Tue, 06 Jun 2023

Jerusalem [Israel], May 22 (ANI/TPS): National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Sunday morning, after not going up to the holy site last week during Jerusalem Day.

"Happy to go up to the Temple Mount, the most important place for the people of Israel," Ben-Gvir said in a statement shortly afterwards last week. ": It should be said that the police are doing a wonderful job here and once again proving who owns the house in Jerusalem. All the threats of Hamas will not help, we are the owners of Jerusalem and the entire Land of Israel."Ben-Gvir was accompanied by police officers and members of an organization called The Temple Mount Administration, which advocates for Jewish ties to the holy site. The visit was made early in the morning when the site was not crowded.

Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day on Thursday last week, marking the anniversary of the city's reunification during the Six-Day War of 1967. Thursday morning was marked with Jews visiting the Temple Mount in the morning. Ben-Gvir, a staunch advocate of Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, did not visit the Temple Mount on Thursday.

Ben-Gvir did not explain why he skipped Thursday's visit while several Likud lawmakers went.

He did participate in the traditional Jerusalem Day flag parade. The parade passed through Damascus Gate and proceeded through the Old City to the Western Wall. Marchers did not go up to the adjacent Temple Mount.

Palestinians regularly accuse Israel of using the march to "Judaize" the city.

The Temple Mount, where the First and Second Jewish Temples were built, is the overall holiest site in Judaism. The Western Wall is the only remnant of a retaining wall encircling the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great in the first century and is the holiest site where Jews can freely pray.

The delicate status quo governing the Temple Mount goes back to 1967 when Israel liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan during the Six-Day War. Fearing a religious war, then-defence minister Moshe Dayan agreed to let the Islamic Waqf, a Muslim trusteeship, continue managing the holy site's day-to-day affairs, while Israel would maintain overall sovereignty and be responsible for security.

Rabbis are increasingly divided over Jews ascending to the Temple Mount. For centuries, the widespread rabbinic consensus was that the laws of ritual purity still apply to the site. But in recent years, a growing number of rabbis have argued that ritual purity laws don't apply to all sections of the Temple Mount and encourage visits to permitted areas to maintain Jewish connections to the Mount.

In September, the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount crossed the 50,000 thresholds for the first time in modern history, according to Beyadenu, an organization working to advance Jewish ties to the holy site. (ANI/TPS)

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