Activists hope to bring 100,000 Jews to the Jerusalem holy site in the coming year.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Jewish worshippers visiting the Temple Mount set a new record this week when the number of Jewish visits to the holy site since the beginning of the Jewish year crossed the 50,000 marker, for the first time in modern history.
This precedent number surpassed by a large margin all previous years, which stood at less than 30,000.
According to the count of the “Beyadenu – for the Temple Mount” organization, this number is a 95% increase from last year, when only 25,582 Jews visit the Temple Mount, and a 69% increase from the previous record of 29,420.
Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu, said Thursday that “despite the restrictions, harassment, the limited five hours a day and only on weekdays limitation, despite it all – a record was broken this year in Jewish visit. The Jewish People are returning to the Temple Mount. The next goal is 100,000 visitors a year.”
Assaf Fried, of the Temple Mount Administration, said that “the dramatic record on the Temple Mount is a result of the great transformation that has taken place on the Temple Mount in the last seven years. The Temple Mount has transformed from a scene of struggles that remained in the margins, to a place of Torah and prayer.”
Jewish’ visits to the Temple Mount are limited in time and space, as well as the number of visitors allowed access at any given time.
The Temple Mount, where the First and Second Temples were built, is the holiest site in Judaism. The delicate status quo governing the Temple Mount goes back to 1967, when Israel liberated the the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan during the Six Day War.
Many rabbinical authorities forbid Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount for reasons of ritual impurity that still apply to the holy site. In recent years, some rabbinic opinions have argued that Jews may visit certain areas of the esplanade.
United with Israel staff contributed to this report.
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