The Chief Rabbinate has nixed proposed changes to the sign at the entrance to Jerusalem's Temple Mount claiming that Jews ascending the Mount is against Jewish Law on Monday, despite the direct request for it from renowned leader Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.
Chief Rabbi David Lau asked the members of the Chief Rabbinate Council their approval to establish a committee to discuss the possibility to change the wording of the sign, given that there are many rabbis who permit Jews to ascend the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site.
Lau made the request amidst a physical – and political – battle over the Mount's identity and future, with Muslims on the Mount attacking Jews who dare to visit and division among Jewish sects not helping the fight to keep the Mount open to people of all faiths.
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz and Rabbi Dov Lior sent a letter to the Chief Rabbis of Israel demanding to change the sign several months ago.
However, the Chief Rabbinate has categorically rejected the change on Monday; the reasons behind the decision remain unclear.
Despite the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, Jewish visits are strictly regulated and Jews are forbidden from praying there due to threats of violence by Muslim groups.
Islamist groups have been conducting a campaign of harassment against Jewish visitors to the Mount – which also houses the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, built atop the ruins of two Jewish temples – with the stated goal of putting an end to all Jewish visits.
Jews are often arrested or expelled from the Mount if suspected of praying, despite numerous court rulings supporting the right to worship for all religious groups on the Temple Mount.
Earlier Monday, six Jews and six Muslims were arrested in yet another confrontation about equal prayer rights on the Mount.