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Western Wall rabbi: Bringing sacrifices to Temple Mount is barred by Chief Rabbinate

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch reiterates ban after several extremists nabbed for planning to sacrifice goat at Jerusalem holy site; also urges Muslim leaders to call for end of clashes

Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz. May 21, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz. May 21, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The chief rabbi of the Western Wall on Friday reiterated the prohibition on Jews performing sacrifices on the Temple Mount, after several extremists were arrested for planning to sacrifice a goat at the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City.

“Bringing a sacrifice to the Temple Mount is contrary to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s ruling,” Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch said in a statement.

Rabinovitch noted it was forbidden to bring animals — except for service dogs — to the Western Wall plaza. He cited the rules of the foundation that manages the Western Wall and other holy sites, which he heads.

The statement came a day after six members of the group “Returning to the Mount” were arrested for planning to perform a sacrifice at the Temple Mount ahead of Passover, which begins Friday evening.

As in past years, Israeli authorities have vowed to stop any attempts to bring sacrificial animals to the complex.

The provocative plans announced by Jewish activists were met with threats from Hamas, which said it would not allow Jews to offer sacrifices at the site “at any cost,” while Gazan terror factions convened to discuss a unified response to the alleged “aggressions.”

The Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is the third holiest site in Islam and Judaism’s holiest site.

A sheep is carried for the Passover Sacrifice ‘practice’ ceremony at Beit Orot in East Jerusalem, on April 18, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Also on Friday, Rabinovitch implored Muslim religious leaders to urge an immediate halt to violent clashes on the Temple Mount between Palestinians and police.

“This harms the essence of faith and prayer and cannot be allowed,” he said.

The clashes came amid escalating tensions surrounding the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and amid increasing violence in the West Bank as Israeli forces carry out raids following a series of deadly terror attacks.

This year, Ramadan — which is usually seen as a period of heightened tensions — also coincides with Passover and the Christian Easter holiday, further fueling concerns as members of the three monotheistic faiths descend on Jerusalem’s Old City for their respective religious festivals.

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