frequently asked questions
We know you have many questions about the Temple Mount so we have compiled the most frequently asked ones and answered them in detail.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism; The place where the first and second Temples once stood, and the place where the third will eventually be built. According to our tradition, this is the mountain on which Abraham bounded Isaac; the stone in the center of the mountain is considered the foundation stone, the stone from which the entire world was created, and the mountain on which Isaiah prophesied the universal prophecy: And all the nations shall flow unto it … For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem.
Over the years, Jews have longed and yearned to return to Jerusalem and pray there, and when they succeeded, they prayed on the Temple Mount, or as close to it as possible. For centuries, when Jews were not allowed to enter the Mount, they used to pray near one of its walls. For centuries it was the Eastern Wall, and in recent centuries – the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. In fact, the Western Wall is sacred only because it is part of the real thing – the Temple Mount, the place that God has chosen.
According to many arbitrators, ultra-Orthodox/Haredi and dati-leumi/national-religious – ascending the Temple Mount is permissible and desirable. Today most rabbis of mainstream religious Zionism support visiting the Temple Mount within the halachically permitted areas after immersing in a mikveh and wearing non-leather shoes. For those who want to delve deeper on the topic, we recommend the book ‘The Temple Mount according to Halacha’, by Rabbi Elisha Wolfson. It is always worthwhile and preferable to consult with a rabbinic professional and understand that ascendance is a great mitzvah.
No worries. Anyone who ascends with a Jewish group on the Halachically permissible route is restricted by default, by the police, willingly or unwillingly.
According to Jewish law one can only ascend the Mount after immersing in a mikveh, for men and women (single and married), and wearing non-leather shoes (as traditionally done on Yom Kippur and Tisha B’av). Immersing should be done without clothing or jewellery, in natural water that was not pumped – that is, a spring, a pit, a lake or sea, or a regular mikveh. Immersion is an act of halachically purifying oneself before entering the Temple Mount. You can read about the laws here on the site and consult rabbinical and halachic professionals for further details and guidance.
It is true that even among the rabbis who permit ascendance, there are those who forbid single men and women from immersing in a mikveh (and therefore aren’t allowed to ascend the Mount). However, there are rabbis who believe that single women can certainly immerse in a mikveh as well for the sole purpose of ascending the Mount. You can read more about the laws here on the site and consult rabbinical professionals for further guidance.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and Jews from all walks of life and all sects of society can feel at home regardless of political affiliation or religious background. On the contrary: Jerusalem and the Temple have always been the meeting and gathering place of the entire nation of Israel, and, even today, there is often a feeling that it is precisely on the Temple Mount that there is a sense of unity, togetherness, and camaraderie.
Unfortunately the Temple Mount is only open to Jews a few hours a day and five days a week (Sunday thru Thursday), not including Friday and Shabbat. If it is NOT a Muslim holiday (and one should confirm beforehand), the gate is open:
During the winter: 7:00AM – 10:30AM, and 12:30PM – 1:30PM
During the summer: 7:00AM – 11:30AM, and 1:30PM – 2:30PM.
The police at the entrance sometimes request to see ID, and don’t let Jews enter the Mount with religious and national symbols (for example: prayer book, tefillin, Israeli flag), or with weapons. No need to schedule a visit in advance! Just know: there are no parking spaces near the Temple Mount area, nor are there bathrooms. The only entrance for Jews and non-Muslims to the Mount is at the Hallel gate – next to the security checkpoint in front of the Dung Gate.
It is not dangerous. In fact, it is one of the most heavily guarded and secured places in Israel. Throughout the visit, Jews are escorted, whether they like it or not, by Israeli police, and the opening hours of the Temple Mount are usually when the area is relatively empty.
Children and babies are welcomed, and many times they experience it in a much calmer, pleasant, and more meaningful way than many adults.
Beyadenu provides free guided tours for everyone. If interested, you can coordinate with us in advance and a guide would meet and escort you or your group.
During the Six-Day War, Israel, almost unintentionally, liberated the Temple Mount, but Moshe Dayan, former Defense Minister, immediately handed over control of the Mount to the Jordanian Waqf without consulting with the government or involving it. Today, the Jordanian Waqf sets the rules of visitation, and the State of Israel, although sovereign in the area, treats it and the Jordanian government as the sole owners who set the rules of the site. According to the State of Israel, the Temple Mount is officially and legally not considered a holy place for Jews, only for Muslims, and it maintains the ban on Jewish prayer and worship there. In addition, the Waqf (and the Israeli Police) prohibit all forms of Jewish worship (prostration, bowing, praying, picking up dirt from the ground), as well as national symbols (Israeli flag, singing the Israeli national anthem). In the heart of the State of Israel, the biggest disgrace is that the control of the Mount was granted to those who were unwilling to even recognize the existence of the Jewish state altogether.
To our great sorrow and shame the State of Israel’s official policy, at present, is to officially ban Jewish prayer on the site. We are working daily to change that, and warmly invite you and encourage you to work with us. In any case, the police often turn a blind eye to silent prayers, but not always. If you are a law-abiding citizen who has simply prayed quietly on the Mount, it will end, at most, with a police reprimand. It is unfortunate, but the more Jews ascend and pray, the faster the reality and policy will change.
Every Jew that ascends the Mount changes reality. It is already changing NOW: in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Jews ascending the Mount, and this has led directly to changing discriminatory policies against Jews. The policy will change. It’s just a matter of time. Come and ascend with us. The nation of Israel needs you. Join us!
Have questions for us? We are here to help you!