Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: There is dissent among the Ultra-Orthodox on whether it is permissible to visit the Temple Mount.
Reclaiming Judaism's holiest place
By Nadav Shragai (Haaretz)
Tags: Israel

The police at the Mugrabi Gate, at the entrance to the Temple Mount, are used to the sight. Every few days a group of ultra-Orthodox Temple Mount Faithful congregates in front of the gate. A few of them wear the black kneesocks and tasseled tie belt of the Belzer Hassidic sect, while others are American youths, students from the Mir Yeshiva. Occasionally they are joined by Gerer Hassidim, and of course national-religious Jews, with their crocheted skullcaps. Only after a thorough check of the worshipers' bags, to make sure they contain no prayer books, prayer shawls or phylacteries, do the police allow them to enter the Temple Mount compound.

This unusual "coalition," which has been visiting the mount at least once a week for years, is defined in the ultra-Orthodox world as somewhere between eccentric and untouchable, but primarily as rebelling against a halakhic prohibition stating that today there is theoretically no greater sin than entering the Temple Mount; that anyone who violates this ruling is doomed to an untimely death.