituted an unprecedented number of visitors in one day since Israel’s occupation of the Temple Mount in 1967. Moreover, in the early 1990s, only a few dozen people even promoted the idea of Jewish pilgrimage to the Temple Mount, yet by the end of the twentieth century, the number of visits had grown to approximately 1, 000.2 Presently, about one decade later, one can say Jewish presence on the Temple Mount has become a matter of routine. Numerous organizations are involved in advancing pilgrimage to the Mount; many of them backed by significant philanthropic support.3 Since 2009, a portion of the leaflets accompanying the Bible portion of the week (distributed for Sabbath reading in synagogues across Israel to encourage biblical discourse and address current affairs) have begun to indicate times for ascension to the Temple Mount.4 Thus, if in the not-too-distant past, ascension to the Temple Mount was the lot of a few individuals-backed by scant economic and rabbinic support and labeled as messianic5-today this activity enjoys significant economic support of private bodies comprising many participants. This new situation continuously tests the policy of the police who are charged with pre- venting situations “prone to harm freedom of access of religious followers to their holy places.”6 It is no surprise that the police, fearing riots and violations of the public peace, 7 find it difficult to deal with long lines of Jews seeking to enter the Mount. For the most part, the profile of Jews who have ascended the Temple Mount over the last decade corresponds to a public within the consensus of religious-Zionist society, with some subscribing to moderate center-left positions. This holds true for rabbis as well. Numerous municipal rabbis are encouraging ascension to the Temple Mount, among them: Rabbi Zefania Drori, rabbi of Kiryat Shemona; Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, rabbi of Efrat; Rabbi Haim Druckman, one of the major rabbis of religious Zionism, head of Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and the of the Courts of Conversion to Judaism in the Office of the Prime Minister; Rabbis Yehuda Amital8 and Yakov Maidan, heads of the Har Etzion Yeshiva plus other rabbis from this yeshiva characterized by its moderate center-left positions.9.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSacred Space in Israel and Palestine
Subtitle of host publicationReligion and Politics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781136490347
ISBN (Print)9780415783156
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 Eliav Taub and Aviad Yehiel Hollander for selection and editorial matter.


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