by Gil Ronen
Chief Rabbis Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Rabbi Yonah Metzger joined by other top rabbis in proclaiming Mount off grounds.
Chief Sephardic Rabbi (Rav) Rabbi Shlomo Amar has published a call to believers not to ascend to the Temple Mount. The call appears under the heading "avoid ascending to the Mount and touching its edge," which is attributed to Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk.
Rav Amar's declaration was co-signed by former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Rav Eliyahu Bakshi Doron; Rav Shalom Cohen, Head of Porat Yosef Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem' Old City Rabbi Rav Avigdor Neventzal, and Kotel Rabbi, Rav Shmuel Rabinovich.
"It is a holy obligation to make you aware that it is completely forbidden by Halakha to ascend to the Temple Mount, and this prohibition has always been a simple and clear one, and this thing has been forbidden by all of the Great Ones of Israel.
"Since, in the recent period, all kinds of organizations are calling on the public to ascend to the Temple Mount, we hereby proclaim the Torah opinion, that the prohibition still stands, and it is completely forbidden to ascend to the Temple Mount at this time."
The Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, Rav Yonah Metzger, has also issued an opinion in the matter. Rav Metzger also states that the prohibition on entering the Mount is a well known one. "Yet I could not remain silent," he wrote, "for I heard a faint voice from those who claim that there is supposedly a heter [permission] in the matter [of entering the Mount], and who mislead the believers of Israel into ascending the Mount of G-d..."
"I therefore saw myself obliged to call upon the holy assembly to refrain from ascending, G-d forbid, to [anywhere in] the entire Temple Mount," Rav Metzger added. "In addition, let me say that anyone who knows about a person who wishes to ascend to the Temple Mount - he has a sacred obligation to protest to him and to explain to him kindly the seriousness of the prohibition..."