Cheshvan 28, 5774, 01/11/13
Bayit Yehudi advances monumental new bill to ensure regular prayer hours for Jews on the Temple Mount; first since 1967.
by Tova Dvorin
Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) has advanced new laws this morning (Friday) that would enact the establishment of regular prayer hours for Jews visiting the Temple Mount, Yediot Ahronot reports.
According the the new laws, which have already begun to undergo legal processing through the Ministry of Religious Services, daily prayer hours would be set for Jewish groups visiting Judaism's holiest site. Currently, Jews have faced frequent attacks of discrimination against them by Israeli Police during Temple Mount visits, in accordance with a ban on Jewish religious activity there stemming from pressure from Palestinian Arab and Muslim groups. Violators of the ban are apprehended immediately, sometimes facing additional bans preventing them from visiting the Mount at all for a predetermined time period.
The laws, if passed, would be a monumental upholding of Israel's official stance of religious freedom. While Israel officially liberated the Mount from Arab capture during the 1967, the law would be the first of its kind to allow both Jewish and Muslim religious activity at the site.
Proposals regarding the Temple Mount needs to receive an official stamp of approval from both Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In the meantime, an investigation is being launched by Bayit Yehudi, along with Chairwoman of the Committee of Interior Affairs MK Miriam Regev (Likud), regarding ways to enact legislation that flies "under the radar" to ensure Jewish prayer rights at the Mount. One suggestion includes declaring the Mount as a legal Jewish Holy Site, thus barring the exclusion of Jewish entry to the site on legal and moral grounds.
The Committee of Interior Affairs is set to discuss the issue in an official meeting this upcoming Monday, where Bayit Yehudi MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan will declare that "the situation needs to change on the Temple Mount."