Aug 17, 2022
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Beyadenu, a Temple Mount advocacy group, is named for the fateful declaration made by General Mordechai Gur in 1967 when his paratroopers conquered the Temple Mount; “Har Habayit Beyadenu!” (the Tempe Mount is in our hands. Despite Gur’s declaration, Jewish sovereignty over its holiest site has been under assault since that day.

Beyadenu is on the front line of the struggle to maintain and even enhance the Jewish presence at the site. But despite the recent major advances, this Tisha B’Av, the day commemorating the destruction of the Temples, may be a pivotal day for the site’s future.

Beyadenu is perhaps most well known for guiding tours to the Temple Mount in the belief that the most powerful tool is a Jewish presence. In this respect, the battle for the Temple Mount is clearly being won. Once considered an extremist cause intended to incite Arab violence, the Temple Mount is now a mainstream issue, with the majority of Israelis believing that Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.

 Akiva Yoel Ariel, the Director of Community Relations for Beyadenu, noted that so far this year, a record 40,000 Jews have ascended.

“Keep in mind that Jews are only permitted for a few hours a day and may only enter the site through one gate after rigorous security and background checks,” Akiva told Israe365 News. “The Temple Mount is closed to Jews on Fridays and Shabbat. And, of course, Jews must bathe in a ritual bath to ascend in purity.”

explained record crowds are coming to the Temple Mount. Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem day) on May 29 set the record for the most Jews visiting the site in one day: 2,626. 

“But even in that amazing record, there is a sad note,” Akiva added. “One thousand people were left waiting outside.”

Beyadenu is already working to ensure that the same thing will not happen on Tisha B’Av. They recently sent a letter to the police with suggestions. 

One of the suggestions they made is especially urgent; fixing the Mughrabi Bridge leading up to the Temple Mount.

“On Jerusalem Day, the police made us wait on the bridge,” Akiva said. “We could feel it swaying under our feet.”

The slender wooden bridge used by non-Muslim visitors was built as a temporary measure 14 years ago. Experts have recommended replacing it with a metal structure but to no avail. A collapse would not only threaten those on the bridge but also worshippers standing under the structure. 

“It is shocking that in the wake of the disaster on Lag B’Omer at Meron in 2021 that killed 45 people that there should even be a question about this,” Akiva said.

The erection of a new bridge is legal from the perspective of both Israeli law and international law, nor would it affect any area considered significant to Islam. Objections raised by the Waqf and the Jordanian government have prevented the construction of a new bridge.

Beyadenu also requested that the compound be closed to Muslims on Jewish holy days, just as it is closed to Jews on Muslim holy days. 

“On Jerusalem Day, the Arabs were provoking the Jews, yelling and waving Hamas flags,” Akiva said. “If they cannot act lawfully, then the police should enforce the laws in a way that allows the Jews to express their religious freedom.”

Israeli law requires equal freedom of religion and, therefore, Jews have the legal right to pray on the Temple Mount. But the courts allow the police to restrict this right based on security concerns.

“As more Jews go up, we are permitted to express these rights more,” Akiva said. “That includes prayer.”

Akiva noted that the Israelis who visit the site come from all sectors of society. In June, Knesset Member Amichai Chikli (Yamina) was turned away by the Israeli police when he attempted to enter the Temple Mount compound. Chikli, who is not openly religious and does not wear a kippah, said that his interest in the Temple Mount was one of national pride.

Beyadenu also requested that rather than restrict Jews to small groups, Jews be allowed to move around the site in a continuous flow with police stationed along the route for security. They suggested extended hours, especially on special days like Tisha B’Av. These extended hours should include Shabbat.

“We’ve been kicked out many times for extended periods of time, Gidon Ariel, Akiva’s father and a Temple Mount activist added. “It would be a double tragedy if on Tish B’Av, the day when we most need to connect to the Temple Mount, the police close the gates.”

“It would be the destruction of the Temple reloaded,” Akiva added. 

Beyadenu is running a campaign to fund a number of ambitious projects, covering professional guides, education, Knesset lobbying, lectures in schools, providing shuttles to the Temple Mount from all over the country, and more. A USA tax deductible dollar donation can be given at the Givechak website.

 

 

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