Nissan 30, 5774, 30/04/14
MKs and public figures gather in Jerusalem for a conference on Temple Mount prayer rights. See full video and picture coverage.
Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan spoke via video message at a conference for Jewish Temple Mount prayer rights on Tuesday. He announced that his office is working on new regulations allowing Jews to pray at the holiest site in Judaism.
At the conference, held in Jerusalem's Begin Heritage Center by the Liba Project for Jewish Freedom at the Temple Mount, Rabbi Ben-Dahan declared that "whoever was permitted by his primary rabbi to ascend to the Temple Mount should and may ascend to the Temple Mount and pray there."
"We have set regulations to arrange prayers on the Mount," added Ben-Dahan. "I expect and trust that the prime minister and the Israeli government will adopt these regulations, give them legal standing, and allow any Jew who wants to ascend to the Temple Mount and pray there, to pray there."
Ben-Dahan criticized the "discrimination" on the site by which only Jews are forbidden to pray.
"No equality - it's all ours"
The emergency conference, entitled "Returning the Temple Mount," was organized by Liba Project Director Yehuda Glick, following the repeated riots by Muslim visitors preventing Jews from accessing the site.
"We came to say in a clear voice - enough is enough," declared Glick. "The situation of daily harassment of Jews on the Temple Mount cannot continue, not even for another moment."
Glick called on the state to defend the rights of Jews to pray at the holy site, as a "sovereign and democratic nation."
Deputy Knesset Chairman MK Moshe Feiglin also spoke at the conference, saying "I'm not asking for equality at the Temple Mount; there is no equality - it's ours and ours alone."
The MK attacked Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich in his speech, addressing him and saying "you didn't dare send a unit of Border Police (to the Mount), a mere thousandth of what you did in Yitzhar, because you don't believe (the Mount) is yours."
"Whoever doesn't actually walk around the Mount abandons it to the Muslims," added Feiglin. "If we don't have a home we don't have a history, and if we don't have a history we aren't a nation, but rather just a religion. If we are just a religion, we don't deserve a Jewish state."
"End the Muslim occupation of the Temple Mount"
The importance of the Temple Mount was stressed by former MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad, who commented "it isn't that we define the Temple Mount as the holiest place to us, it defines us. The definition of the nation of Israel is the Temple Mount."
Eldad added that he is in favor of adopting the world demands from Israel to "end the occupation." He called to "end the Muslim occupation of the land of Israel, and let's start with the Temple Mount," by exerting pressure on the government through parliamentary methods.
Also addressing the conference was Pastor Keith Johnson from the US.
The Christian minister was forced off of the Temple Mount recently after bumping into Glick. His warm greeting for one of the leaders of the struggle for Jewish prayer rights on the Mount attracted the attention of the Waqf - the Islamic trust which administers the site and has been behind the pressure to continue a ban on Jewish worship there.
Johnson expressed strong support for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount in the video message, urging Jews and "the children of Abraham" throughout the world to stand together to end Islamist harassment and discriminatory measures on Judaism's holiest site.