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Dec 23, 2015

Proposed Law: Jewish prayer on Har Habayit

MK Betzalel Smotritch (Habayit Hayehudi) has proposed a law that will surely not pass, and will likely upset some people in the Knesset and make for an entertaining Knesset debate.

Smotritch has proposed a law that will allow Jews to pray on Har Habayit.

Smotritch has added signatures to his proposal from other Habayit Hayehudi MKs along with some Likud MKs.

The law would actually allow any member of any religion to pray wherever he wants. He says this improves on the current law which only explicitly allows free access but doesn't explicitly say freedom of worship. Smotritch says this is a basic human right  and the courts have supported that many times in the past.

Smotritch says he thinks the law will pass, as he doesn't see how those on the right can not vote for it and how those on the left wouldn't vote for it for human rights reasons
source: Walla News

I can't see the Haredi MKs voting for it. That's a nice chunk of the coalition. The Arab MKs obviously won't vote for it. The Machane Hatzioni and Meretz MKs probably won't so as not to upset the Arabs or harm the peace process or some other excuse like that. Much of the Likud won't so as not to damage the coalition, and under the normal threat of not upsetting the Arabs and damaging the peace process and now is not the time, etc.

Another thing - this law sounds like if it would pass we'd see Arabs showing up in shuls around the country and wanting to pray there. Jews looking to make trouble would show up in mosques around the country to daven mincha. Anybody can pray wherever he wants in his religion. It would start religious chaos.

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  1. Hasn't the Supreme Court already ruled that Jews are allowed to pray on the Har HaBayit? Nevertheless, the police refuse to permit it because of public security. So what in the world would this law accomplish??

  2. He says the police and prime minister and others preventing prayer would need firmer reasons that just saying no Jewish prayer as they do now

  3. The impression I get is that since the police have enforcement power and the court doesn't, it's the police that decide the final application of law.
    If this guy was smart, he'd look up all the references in Muslim "seforim" to Jews praying on the Mount being permissible and include them in the bill.

  4. There's actually a significant Halachic to issue with this proposal. If it passes, Christians will be allowed to pray wherever they want, including Shuls and the Cenotaph - the room above Kever David. As Christianity is considered Avoda Zara, this can make such places Halachic Batei Avoda Zara - where Tefila is Assur.

    It would be good if people thought things through...

    1. private property (like the various churches) would probably be exempt, for property rights reasons. the question is, who owns these various locations?

    2. Kever David and the Cenotaph are both government owned - and in fact, the Catholic Church has been trying to get permanent prayer access to the Cenotaph for years. One of the reasons for denying them this is that it would give parts of the building - which is in the same physical structure as Kever David - the Halachic status of a Beis Avoda Zara, which would make it Assur to Daven there.

    3. Halachically, it is already assur to daven in any kever - see the Rambam in Hilchot Tefila.

      Just saying.

      And I don't believe that a goy doing Avoda Zara anywhere automatically makes that place a Beit Avoda Zara, but check that in the Rambam, too.


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