Senior ultra-Orthodox rabbi blasts Jewish visits to Temple Mount, Flag March

Gershon Edelstein brands Jerusalem Day parade ‘unnecessary and dangerous’ in meeting with Haredi lawmakers

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein at his home in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on January 4, 2022. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)
Rabbi Gershon Edelstein at his home in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on January 4, 2022. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)

One of the most senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel expressed strong opposition to the Jerusalem Day Flag March in a meeting with four Haredi lawmakers.

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein asked the MKs whether they “don’t understand that it is unnecessary and dangerous,” the Walla news site reported Sunday.

Edelstein also reportedly expressed a desire to prevent Jewish people from visiting the Temple Mount and branded such visits a provocation. Haredi leaders generally oppose such visits anyway, believing the holiness of the site precludes setting foot there nowadays.

Edelstein, a leading figure in the ultra-Orthodox community, made the comments in a meeting on the eve of Jerusalem Day with representatives of Degel HaTorah, one of the two factions that make up United Torah Judaism, representing the non-Hasidic Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community.

The representatives mainly discussed political issues during the meeting. Edelstein voiced his opposition to new elections if the current government were to fall, believing that an alternative government should be established within the current Knesset, the report said.

It was the first such faction meeting since the death of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky — another top Haredi rabbinical authority — in March.

Israelis wave their national flag gather at the Damascus Gate to the Old City in Jerusalem as they mark Jerusalem Day, on May 29, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel’s conquest of the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, is celebrated nowadays mainly by national-religious Jews. Most prominently, youths parade through the Old City for the contentious Flag March.

The Gaza-based Hamas terror group fired a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem during last year’s march, touching off what became an 11-day Gaza-Israel war.

Israeli officials have remained determined to allow the march to follow the same route it has taken over decades of previous celebration, even at the risk of a Hamas response. Security assessments have reportedly concluded Hamas, which is said to have put its rocket units on high alert, will not fire unless there are violent clashes on the Temple Mount.

Police have deployed some 3,000 officers to secure this year’s rally.

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