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Israeli man seeking to sacrifice goat on Temple Mount arrested

Tel Aviv: Israeli Police arrested a Jewish man in Tel Aviv on his way to sacrifice a lamb on the Temple Mount on Sunday morning.
The man, Yair Hanoch, an activist from the Return to the Mount organization was detained at a light rail station near Jerusalem’s Old City.

Return to the Mount is a fringe group seeking to renew animal sacrifices on the Temple Mount, where the First and Second Temples stood.
“There is no more room for Muslim rule on the Temple Mount – the time has come to build a Jewish temple and renew the sacrificial works,” the organization said after Hanoch’s arrest.

The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz banned the bringing of animals to the Temple Mount in April to prevent Jews from trying to bring Passover sacrifices on the holy site. At the time, Returning to the Mount leader Rafael Morris was arrested trying to bring an animal to the holy site as a Paschal offering.

During the times of the First and Second Temple, the week-long festival of Sukkot was marked by sacrifices, water libations, and the custom of circling the altar while holding palm fronds.

The Temple Mount is the overall holiest site in Judaism.
For centuries, Jews did not visit the hilltop esplanade because of a rabbinic consensus that the laws of ritual purity still apply to the Temple Mount. But in recent years, a growing number of rabbis have argued that ritual purity laws do not apply to all sections of the Temple Mount and encourage visits to permitted areas to maintain Jewish connections to the Mount.

The delicate status quo governing the Temple Mount goes back to 1967 when Israel liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan during the Six-Day War. Fearing a religious war, then-defence minister Moshe Dayan agreed to let the Islamic Waqf, a Muslim trusteeship, continue managing the holy site’s day-to-day affairs, while Israel would maintain overall sovereignty and be responsible for security.
According to the status quo, Jews and non-Muslims are allowed to visit the Temple Mount, but not pray there.

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