By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News—
On Thursday morning, for the first time since the Temple stood in Jerusalem, a minyan (quorum) of ten Jews stood and prayed on the Temple Mount.
Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount was legally mandated in a 2015 Jerusalem magistrate court decision but a clause in the ruling permitted the police to enforce the law based on security considerations. For the last four years, the Israeli police have cited Palestinian Islamic violence as a reason to prevent Jews from praying at the site.
A hint that this might change was given by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last August in an interview with Israel’s Radio 90.
“I think there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ’67,” he told Israel’s Radio 90. “We need to work to change it so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount.”
Rabbi Yehudah Glick a former Likud Member of Knesset who has been advocating for universal prayer on the Temple Mount for many years was the complainant in that lawsuit. But his devotion to the cause was not limited to the courtroom. Six years ago Rabbi Glick was arrested and issued a court order distancing him from the Temple Mount after he recited the prayer עלינו לשבח (Aleinu l’shabeach; it is our duty to praise God). He carried out a hunger strike and was involved in a drawn-out legal process which finally resulted in him being allowed to return to the holy site he loves so much.
Rabbi Glick was motivated by a vision of the Temple Mount as a House of Prayer for All Nations. He did not object to Muslims praying on the site and was even filmed praying alongside Muslims at the site. His vision necessarily requires all nations.
Rabbi Glick was optimistic about the recent phenomenon of Jewish prayer.
“We’ve been working to have Jewish prayer n the Temple Mount for the last few months but we prefer to have it done quietly,” Rabbi Glick told Breaking Israel News. “But now it is time to come out with it. This is a major change.”
“I believe in evolution, not revolution. Healthy change happens slowly, organically. We need to get more people to come, Jews and non-Jews. It will be, God willing, a true House of Prayer for all nations. The change is happening in front of our eyes. It will happen when people come, when they show they want it. But we want to make a House of prayer and not a place of conflict. The change has to be slow and gradual for it to be permanent.”