This week marked a record 11,000 Jews who ascended to the Temple in the three-month period since the beginning of the Hebrew year. This is a 50%-80% increase over previous years. This number is expected to increase dramatically should the Israeli government adopt an initiative that calls for schoolchildren to visit Judaism’s holiest site. These numbers also do not include the visits by Israeli soldiers and foreign tourists. These numbers would increase the count by another 10%.
Elishama Sandman of the Yera’eh organization noted that the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is more than twice that of 2017 when 4,426 Jews ascended to the holy site in the same period.
“Many religious Jews refrained from ascending to the Temple Mount because it was forbidden to pray,” Sandman told Israel365 News. “To be at our holiest site and to be forbidden to pray is simply too painful for many people. Add to that the racist inequality that allows Muslims to do what they want; to pray, to play soccer, to have picnics. But the conditions are much better. Jews have equal rights and are finally being treated like humans. We can pray, albeit without a tallis or tefillin or Torah scroll, and outdoors with no place to sit down. We are not permitted to use the water fountains. But we are finally praying.”
Sandman ascended this week and related the emotional experience of praying the additional sections relating to the miracles God did in the days of the Maccabees in that very place.
“I remember just a few years ago, we walked around in groups of five or ten,” Sandman said. “Today, the groups need to be 30 or 40. The Nation of Israel is waking up.”
Sandman noted that the hours in which Jews are permitted to visit the site are very limited.
“Currently, Jews can only visit the site four and a half hours a day. We would like to be able to visit the Temple Mount in the evening, to pray the evening prayers,” Sandman said. “The Muslims have exclusive rights to the site on their sabbath; Friday. It would be wonderful if we could have the same right to visit the site on our sabbath.