The prophesied ‘House of Prayer for All Nations’ began to appear during the Jerusalem Day celebrations as Jews and Christians joined together on its future site: the Temple Mount.
Beyadenu (in our hands), an organization dedicated to bringing Jews to ascend the Temple Mount, reported that a total of 1,286 Jews ascended to the Temple Mount on the day commemorating the unification of Israel’s eternal capital in the 1967 Six-Day War. This is fewer than last year 2,626 ascended.
Beyadenu attributed this drop in numbers to the timing of the holiday. This year, Jerusalem Day was pushed back one day due as it is never celebrated on Friday lest the celebrations inadvertently lead to the desecration of Shabbat. As a result, groups did not have the chance to ascend during the actual Jerusalem Day on Friday when the Temple Mount is always closed to Jews.
“We witnessed a mixture of deterrence and dedication throughout the day,” Beyadenu spokesman Abe Truitt told Israel365 News. Beyadenu organized groups and five members of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), who ascended to the Temple Mount. Among them were Ariel Kallner, Amit Halevi, Dan Iluz (Likud), MK Yitzhak Wasserlauf, and Yitzchak Kroizer. During their visit, they sang “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem.
Illouz posted to Twitter, quoting Isaiah 27:13: “And they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
“The Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish people and it is a great privilege to come here again for the first time as a member of the Knesset. I asked God to work for the unity of the people of Israel and for the prosperity of the State of Israel,” Illouz added.
Kallner told the media that Jerusalem Day was also “a day celebrating Zion and the basis of Zionism is Zion, and Zion is here, this Mount, this place. The Jewish people has yearned for it for thousands of years. … It was important to me to express that connection.”
Arnon Segal, a guide for the NGO Beyadenu, which encourages Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, escorted the MKs on their tour.
Visiting the Temple Mount earlier in the day were National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Otzma Yehudit Party, who went up to the site with his wife, Ayala, and Minister for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee Yitzhak Wasserlauf, also from Otzma Yehudit.
“Groups of ascenders (MKs and Jews alike) were hounded by the police constantly to ‘hurry up, don’t pray, don’t sing, and don’t bring that Israeli flag here’,” Truitt said. “The Temple Mount is not a welcoming place for Jewish people. The Israeli police and government inhibit Jews from being at their holiest site; not for ideological reasons, but in an attempt to appease the Arabs.”
Ten Jews were detained by police, but most were quickly released for lack of cause.
“For hours groups lined up the tiny corridor of the one entrance non-Muslims are permitted to enter, squeezing together in the sun to go through the metal detectors,” Truitt said. “Jews carrying their religious items were sent back to the lockers at the entrance to the narrow corridor and were then required to go back through the line to enter. This effectively doubled the waiting time for many groups, further exacerbating the situation.”
“However, despite waiting for hours in the sun, the faithful ascended to the Temple Mount to show their dedication to the cause by voting with their feet,” Truitt said.
In addition to advocacy, Beyadenu members act as tour guides on the Temple Mount. Normally, the Israeli police strive to separate Jews and Christians on the site.
“Christians are allowed to roam unescorted on the Temple Mount,” Truitt explained. “Jews are required to be accompanied so it is a lot more work for the police. Also, Jews are severely limited in where they can go and how much time they can be there. Normally, Christians would not want to join a Jewish group as it limits them.”
But on Jerusalem Day, a group of Christians was set to enter the Temple Mount with Truitt as their Beyadenu guide when several Jews joined the group. In a rare event, the Jews and Christians prayed side-by-side at Judaism’s holiest site. When the Temples stood, people from all the nations would come to pray at the Temple. Though non-Jews were not permitted to enter, Jews acted as emissaries, presenting their offerings to the Kohanim (priests) who performed the actual sacrifice.
Photo courtesy Beyadenu
John Enarson, the Christian Relations Director for Cry For Zion, a Temple Mount advocacy group, joined the group with his son.
John Enarson and son (Photo courtesy Beyadenu)
John Enarson (courtesy Beyadenu)
David and Fanni, Hungarian Christians and staunch supporters of Israel were also part of the group.
Video courtesy Beyadenu
In a situation that is frequently referred to as “the status quo”, Muslims are the only religious group permitted to pray on the Temple Mount. This is in contravention of Israeli law which mandates the freedom of religion. Temple Mount advocacy groups call for the universal right to pray as is practiced in all the holy sites under Israeli supervision.