A petition begun by four Hartman Institute scholars regarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has garnered hundreds of signatures and been the focus of media coverage since it has been posted online and promoted in Israeli newspapers beginning Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.
The petition, written by Dr. Ruth Calderon , Dov Elbaum , Rani Jaeger , and Ariel Picard , is titled, “A Temple of God cannot be built on bloodshed; nor can God’s worship be founded on violence.” It opens with a quote from Isaiah 11: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain."
Ariel Picard said that although murderous incitement by Palestinian religious and political leaders has led to brutal terrorism against Jews, “We state unequivocally that there is no Israeli government intention to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. We support the public stance of the Israeli government, stated in numerous forums, that it is committed to upholding the status quo.”
Picard also said that tragically, young Palestinians are being incited to kill and die for a lie. “We call on Palestinian leaders to stop this deadly incitement,” he said.
Here is a translation of the petition:
We the undersigned, Jewish intellectuals in Israel who have spent many years studying and teaching the Torah, seeing it as "a tree of life to them that lay hold upon it," reject anything done in the name of religion and the belief in God which might exacerbate the hostility and violence in Jerusalem and Israel. The Temple of God is a temple of life and peace; violence and corruption are the seeds of its downfall.
Jews wishing to visit the Temple Mount and pray there aspire to holiness.
But a Temple for the God of peace cannot be built when there is no peace. King David himself had to suppress his desire to construct the Temple, and was told: "Thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood." (1 Chronicles 22)
We call on our fellow religious Jews in Israel to exercise restraint regarding the Temple Mount and stop their campaign to pressure the Israeli government to change the status quo. That campaign only serves as a pretext for the terrorism on our streets.”
As Jewish leaders dedicated to studying the Torah and teaching it, we call on all who are guided by holiness and life to desist from any initiative liable to disturb the volatile state of affairs on the Temple Mount. Jewish attempts to unilaterally change the status quo at the Temple Mount will bring only destruction, never construction. Such efforts will only push us further away from God, rather than bring us closer to Him.
Therefore, we absolutely reject the call for Jews to go up and pray on the Temple Mount. Such calls and actions go against the spirit of the people of Israel and pose a threat to the well-being of the Jewish people and its Torah.