Why a chief rabbi forbade Jews from entering al-Aqsa Mosque


In his sermon last Saturday, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef criticized the far-right MP Itamar Ben Gvir for visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque with settlers.

Yitzhak Yusef had the following to say about the visit: “Keep away from this man and his actions (referring to Ben Gvir), then directed his words at the far-right official: “Entering the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque) is a major sin. Think about it, you fool.”

Yosef confirmed that he had published a statement when he served as chief rabbi, which was signed by more than 100 Jewish clergies, who also included Ashkenazi Jews, which Yosef said read as follows: “It is never right for any Jew to go on his own to the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque), in order to worship there, because these actions are considered a desecration of the name of the Lord and the holy place, adding that “Certain people may give permission to go, or some see it as permitted, but our path is clear because all our real and great men we follow are not allowed to enter the Temple Mount.”

Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef also pointed out that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jewish law (referred to as “Solomon’s Temple” in their doctrine and historical narrative) is not a place that anyone can easily enter on their own.

A Jew who wants to enter that area is required to become a rabbi and receive religious education, especially since that area covers an area of 144,000 square meters from Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is called “Bayt Al-Maqdis” in Islamic literature.

It is also required for the Jew, before entering, to perform religious cleaning (ablution) in a special basin called a “mikvah” (a basin filled with water for purification) and they must not wear leather shoes on their feet. Despite the application of all these conditions, they are not allowed to go anywhere inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Entry to the Dome of the Rock is a privilege granted only to the highest rabbis, called “Cohanim”, because of the value of the rock covered by the dome in Jewish faith. Jewish sects were fighting among themselves and the conditions regarding who could visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque were not clarified in Jewish law, so they declared the entire area forbidden to ordinary Jews.

After this declaration, the great majority of religious Jews consider themselves to be forbidden by their law to set foot in Al-Aqsa.

In contrast, secular Jews do not care about the holy places, and the provocative actions of some idiots such as Itamar ben Gvir are seen as religiously forbidden.

Who is Itamar Ben Gvir?

Born in Jerusalem in 1976 to an Iraqi Jewish mother and father, Itamar Ben Gvir is known for his extremist anti-Arab stances since the first Palestinian uprising that erupted in 1987.

Ben Gvir joined the far-right Kach party, which is classified as a terrorist group by Israeli law. He was also discharged from the military service as a result of his provocative and uncontrollable nature.

Of course, Ben Gvir, who storms Al-Aqsa Mosque almost every day with Jewish settlers in tow and under the protection of the Israeli police, does not take the words of Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef seriously.

He used to say, “We will not give in to the threats of terrorists, we are the owners of the place here in Jerusalem.” His words are addressed to both Palestinians and Jews who follow Yitzhak Joseph.

There are also a number of rabbis whose edicts inspired Itamar Ben Gvir to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque. The most famous of them is Shlomo Goren (1917-1994), who was the rabbi of the Israeli army during the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967.

Goren was calling for the bombing of the Dome of the Rock, but his calls were not heeded, and immediately after the 1967 occupation, he was described as an extremist even by Israeli leaders. Until his death, Goren was ruling out the possibility for Jews to visit and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Goren did not take into account religious taboos did not refrain from clashing with the rabbis of his time and rejected their sayings.

The storming of Al-Aqsa, carried out by Itamar Ben Gvir and his associates, not only provoked Palestinians but also shook the foundations of the 8-party government coalition. Because the biggest winner in these incursions and the provocations they incited was the Jewish far-right.

In the end, what was expected happened and the Israeli government decided to hold elections. Thus, five general elections will be held in less than 4 years.

A fact that is clear to any sane person who is aware of the history is that Israel cannot last very long with this social fabric divided into such hostile camps.

Despite constantly attacking the Palestinians and trying under different pretexts to hide its weakness, Israel cannot last very long.

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