After posting about visiting Har Habayit last week, my student Zeev Schramm has been giving me a hard time in the comments section. Yashar Koach. That is what students should do their teacher. Keeps us on our toes.
Having said that, I saw two articles today that bear quite dirsctly on this topic. See this in Jpost in which Rabbi David Golinkin, a Conservative Rabbi and leading Conservative Halakhic authority, advises people to visit Har Habayit. (Just to be clear, I am not quoting him because I am advocating Conservative psak! His sources and conclusions are shared by many leading Orthodox poskim too.) Here is a quote:
WITHOUT entering into detailed measurements, it is permissible to enter the area south of the Mughrabi Gate and near the Aksa Mosque and the area north of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock.
On the other hand, one should not enter that raised platform at all. On the west, one should stay close to the Western Wall, and on the east, one should stay close to the eastern wall.
Finally, there is an urgent practical reason for Jews to enter the Temple Mount area today. In 1967, the Israeli government gave the Muslim Wakf control of the Temple Mount. Since then the Wakf has made a concerted effort to obliterate the remnants of Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount.
... The Wakf was able to get away with this plunder because Jews do not visit the Temple Mount, and they don't visit the Temple Mount because of the strict rabbinic rulings cited above.
This last paragraph receives a strong echo from Nadav Shragai in today's Haaretz. again, I quote from the article:
For the past 40 years, right-wing and religious organizations have been mourning the absence of the Temple Mount from our national and religious life in addition to the Temple's destruction.
In what has become a ritual, they lament the destruction of the antiquities on the mount and complain about the impotence of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the humiliating entrance conditions and turning empty areas on the mount into Muslim prayer sites.
These groups say there is a vacuum as far as sovereignty, government, law and order on Temple Mount are concerned. They say they are frustrated again and again by the authorities' lies and broken promises.
They are usually right. The only problem is that the politicians, archaeologists or even the police were not the first to give up Temple Mount. The rabbis were the ones to do so, as early as 1967. Even a decade later, when Menachem Begin wanted to change the status quo on Temple Mount to enable Jews to pray there, the rabbis would not allow it. They threatened him with boycotts and coalition crises.
When Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun complained to Begin on the goings on at Temple Mount, Begin sent him away angrily, saying "go to your rabbis."
If YOU have been to Har Habayit and wish to add anything, or if you feel strongly on this one then please add your comment below!