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Police Say Temple Mount Status Quo to Remain

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Oct. 26, 2009

by Abe Selig

A police source told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the status quo on the Temple Mount was not going to change. He spoke to the Post in the wake of calls by prominent rabbis and politicians on Sunday evening to increase visits to the Mount despite recent violence in and around the site.

"Let me say this very clearly," said the police source, who asked to remain unnamed. "We have no contacts whatsoever with these groups or with their rabbis, and they can make their calls [for Jews to go up to the Temple Mount] as much as they want - that's fine.

"But we have nothing to say to them, except that the status quo on the Temple Mount will not change - period. The police have never allowed [Jewish] prayer on the mount - it wasn't allowed [when the Temple Mount came under Israeli control] in 1967, it's not allowed now, and it won't be allowed [in the future]."

The source said that the police stance was based on a "government decision made in 1967" that prohibited Jews from praying on the Mount.

The statements came after a day of riots on the Temple Mount, in the alleyways of the Old City and in east Jerusalem neighborhoods after word spread in east Jerusalem and the North that the gathering of rabbis and politicians at Heichal Shlomo in the capital's west on Sunday evening amounted to an Israeli attempt to "conquer the Temple Mount."

Nine police officers were wounded in disturbances that followed, and throughout the day of unrest 21 Muslims - some of whom had arrived in the capital over the weekend from the North - had been arrested by police. At least five of them had been released by Monday afternoon, and a weary calm had settled over the area. Rabbi Yehuda Glick, director-general of the Temple Institute - a Jerusalem-based organization dedicated to researching and, eventually, rebuilding the Temple - told the Post that his group, one of the organizers of Sunday evening's parley, would not be dissuaded by the firm position of the police.

"I don't know whom you spoke with today, but it's true," Glick said, "we have made every effort to talk to the police and they simply refuse to meet with us. I've sent dozens of letters to some of the top police commanders in Jerusalem, and have never received a response. Although they meet with every Christian group who arrives here, they continue to treat us like a small group of people who are going to burn down the Middle East."

That perception, Glick said, was one of the reasons Sunday's gathering was so important.

"We showed people who hold that view of us that we're actually a large, mainstream portion of the Zionist religious community," he said. Glick added that the High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of Jewish prayer on the Mount - a ruling he said police have violated.

"I have the ruling from the High Court," Glick said. "It clearly states that Jews have the right to pray on the Temple Mount so long as there is no danger of unrest at the site. And on top of that, the ruling states that police must have specific knowledge of such unrest to prevent Jews from praying."

"Unfortunately," Glick continued, "the police have taken the matter into their own hands, and are fearful of Muslim violence. In the past few years, we've made a lot progress in getting Jews to come to the Temple Mount, but on the other hand, the police have taken a few steps back."

A police source told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the status quo on the Temple Mount was not going to change. He spoke to the Post in the wake of calls by prominent rabbis and politicians on Sunday evening to increase visits to the Mount despite recent violence in and around the site.

"Let me say this very clearly," said the police source, who asked to remain unnamed. "We have no contacts whatsoever with these groups or with their rabbis, and they can make their calls [for Jews to go up to the Temple Mount] as much as they want - that's fine.

"But we have nothing to say to them, except that the status quo on the Temple Mount will not change - period. The police have never allowed [Jewish] prayer on the mount - it wasn't allowed [when the Temple Mount came under Israeli control] in 1967, it's not allowed now, and it won't be allowed [in the future]."

The source said that the police stance was based on a "government decision made in 1967" that prohibited Jews from praying on the Mount.

The statements came after a day of riots on the Temple Mount, in the alleyways of the Old City and in east Jerusalem neighborhoods after word spread in east Jerusalem and the North that the gathering of rabbis and politicians at Heichal Shlomo in the capital's west on Sunday evening amounted to an Israeli attempt to "conquer the Temple Mount."

Nine police officers were wounded in disturbances that followed, and throughout the day of unrest 21 Muslims - some of whom had arrived in the capital over the weekend from the North - had been arrested by police. At least five of them had been released by Monday afternoon, and a weary calm had settled over the area.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, director-general of the Temple Institute - a Jerusalem-based organization dedicated to researching and, eventually, rebuilding the Temple - told the Post that his group, one of the organizers of Sunday evening's parley, would not be dissuaded by the firm position of the police.

"I don't know whom you spoke with today, but it's true," Glick said, "we have made every effort to talk to the police and they simply refuse to meet with us. I've sent dozens of letters to some of the top police commanders in Jerusalem, and have never received a response. Although they meet with every Christian group who arrives here, they continue to treat us like a small group of people who are going to burn down the Middle East."

That perception, Glick said, was one of the reasons Sunday's gathering was so important.

"We showed people who hold that view of us that we're actually a large, mainstream portion of the Zionist religious community," he said. Glick added that the High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of Jewish prayer on the Mount - a ruling he said police have violated.

"I have the ruling from the High Court," Glick said. "It clearly states that Jews have the right to pray on the Temple Mount so long as there is no danger of unrest at the site. And on top of that, the ruling states that police must have specific knowledge of such unrest to prevent Jews from praying."

"Unfortunately," Glick continued, "the police have taken the matter into their own hands, and are fearful of Muslim violence. In the past few years, we've made a lot progress in getting Jews to come to the Temple Mount, but on the other hand, the police have taken a few steps back."

 

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