New Article: Chen, Visiting the Temple Mount—Taboo or Mitzvah

Chen, Sarina. “Visiting the Temple Mount—Taboo or Mitzvah.” Modern Judaism 34.1 (2014): 27-41.



On June 2, 2008, the twenty-eighth of the Hebrew month of Iyar, 5768—Jerusalem Day—the fortieth anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, forty nationalist Orthodox rabbis, some of them from the settlements of Judea and Samaria, visited the Temple Mount. This declarative act was preceded by a number of calls opposing the ban on visiting the mount that had been issued after the Six-Day War by the Chief Rabbinate. Such calls have been issued in clearly political contexts: in 1996 at the height of the struggle against the Oslo Accords; in 2001 in protest against the Waqf’s exclusion from the mount of non-Muslims at the beginning of the second intifada; and in 2004 after the Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims.

The rabbis’ visit to the Temple Mount was a high point in the debate within nationalist ultra-Orthodox society between opponents and supporters of such a visit. The visit to the Temple Mount also revealed a nascent change toward the authority of the Chief Rabbinate and its rulings.