(January 8, 2023 / JNS) On Sept. 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. In February 2001, he was elected prime minister. Many attribute his defeat of Ehud Barak to Sharon’s fight for the Mount. I had the privilege of telling him that his name “Ariel” was used by both Isaiah and Ezekiel in relation to the altar of the Temple. Sharon lived up to his name by walking on the Mount.
On Jan. 2, Israel’s new Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount. The United Arab Emirates and China asked the United Nations Security Council to hold a special session on the issue. Just as Ariel Sharon was rewarded and congratulated for visiting the Temple Mount, Ben-Gvir should be as well. Jews should not only be allowed to visit the Mount but to pray there as well. It is Israel and the Jewish people’s holiest site.
Maimonides visited the Temple Mount on Oct. 21, 1166. In his own words, “On Tuesday, the fourth day of the month of Marcheshvan, in the year 4926 from the time of creation, I left Akko and set out for Jerusalem, encountering many dangers along the way. I entered the ‘Great and Holy House’ and prayed there on Thursday the sixth of Marcheshvan.”
In the modern era, Rabbi Shlomo Goren—the former chief rabbi of the IDF, chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and chief rabbi of Israel—described his jubilation upon the recapture of the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War of 1967: “The moment we drew close to the gate, I began blowing the shofar, sounding it loudly in this battle for the liberation of Jerusalem. I continued to blow the shofar until we reached the tank that was stuck at the gate, blocking the entry to the Temple Mount. I quickly climbed up onto the tank and slid down the other side, finding myself at the entrance to the Temple Mount. As I made my way forward, I began to utter a prayer in between shofar blasts and shouted to the soldiers, ‘In the name of God, take action and succeed. In the name of God, liberate Jerusalem, go up and be successful.’ I kept shouting until we were right on top of the Temple Mount.”
This was the highlight of the Six-Day War. It was one of the greatest moments in Jewish history. Fighting for the Temple Mount has continued ever since Rabbi Goren marked this miraculous moment. Ben-Gvir has continued this exemplary tradition.
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.
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