During a 1995 Root and Branch lecture in Jerusalem, Professor Nahum Rakover, author and then Deputy Attorney General of Israel, publicly agreed with me that it isn't illegal for Christians or Jews to pray upon the Temple Mount, even though it is forcibly prevented by the police.
I had expressed the frustration we (the Temple Mount Faithful and thankfully, now, many others) feel when we follow the law, receive the necessary police permits for our legal demonstrations, and even obtain written Supreme Court approval of our actions, only to be denied "freedom of access" to our most holy site, the Temple Mount, and to be harshly treated with contempt for even trying to exercise our democratic rights!
I asked Deputy Attorney General Rakover why the Israeli government was, in effect, encouraging folks to act outside of the law (which they know we've never done, unlike other groups who feel why bother wasting your time trying to reason with corrupt officials), as well as rewarding militant Muslims for their terrorist threats of riots and violence (if Israel were to actually uphold their 1967 law that guarantees - in writing - "freedom of access" to the Temple Mount) and bizarrely punishing law-abiding people by denying them entry to the Temple Mount. Why not remove the threat? Isn't that logical? Isn't that legal?
Professor Nahum Rakover basically said that we're in this situation today because NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE WANT TO EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT to that religious site - the Temple Mount!
Why should Israel change the status quo when they're not under any pressure to do so? It's been said politicians don't see the light until they feel the heat. Shame on us! As I've written in a letter published in the Jerusalem Post, the Temple Mount isn't in our hands, because it's not in our hearts and minds.
I was later unjustly deported for highlighting the plight of the Temple Mount under Nazi-Muslim occupation within an article published throughout Jerusalem and Israel, calling for the restoration of the Temple Mount as the Temple Mount - a House of Prayer for All Peoples - which the High Court of Israel dismissed as dangerous ideas.
Why should Jews continue to pray at the Western Wall, a site designated by the Turks for Jewish worship instead of the Temple Mount, and continue to submit to such a Gentile decree rather than obey the biblical command to ascend the Temple Mount?
Why obey men over God? Isn't that idolatry? Isn't that immoral? Isn't God Israel's King, Israel's only Husband? Who are the nations to dictate what God's wife should do?
Why are Jews gathering at the pitiful Western Wall to mourn the destruction of the Temple? Do something constructive and DEMAND Jewish legal and biblical rights to the Temple Mount.
Thankfully, the Third Temple is coming soon!
Protection of Holy Places Law
June 27, 1967
1. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.
2. a. Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of seven years.
b. Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.
3. This Law shall add to, and not derogate from, any other law.
4. The Minister of Religious Affairs is charged with the implementation of this Law, and he may, after consultation with, or upon the proposal of, representatives of the religions concerned and with the consent of the Minister of Justice make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation.
5. This Law shall come into force on the date of its adoption by the Knesset.
Levi EshkolPrime Minister
Zerach WarhaftigMinister of Religious Affairs
Shneur Zalman ShazarPresident of the State
David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out the Beyond Babylon blog.