Translated Excerpts from
Rabbi Shlomo Goren's book on Har Habayit
[also called Meishiv Milchama Volume 4]
"With the initial military organization in the Liberated and united Jerusalem, I decided that the time had arrived to set facts [on the ground] in the area where it is permitted enter[y] for those who were spiritually defiled [Tahmay] by contact with the dead...
The prayers by the Western Wall are a symbol of the destruction [of the Temple] and the exile and not of liberation and redemption. For prayers by Jews by the Western Wall began just in the sixteenth century. Before this, the Jews were praying for centuries on the Temple Mount and when they were expelled from there, they prayed on the Mount of Olives opposite the eastern gate that is called the Mercy [Rachamim] Gate".
"I therefore began to organize communal prayer in a permanent way on the Temple Mount in the Torah academy of the Temple Mount, among the officers of the Military [branch of the ] Rabbinate and its soldiers, that were present on account of their military duties in the Torah academy of the Temple Mount. Together with this I established the wording of the prayers that are special for the Temple Mount after an extensive halachic clarification and investigation that I arranged on this topic.
As long as the impressions of the war and the victories of the I.D.F. were fresh in the hearts of our Arab neighbors, the fear from the results of the war was still poured out upon the faces of the Supreme Islamic Management. For they feared that perhaps the I.D.F. which at the beginning was responsible for all the new territories that were liberated, would punish the rabble rousers and fire them from their work; they [therefore] were silent and did not react to my organization of prayers on the Temple Mount."
" I am convinced that if we would have established a place for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount at the beginning of the liberation of Jerusalem, the matter would be set as a custom for prepared and organized prayer services of Jews on the Temple Mount without anyone opening his mouth to protest...
In the framework of the task of the Highest Authority of the Military Branch of the Rabbinate, we arranged days of intense study and communal prayers on the Temple Mount - Shacharit , Mincha and Arvit [morning , afternoon, and evening prayers] together with the reciting of the Torah on Sabbaths, Mondays and Thursdays on the plaza of the Temple Mount itself, within the Mugrabim Gate close to our Torah academy.
In the year 5727 [secular year 1967] I publicized an announcement that I plan to arrange on Shabbat Nachamu in the morning, a massive festive prayer on the Temple Mount; meanwhile I instructed the public how to purify, leading up to the ascent to the Temple Mount...
In the ninth of Av 5727 I arranged a mincha prayer service for a limited amount of the public on the plaza of the Temple Mount opposite the steps that go up to the southern side of the Dome of the Rock. It was in a place that is permitted to enter there according to all the viewpoints of the Poskim. I brought there an ark for Torah scrolls with a Torah. We read in the Torah parshat "Vayachel", as usual. I myself, took the "Maftir Aliya', and read the haftorah of Yishaya (Isaiah 55:6) "seek out G-d when he is found".
"The communal mincha prayer of this ninth of Av on the Temple Mount, aroused great reverberations in much of the media in the land of Israel and outside the land. The reporters who were hostile to Judaism in the state, began an incitement against our initiative to renew the prayer of Jews on the Temple Mount...
Behold on Thursday [literally the fifth day] in the morning before the Sabbath "Nachamu", the Secretary of Defense informed me by telephone that upon me was the duty to abolish the mass prayer service on the Temple Mount. I informed him that I am not ready to do this, for this prayer has the ability to return the early Jewish sovereignty to the Temple Mount. He informed me that that he was speaking from a government meeting, and the prime minister requested as well as the entire government [cabinet] to order me to abolish my prayer initiative on the Temple Mount. I informed him that I am not prepared to do this."
"During the deliberation in the governmental and religious framework over the renewal of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and regarding the plan to build there a permanent synagogue on the vacant southern plain. The Secretary of Defense informed me to my great surprise, that he decided to transfer custody and responsibility over all affairs of the Temple Mount to the Muslim Wakf. He ordered me to remove the Torah Academy of the Highest Authority of the Military Branch of the Rabbinate for the Temple Mount and to take out from there the officers on the Temple Mount. From here onwards, according to his words, the Highest Authority of the Military Branch of the Rabbinate has no responsibility regarding the affairs there and one must stop the arrangement of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount".
The police also attempted to disturb our prayer in the "Machkema" by improper means on Yom Kippur of the year 5744 [secular year 1984]. Since the "Machkema" is continuously under the command of the I.D.F.. I was accustomed to annually request permission from the Chief of Staff to arrange a prayer service in the part of the Temple Mount in the upper floor of the Machkema on the ninth of Av and Yom Kippur. Also in advance of Yom Kippur 5744, I received permission from the Chief of Staff and the office of the Chief of Staff sent the permission by means of the General over the Central Command. And so in the afternoon of Yom Kippur I came as usual to the "Machkema" with the fixed group of participants in the prayer service for the Mussaf prayer of Yom Kippur. At the entrance to the gate of the "Machkema" an officer of the police informed me that there are orders from the office of the Chief of Staff, not to allow us to pray in the upper chambers of the Machkema that are situated on the Temple Mount"
"The Police officers had not succeeded yet to do an action, until the Chief of Staff himself arrived in the place and was shocked to see and hear about the dirty trick of the Police, that was staged as if it was in the name of the office of the Chief of Staff. He removed the Police officers from the place with shame on their faces. Then we continued to pray in the "Machkema" above the territory of the Temple Mount and from that time onward they don't dare try to prevent us from this".
"This arrangement with the directors of the Omriah School, lasted a number of years until the government of Israel changed and a Defense Secretary was appointed where the topic of the Temple Mount was closer to his heart. [than his predecessor]. Then after lengthy negotiation, I received permission to renovate and prepare the two halls as a synagogue in the eastern portion of the building.
The Machkema is situated as stated previously on southwestern side of the Shalshelet Gate. These two halls are located as stated previously in the eastern side of the Western Wall [Kotel] on the Temple Mount".
[The picture of the Machkema Building, from the Israel Antiquities Authority Web Site
"There is no doubt that in a such a situation, where there is danger of gentiles gaining control over Mount Moriah, it is permissible even to enter the area of the sanctified courtyard, in order not to give them a base [or setting] on the Temple Mount, for the ascent of Jews upon the Mount in this situation is considered as conquest and tenure and the prevention of the taking of control by strangers over the place".
"In light of all that was stated previously, and in order that those who concede the Temple Mount to the Gentiles can't assign the blame to the Rabbis who forbid ascent to the Mount, I decided to investigate and measure and clarify the halachic laws related to the Temple Mount and the place of the Mikdash. To assign permitted boundaries and those forbidden for entrance. And so too, to set the measures of purification that one should practice before his ascent to the Mount."
For Further Reading click on Issues Involving The Ascent To The Temple Mount - An Exchange Of Letters Between S. Scheinman and Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal
Also secrets Under the Al Aqsa Mosque A Photographic Essay
originally viewed on YeranenYaakov