On September 28, 2000, General Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. In February 2001, he was elected Prime Minister. Many attribute his defeat of Ehud Barak to his fighting for the Temple Mount. I had the privilege of mentioning to him that his name “Ariel” was used by both Isaiah and Yechezkel to relate to the “Altar” of the Temple. He lived up to his name by walking on the Temple Mount.
On January 2, Israel’s new Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited the Temple Mount. The United Arab Emirates and China asked the UN Security Council to hold a special session. Just as Ariel Sharon was rewarded and congratulated for visiting the Temple Mount, so should Minister Ben Gvir. Jews should not only be allowed to visit but to pray there as well. It is Israel’s and the Jewish People’s holiest site.
Maimonides visited the Temple Mount on October 21, 1166. In Maimonides’ own words, “On Tuesday, the fourth day of the month of Marcheshvan, in the year 4926, from the time of creation, I left Akko and set out for Jerusalem, encountering many dangers along the way. I entered the “Great and Holy House” and prayed there on Thursday the 6th of Marcheshvan (October 21, 1166).
In the modern era, Rabbi Shlomo Goren of Blessed Memory who was the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Defense Forces, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, and Chief Rabbi of Israel, was quoted in his autobiography edited by Avi Rath as he describes his jubilation upon recapturing the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War of 1967: “The moment we drew close to the gate, I began blowing the Shofar, sounding it loudly in this battle for the liberation of Jerusalem. I continued to blow the Shofar until we reached the tank that was stuck at the gate, blocking the entry to the Temple Mount. I quickly climbed up onto the tank and slid down the other side, finding myself at the entrance to the Temple Mount. As I made my way forward, I began to utter a prayer in between shofar blasts and shouted to the soldiers, ‘In the name of G-d, take action and succeed. In the name of G-d, liberate Jerusalem, go up and be successful.’ I kept shouting until we were right on top of the Temple Mount.”
This was the highlight of the Six-Day War. It was one of the greatest moments in Jewish history. Fighting for the Temple Mount has continued ever since Rabbi Goren reached this miraculous moment. Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has continued this exemplary tradition.
Dr. Joe Frager is Chairman of the Israel Advocacy Commission for the Rabbinical Alliance of America; Chairman of the Executive Committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim; Dean at Kollel Ayshel Avraham; Executive Vice President of the Israel Heritage Foundation; and a physician in practice for 41 years.