frequently asked questions
We know you have many questions about the Temple Mount so we have compiled the most frequently asked ones and answered them in detail.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism; The place where the first and second Temples stood, and the place where the third will be built. According to our tradition, this is the mountain on which Abraham bound Isaac; the stone in the center of the mountain is considered the foundation of the world (the drinking stone), and the mountain on which Isaiah prophesied the universal prophecy: And all the nations shall flow unto it … For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Over the years, Jews have longed to return to Jerusalem and pray there, and when they have succeeded, they have prayed on the Temple Mount, or as close to it as possible. For centuries, when Jews were not allowed to enter the Mount, they used to pray near one of its walls. For centuries it was the Eastern Wall, and in recent centuries – the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. In fact, the Western Wall is sacred only because it is part of the real thing – the Temple Mount, the place that God has chosen.
According to many arbitrators, ultra-Orthodox and religious, Ashkenazi and Sephardic – the ascendance to the Temple Mount is permissible and desirable. Today most rabbis of the religious Zionist stream support visiting the Temple Mount, within the permitted limits, after being purified and without leather shoes. The issue is disputed by the jurists, such as many halakhic issues related to Zionism: immigration, military, state and the like. For those who want to delve deeper, we recommend the book ‘The Temple Mount Properly’, by Rabbi Elisha Wolfson. It is always worthwhile to consult and understand that ascendance is a great mitzvah.
No worries. Anyone who ascends with a Jewish group, or in the Jewish route, is restricted by the police, willingly and unwillingly, to the accepted halakhic route, which is permissible and desirable according to many rabbis
If this is important to you – Jewish law requires entry to the Mount after immersion in the mikveh, for men and women, as well as with shoes whose sole is not made of leather (as on Yom Kippur). The immersion should be done without clothing or jewelry, in natural water that were not pumped – that is, a spring, a pit, a sea – or a regular mikveh. Immersion is a form of purification before entering the place of the Divine. You can read about the laws here on the site and consult professionals.
It is true that even among the rabbis who permit ascendance, there are those who forbid the immersion of bachelors in the mikveh (and therefore also their entry into the mountain). However, some important rabbis believe that in order to enter the Temple Mount, single women can certainly immerse as well. You can read about the laws here on the site and consult professionals.
The Temple Mount is the holiest place for all Jews, and Jews from all walks of life can feel at home it here because it is their home, no less than that of any other Jew. On the contrary: Jerusalem and the Temple have always been the meeting and gathering place of the whole nation, and even today, there is often a feeling that it is precisely on the Temple Mount that the cleavages disappear, and there is a sense of unity and togetherness.
Unfortunately the Temple Mount is open to Jews only a few hours a day and not on all days. If it is not a Muslim holiday (and you should verify it), the gate is open on Sundays-Thursdays. In winter 7: 00-10: 00, 12: 30-13: 30. In summer 7: 30-11: 00, 13: 30-14: 30. The police at the entrance sometimes requests to see an ID card, and does not allow entry with religious and national symbols (for example: prayer book, Israeli flag), nor with weapons. No need to schedule a visit! Just know: there is no parking spaces close to the Temple Mount, nor is there a toilet. The only Jewish entrance to the Mountain is in the Western Wall plaza – next to the security checkpoints in front of the Dung Gate.
It is not dangerous. In fact, it is one of the most heavily guarded places in Israel. Throughout the visit , Jews are accompanied, whether they like it or not, by Israeli policemen, and the hours of entry to the mountain are usually when the mountain is relatively empty. Children are welcomed on the mountain, and many times they experience it in a calmer and more meaningful way than many adults.
The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation provides guided tours, free of charge and for the benefit of the general public. If interested, you can also coordinate with us in advance and a guide would meet and accompany you or your group.
During the Six Day War, Israel liberated, almost unintentionally, the Temple Mount, but Moshe Dayan immediately handed over control of it to the Jordanian Waqf (= Mishmar HaKedesh) without a government decision. Today, the Jordanian Waqf sets the rules of visitation, and the State of Israel, although sovereign in the area, treats it and the Jordanian government as the those setting the rules. According to the State of Israel, the Temple Mount is not considered a holy place for Jews, only for Muslims, and it cooperates with the ban on Jewish prayer there. In addition, the Waqf (and the Israeli Police) prohibits all Jewish worship (prostration, raising dirt), as well as national symbols (Israeli flag, singing the anthem). In the heart of the State of Israel, control was granted to those who were unwilling to recognize the existence of the Jewish state.
To our great sorrow and disgrace, the official policy of the State of Israel at present is to officially ban Jewish prayer in the site. We work to change that, and invite you to work with us. In any case, policemen often turn a blind eye to silent prayers, but not always. If you are a law-abiding citizen who has simply prayed quietly on the mountain – it will end, at most, with a police reprimand. Is is unfortunate, but the more Jews there – the faster it will change
Every person visiting changes the situation. It is already changing: in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Jews ascending the Mountain, and this has directly led to pleasing of discriminatory policies. As more Jews ascend and seek to pray there, policy will change. Come. The people of Israel need you. join us!
We are always available to help you