Uri Ariel, a member of the Knesset for The Jewish Home Party and the Minister of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, ascended the Temple Mount on Sunday. The day was a special occasion: Pesach Sheni, the day on which Jews who were unable to bring the Passover offering on the 14th of Nisan would bring their Passover lamb one month later.
Speak to B’nei Yisrael, saying: When any of you or of your posterity who are defiled by a corpse or are on a long journey would offer a Pesach they shall offer it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Numbers 9:10-11
Ariel is a long-time advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and a Kohen (descendant of Aaron the High Priest).During his tour of the Temple Mount Compound, Ariel stopped on the steps leading up to the gold-domed Dome of the rock which stands on the site where the two Jewish Temples once stood. He began by specifying the prime minister, the president of Israel, the IDF, the Israeli police, and the security forces for being blessed. He then recited Birkat Hakohanim (the priestly blessing) as it appears in Numbers 6:23-27:
May the LORD bless you and guard you,
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you,
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace.
Normally, the blessing is performed by the priests holding their hands up with the fingers spread in the manner made famous by Leonard Nimoy (a kohen) when he played Spock on the television series Star Trek but Ariel did not perform this aspect of the ritual. His reticence may have been due to the agreement between Jordan and Israel which prohibits Jewish prayer at the site.
Ariel then wished the people who accompanied him with a joyous holiday. It should be noted that the Israeli police did not prevent the minister from performing the ritual.