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Israel's Chief Rabbinate has appointed a special committee which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to examine for the first time proposals for building a synagogue on the Temple Mount. The committee consists of rabbis from a broad range of traditions who will deliberate between two suggested locations: Over the Eastern or Golden Gate on the perimeter of the Temple Mount compound, or just within the entrance of the Mughrabi Gate, situated at the end of the ramp above the Western Wall plaza. Also to be discussed is a possible mikveh (Jewish baptismal pool) near the synagogue.
With Israeli and Palestinian negotiators currently haggling over permanent control over the Temple Mount, the Rabbinate recently reaffirmed its halachic ruling that observant Jews are not allowed to traverse the compound out of concern they would enter holy areas without being ritually pure. Building a synagogue on the outskirts of the site might stir less opposition from rabbis opposed to such a presence, but the Palestinians and Muslim world are sure to exploit the discussions as an attempt to rebuild the Jewish Temple. Part of the evidence the rabbinic committee will hear are historical testimonies of synagogues on and around the Temple Mount since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. The Western Wall plaza currently serves as the closest place for Jewish prayers without violating the utmost sanctity of the Temple Mount in Judaism.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.