Most religious Zionists support freedom of religion on Temple Mount

81.9 percent of those asked favored handing over the Waqf from Jordanian control to Israeli authority.

By World Israel News Staff 

Against the backdrop of the ongoing prohibition against Jewish prayer at Judaism’s holiest shrine, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a new survey published Sunday shows that an overwhelming majority of Israelis who consider themselves Religious Zionists believe that the ban should be lifted.

Among the respondents, 77.6 percent said that Jews should have the right to pray on the Mount, says the Makor Rishon newspaper, which reports that the poll was conducted by the Direct Polls Institute.

Only 9.7 percent of the 569 people asked voiced objection to Jewish prayer at the site.

Among Religious Zionists, 58.9 percent of those questioned believed that Jews should be allowed to pray anywhere on the Mount, while 29.1 percent supported allocating an area where Jewish prayer would be permitted.

Despite capturing the Temple Mount in the 1967 war from Jordan, Israel gave the Jordanian Waqf, or Islamic Trust, control of the site. The move was boosted by opposition among various rabbis to having Jews ascend the Mount for fear they would not sufficiently purify themselves and might enter areas forbidden according to Jewish law.

In the years since, the number of Jews ascending the Mount has grown with rabbis providing guidelines of how to visit without violating the sanctity of the holy site, though other rabbinic authorities still oppose the practice.

The Waqf still keeps a watchful eye, trying to prevent Jews from praying on Judaism’s holiest site. The area also houses Islam’s third-holiest shrine.

As part of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty signed in 1994, Jordan was given official status as custodian of the Muslim holy sites.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s political plan for Israelis and Palestinians reportedly refers to the establishment of a joint inter-Arab religious administration that would include other states, in addition to Jordan. This administration would work in tandem with Israel, according to the reported plan, and the area would remain under Israeli sovereignty.

The Direct Polls survey published Sunday showed that 81.9 percent of those in the Religious Zionist sector who were asked favored handing over the Waqf from Jordanian control to Israeli authority.

The survey was released as Jews were beginning a three-week mourning period commemorating the destruction of the Temple twice, first in 586 BCE and then, after it had been rebuilt, in 70 CE.