Drawing of the First Temple

(Dec 30, ’11)  Hadassah Kolish with her husband and five children, ages one to seven years, ascended the Temple Mount (Har Habayit) on the 6th day of Hanukkah. She said that she brought her family to this holy place to give thanks to G-d for the miracle performed for her ancestors over 2,000 years ago. She wanted her family to view the place where the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple.

When she arrived to the Temple Mount, the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people, she was told she was not able to bring up any Judaica items such as prayer books, talitot etc. On her family tour of the Mount, she was accompanied by two officers, one Jewish police officer and one Arab officer of the Wakf (the Muslim religious body given authority over the Temple Mount by the Israeli government).

View of the present day Temple Mount.

Hadassah said she follows the halachic (Jewish legal) ruling of many Rabbis that allow Jewish visitors to walk on the present day Temple Mount as long as they stay away from the area where the Temple stood. She has a map to guide her.

Hadassah began to recite the Hallel prayer, a prayer of praise recited during the 8 days of Hanukkah, with her children. “The Jewish policeman did not care,” she said, “he was busy on his cellphone”. The Arab officer started screaming, “She is praying, she is praying!” She was warned to desist. She was told that she was not allowed even to move her lips. When she continued, she was arrested by the Jewish officer, Azulay, told she was a criminal and brought to the Old City police station. She refused to be questioned by an Arab interrogator and contacted Honenu who provided her with a lawyer. After being counseled by Honenu lawyer, Adi Kedar, she was released with no criminal charge.

Hadassah says that the 3 hour ordeal did not discourage her, and encourages others to stand up for their religious rights.

Even after 10,000 Jews rallied last year, calling for freedom of religion on the Temple Mount, Jewish rights there are still denied.

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