Rabbi warns against going to Temple Mount
By Nadav Shragai
Former chief rabbi Avraham Shapira, head of Mercaz Harav yeshiva, said yesterday that Jews are prohibited from going to the Temple Mount. Shapira's statement came after a pamphlet issued by religious-Zionist rabbis calling on people to go to the Temple Mount, and doing so themselves earlier this week in what has been called a historical change in their stand.
Shapira (along with Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu) is considered a leading figure in the religious-Zionist movement. He made the statements at the traditional rally in honor of Jerusalem Day at the yeshiva. Rabbi Dov Lior, the head of the West Bank rabbinic committee and the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, who was among those who visited the Temple Mount with the group this week, was seated next to him.Rabbi Zalman Melamed, the head of the Beit El Yeshiva and a leader among West Bank rabbis, said, "Next year we will all go up freely to the Temple, which will be built, with the ashes of the red heifer, without disagreement and without questions."
Until a few years ago, most rabbis prohibited Jews from going to the Temple Mount because no one knows for sure the exact location of the Holy of Holies, and the concern that today's Jews, considered "impure" by Jewish law, would enter prohibited zones.
However, as a result of the strengthening Palestinian presence on the Mount, religious-Zionist rabbis have been pressured in recent years to permit visits to some parts of it. The committee of West Bank rabbis allowed ascent to the Mount a few years ago.
--- Emphasis added