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Ultra-Orthodox war against Jews ascending Temple Mount

Ultra-Orthodox leaders generally agree that Jews should not ascend the Temple Mount, but a growing number of Orthodox-Zionist rabbis support Temple Mount activists in their campaign to ascend, for nationalist reasons.
Israeli policemen stand guard as a group of Jewish youths leave after visiting the compound which houses al-Aqsa mosque, known by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City September 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Ammar Awad   - RTX1RV04
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The recent violent incidents on the Temple Mount and its surrounding areas, which occurred in part because of the decision by some Jews to go up to the holy site, have sharply divided the national religious Jews and the ultra-Orthodox community. While ultra-Orthodox Jews cite halacha (Jewish law) to explain their resolute opposition to visiting the site, parts of the religious Zionist community support going up to the Temple Mount for nationalist reasons. From the ultra-Orthodox perspective, some religious nationalist rabbis have produced questionable halachic rulings to serve their desire to go to the Temple Mount, when Jewish law actually forbids it.

According to a Mishnah (section) in Masechet Kelim (Tractate of Vessels), ascension to the Temple Mount is permitted only after immersing in a mikvah (ritual bath). But within certain sections of the Temple Mount compound, additional levels of holiness are needed in order for one to enter them, for which ritual immersion is not sufficient. For instance, these include the Hacheil area (part of the temple surrounding some of its courts) and the Holy of Holies. Access to the latter was restricted to the high priest on Yom Kippur. Although the Temple no longer stands, most of the Jewish law adjudicators from the 12th to 14th centuries — mainly the Tosafists and Maimonides (Rambam) — ruled that the sanctity of the site still prevails and the prohibitions apply to this day. After the 1967 Six-Day War, when the Temple Mount question became relevant, most of Israel’s rabbis ruled that Jews should not ascend to the Temple Mount even after ritual immersion. This was because they felt that the locations of the Holy of Holies and Hacheil sections were not definitive enough. Thus, there was real concern over committing a severe religious transgression by stepping anywhere on the Temple Mount.

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