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Thursday, December 05, 2019 

Judaist prayer returns to Temple Mount?

It looks like Judaism is finally allowed upon the Temple Mount, after nearly 2 decades when the 2nd intifada led to a ban on it:
Jewish prayers are being held daily on the Temple Mount with a quorum and with prayers said out loud, a revolution in the situation at the holy site that has developed quietly over recent months in a sea-change from the prior blanket ban on non-Muslim prayer.

A group of regular worshipers comprised of Temple Mount activists visits the site every day for morning and afternoon prayers, and are joined by other visitors to the site who wish to pray.

Only certain parts of the morning prayer service are said at the site, while the afternoon prayers are recited in a slightly shortened form.

The prayer services are said discreetly and at a quickened, although not rushed, pace.

The regular group of worshipers recite the majority of the morning prayer service outside of the Temple Mount since this service needs to be said while wearing a prayer shawl and tephillin, which is not currently possible at the site.

But the repetition of the central “Amidah” prayer of Jewish prayer services is said out loud, along with other parts of the morning prayer service, taking about 15 minutes in total, according to Asaf Fried, a spokesman for an association of Temple Mount activist groups.

On days when the Torah is read, the relevant portion is recited by an individual from memory.

Prayer books may not be brought up to the site, but worshipers use digital versions on their cellphones.

The Hallel service said on Jewish holidays and the days marking the new moon is also recited by the prayer group.

The prayer services take place with a quorum, that is with ten Jewish men, at the eastern side of the Temple Mount in front of the eastern gate of the Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine.

Until recently, the police have prevented Jews and other non-Muslims from praying conspicuously on the Temple Mount out of a concern that such activity would stoke tensions and lead to violence from Muslim worshipers.

In the past the police would routinely eject or detain any non-Muslim seen to be praying at the holy site, and this stance was mostly backed by the courts, which ruled that although in theory Jewish prayer was legal on the Temple Mount the police were entitled to prevent it due to security considerations.

But all this has changed in recent months.

According to Elishama Sandman, a spokesman for the Yeraeh Temple Mount visitation advocacy group, the prayer services have been taking place at least since Passover this year, if not earlier.

In August this year, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that in his opinion “there is in an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ’67,” in reference to the general police prohibition on prayer at the Temple Mount.

“We need to work to change it so in the future, Jews with the help of God can pray at the Temple Mount,” he continued, adding however that this should be brought about via “political agreements, and not by force.”

Sandman said that the new situation was very welcome in light of the many years in which Jewish prayer has been completely banned and during which the police would remove a person from the Temple Mount for even the slightest sign that they were praying.
This is a very fine development, after all these years. An important step in restoring freedom of religious practice.

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