17 October 2018

Some 28 800 Jewish settlers made provocative visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque during the last Jewish year which ended over the weekend, according to data released by the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement.

The Jewish society also revealed that this number was the highest since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and is a 27 per cent increase on the previous Jewish year.

Yer’aeh, an organization that tracks Jews visiting al-Aqsa, announced that the 28 800 Jews who visited in the Hebrew calendar year, 5778 compared to 22 552 the previous year. This year’s record more than doubles the 14 094 Jews who came two years ago. In 2014, fewer than 10 000 Jews make provocative visits to al-Aqsa throughout the entire year.

Yer’aeh is also impressed by the growing number of influential rabbis who trespassed al-Aqsa, thereby setting an example for their disciples. More than 100 rabbinic leaders came for the first time this year, signifying a change in their policy concerning the holy site. Rabbinical authorities have previously ruled that it is forbidden to visit al-Aqsa due to concerns that visitors may enter areas that are forbidden by Jewish law.

Yaakov Hayman, the head of Yishai, an NGO dedicated to instating Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa told Breaking Israel News he believes that the emerging rabbinic interest is a step toward resolving the halachic (Torah law) issue.

“It is a new phenomenon to have rabbinic authoritative rabbis ruling that not only is it permitted to go up to the Temple Mount, but that we are required to go up,” Hayman said. “The real shame is that since 1967 when the Temple Mount was returned to the Jews, this important issue has never been fully discussed by the Chief Rabbinate or by rabbinic authorities in any organized fashion.”

“The facts are that by not approaching this in a true halachic manner, the rabbis who object to going up to the Temple Mount have removed themselves from the decision making process. The Jewish people are voting with their feet.”

“As the number of Jews going to the Temple Mount grows, the police claim that violating their rights is justified becomes less tenable,” Hayman added. “There is no way the police can prevent thousands, or even hundreds of Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. We haven’t yet achieved that critical mass but it is clear to everyone that we are well on our way to get there. When the Nation of Israel decides they want to pray to God on the Temple Mount, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will be able to stop us.”

In his professional life, Hayman manages building projects and his approach to establishing the Temple is apparently similar.

“The Temple Mount is not a historical site. It is a future construction site,” he said. “We are pouring the foundations by bringing the hearts of Israel there.”

At least 1000 settlers stormed the mosque each month, the group said, adding that the highest number was during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot which falls in September. Some 2 265 settlers entered the holy site during that period.

The Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movementis a right-wing group which was established after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Its goal is to build a Jewish temple on the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Jewish year begins in September.

SOURCE: Middle East Monitor, Breaking Israel News