(JNS) — Israeli activists were arrested on Monday for planning to perform a ritual sacrifice atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The “Return to the Mount” activists had in their possession a lamb they intended to slaughter at the holy site in accordance with the biblical practice.
Police intercepted the activists outside one of the gates to the Mount and took them in for questioning.
“Bringing a sacrifice is the signal to start the struggle to renew the Temple service. The time has come after two thousand years to stop crying and start changing the situation,” Return to the Mount said in a statement Monday.
“The sad thing is the easiest thing that can be done right now is to start building an altar in its place and offering a sacrifice on it. This is something that is allowed according to Jewish law, even though we are considered ritually impure [because of the lack of the ashes of a red heifer needed to remove that impurity]. With God’s help, starting this month throughout the year more and more Jews will come to bring their sacrifices to God,” added the statement.
Earlier this month, Likud lawmaker Amit Halevi proposed to divide the Temple Mount between Muslims and Jews and to remove Jordan’s custodial status over the holy site.
Halevi outlined a plan whereby Muslims would control the southern end of the 37-acre complex that contains the al-Aqsa mosque, while Jews would receive the central and northern area, where the Dome of the Rock sits.
According to Halevi, the reorganization makes sense from a religious point of view because that part of the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, where the First and Second Temples stood. The Foundation Stone at the center of the Dome of the Rock is where Jewish sources place the Holy of Holies.
In 2022, 51,483 Jews visited the Temple Mount, up from 34,651 in 2021 and 20,684 in 2020, according to statistics compiled by Beyadenu, an NGO dedicated to strengthening the Jewish connection to the site.