Arutz Sheva – Israel National News
Under the radar, a quiet revolution is taking place, as the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount surges.
Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, once a rare sight, has become commonplace, with the number of Jews visiting the holy site surging by several hundred percent in recent years.
Data on the annual number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount shows a consistent upward trend.
But what is less well known is the quiet revolution taking place on the Temple Mount, thanks to the tens of thousands of people who ascend the Mount, and thanks to the work of Matte Irguni HaMikdash, which maintains a productive dialogue with police in the field, as well as with the local commander and even with Israel’s recent Public Security ministers.
The attitude of police on the Temple Mount has become far more friendly towards Jewish visitors, making visits to the holy site far more positive.
This change culminated in a shift in the police department’s policy on the Mount, which now quietly permits, albeit unofficially, Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
Just a few years ago, any Jew who was seen quietly praying by himself – even if those around him couldn’t even hear the words – would have been detained by police and barred from the Temple Mount for an extended period.
Today, however, most of the several dozen people barred from the Temple Mount are employees of the Waqf, the Islamic trust which manages the Mount.
Now, when Muslims attempt to harass Jews on the Temple Mount, they are arrested on the spot and barred from the Mount for four to six months, something which did not use to happen. Even the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, was banned from the Temple Mount for half a year.
In addition, the police have even permitted a model of the Temple to be displayed near the entrance used by Jews ascending the Mount.
The organization largely responsible for these changes is the Matte Irguni HaMikdash, an umbrella group which unites the efforts of multiple Temple Mount activist groups.
In recent years, the Matte Irguni HaMikdash has established, in cooperation with police, a steering committee, aimed at coordinating the Matte’s activities with the authorities. The steering committee’s work includes regular meetings between police commanders and members of the Matte and maintaining an open dialogue between the two sides.
Under the auspices of the Matte, and in cooperation with various Temple Mount activist groups, extensive public relations work is carried out, including maintaining a team of Temple Mount tour guides who provide historical and halachic information about the Mount, media outreach, distributing pamphlets, practicing commandments associated with the Temple Mount, along with groups dedicated to organizing group visits by rabbis and during special occasions like Jerusalem Day and Israeli Independence Day.
Now, ahead of Tisha B’Av, the Matte has launched a fundraising campaign to enable it to continue its operations.
“Because of the public relations work and our cooperation with security forces, there are amazing changes underway on the Temple Mount,” said Matte leaders. “We’re moving forward one step at a time, and with each step there are more and more Jews who are coming to visit the Temple Mount.”
“Open your heart for the sake of the Temple Mount, so that we can continue with this holy work, with our various activities; so we can continue to grow and keep this change going; so that Jews can pray on the Temple Mount as they should be able to, wearing phylacteries and prayer shawls; so that we continue to move forward towards the Third Temple. We need your support.”