Rabbis say it is forbidden for a Jew to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Is it a religious taboo or a political taboo?
IMHO - 100% political - and a valid use of religion to enforce political pragmatism.
Haredim slam 'idolators' for taboo visit to Temple Mount[repost from 5/14/07]
By Yair Ettinger
Mutual recriminations between ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) and religious Zionist Jews are an almost daily occurrence. But the halakhic taboo against ascending the Temple Mount, which a group of leading religious Zionist rabbis demonstratively shattered on Sunday, led the Haredim to take off the gloves.
Two articles due to appear in today's Yated Ne'eman, the mouthpiece of Lithuanian (non-Hasidic) Haredim, denounce the rabbis as "idol worshipers," "Reform" Jews and "merchants trading in the Torah's commandments."
Religious Zionist rabbis, "not content with bowing to the Zionist idols," are perpetrating "open reforms of the halakha," charged the paper's editorial, adding that this disappointed hopes that religious Zionism might be moving closer to ultra-Orthodoxy.
Another article declared: "Worshipers of the Zionist calf," a reference to the biblical story of the golden calf, "are willing to subordinate everything to this calf, even if they are the last ones who still worship it ... They are seeking to desecrate and defile the Temple Mount, the site of our Temple, out of that same belief in vain worship of the Zionist redemption - as if bringing Jews to the site of the Temple would hasten the redemption."
The Haredi religious objection to ascending the mount is simple: a ritually impure person may not set foot on the site of the Temple, and since the Temple's destruction, all Jews are ritually impure. As a result, Haredi rabbis have feared Israel's control over the Temple Mount ever since it began in 1967. In a special supplement on the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War put out recently by the Haredi weekly Mishpaha, former Haredi MK Menachem Porush described the events leading up to the cabinet's decision to bar Jews from the Mount shortly after its capture. Porush described being summoned to an urgent meeting by one of the leaders of his Agudat Israel party, Rabbi Yehezkel Avramsky, and finding him in tears. "Who knows what punishment from Heaven we will receive because of Jews ascending the Temple Mount?" Avramsky demanded, and asked Porush to urge then prime minister Levi Eshkol to prevent Jews from doing so. Eshkol passed the request on to then defense minister Moshe Dayan, and Dayan supported it.
At the same time, the Chief Rabbinate issued a halakhic ruling forbidding Jews to ascend the Mount - contrary to the views of then chief military rabbi (and later chief rabbi of Israel) Shlomo Goren, who thought that parts of the mount were halakhically permissible to Jews and wanted to hold a mass prayer session there.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, told Haaretz that "Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook and his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda," each of whom was religious Zionism's unquestioned leader in his day, "opposed ascending the Temple Mount. Now, along come those who see themselves as their heirs and permit it. I doubt that they are greater" than the Kooks.
Rabinowitz added that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the unquestioned leader of Sephardi Jewry, once wrote him that rabbis who encourage Jews to ascend the mount "are sinning and causing the masses to sin."
Even more interesting than the Haredi-religious Zionist feud over this issue, however, are the cracks within the religious Zionist community itself. Rabinowitz said that the first telephone call he received after news of the rabbis' visit to the Mount broke was from Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leading religious Zionist rabbi, who urged him to do everything in his power to prevent Jews from ascending the Mount.