On this week’s “Wine with Adam,” host Adam Scott Bellos sits down with Rabbi Yehuda Levi. Rabbi Levi is the director of outreach for Yeshivat Har HaBayit and the mastermind behind bringing groups up to the Temple Mount.
Under Israeli control
Agreed as being the site of the First and Second Temple, Israel conquered the Temple Mount in 1967 from Jordan but returned control over the overall site to Waqf, Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Affairs. A set of complicated arrangements were agreed upon whereby Israel retained control of the overall security of the area and Jews would be allowed to visit but not pray. In practice, visitation has been highly restricted to Jews over the years. Desire by Jews to visit the Temple Mount has increased in recent years and with the demand for access.
The Western Wall as a Holy Site
Rabbi Levy and Bellos discuss the history of the Temple Mount, and how Jews always sought to visit and pray at the site over the ages. Muslim persecution and restrictions in the last 500 years have restricted Jews from visiting freely and turned the Western Wall into a main place of worship for Jews.
Rabbi Levy explains that his efforts are really to return to a situation where it is normal for Jews to go there to visit and to pray. To that end, Rabbi Levi gave Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson a tour of the Temple Mount in an effort to publicize the ability to go up there. His work has been instrumental in increasing access to the site and promoting understanding between different religious communities.
A Site for All People
Rabbi Levi also talks about his efforts to normalize the Temple Mount as a place of prayer for all people, not just Jews. He believes that the Jewish vision is for all nations to come and pray at the site, and that Jewish activism on the mount has been greatly misunderstood as efforts to restrict Muslims and others from accessing the site.
Watch Knesset member Sharren Haskel talk about the Temple Mount.