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Sanhedrin Members Enter Temple Mount Above the Western Wall


There is a tradition (Tractate Megillah 17b, Rashi) that the Sanhedrin will be restored after a partial ingathering of the Jewish exiles, but before Jerusalem is completely rebuilt and restored. There is also a Talmudic tradition (Eruvin 43b; Maharatz Chajas ad loc; Rashash, Sanhedrin 13b) that Elijah the Prophet will present himself before a duly-ordained Sanhedrin when he announces the coming of the Messiah, meaning that - despite common misconceptions - a Sanhedrin is a pre-, not post-messianic institution.

Members of Reestablished Sanhedrin Ascend Temple Mount


In a dramatic but unpublicized move Monday, members of the newly established Sanhedrin ascended the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. Close to 50 recently ordained "samuchim," members of the Sanhedrin, lined up at the foot of the Temple Mount.

The men, many ascending the Temple Mount for the first time, had immersed in mikvaot (ritual baths) that morning and planned to ascend as a group. Despite prior approval from the Israeli police who oversee entry to the Mount, the officers barred the group from entering the Mount together, saying they could only ascend in groups of 10.

Many of the samuchim refused to ascend under the restrictive conditions, especially as a group of over 100 gentile tourists filed past the waiting rabbis and up onto the holy site. "It is unconscionable that on the eve of Chanukah, which celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple, we should once again be barred from worshipping - by our own people," Rabbi Chaim Richman of Jerusalem's Temple Institute told IsraelNN's Ezra HaLevi.

The Sanhedrin, a religious assembly of 71 sages that sat from the time of the Holy Temple through 425 CE, was the highest Jewish legal-judicial tribunal in the Land of Israel. The great court used to convene in one of the Temple's chambers in Jerusalem. On October 14, the Sanhedrin was reestablished for the first time in 1,600 years, at the site of its last meeting in Tiberius.

"There is a special mitzvah, not connected to time, but tied to our presence in Israel, to establish a Sanhedrin," Rabbi Meir HaLevi (no relation), one of the 71 members of the new Sanhedrin, told Israel National Radio's Weekend Edition. "The Rambam [12th century Torah scholar Maimonides] describes the process exactly in [his seminal work codifying Jewish Law] the Mishna Torah. When he wrote it there was no Sanhedrin, and he therefore outlines the steps necessary to establish one. When there is a majority of rabbis, in Israel, who authorize one person to be a 'samuch,' an authority, he can then reestablish the Sanhedrin."

Those behind the revival of the Sanhedrin stress that the revival of the legal body is not optional, but mandated by the Torah. "We don't have a choice," says Rabbi Richman, "it is a religious mandate for us to establish a Sanhedrin."

The Sanhedrin was reestablished through the ordination of a rabbi agreed-upon by the majority of prominent rabbis in Israel and approved as "fitting to serve" by former Chief Sefardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and leading Ashkenazi Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv. That rabbi, who is then considered to have received authentic ordination as handed down from Moses, was then able to give ordination to 70 others, making up the quorum of 71 necessary for the Sanhedrin.

The rabbis behind the Sanhedrin's reconstitution claim that, like the State of Israel, the old-new Sanhedrin is a work-in-progress. They see it as a vessel that, once established, will reach the stature and authority that it once had. "The first members requested that their names not be published, so as to allow it to grow without public criticism of individuals," HaLevi said. "We want to give it time to develop and strengthen the institution, giving a chance for more rabbis to join." He added that each of the current members of the Sanhedrin has agreed to be a conditional member until a more knowledgeable rabbi joins, taking his place.

Rabbi Richman, also a member of the Sanhedrin, hopes the body will bring about a revolution in Jewish jurisprudence. Declining to discuss exactly what issues are on the Sanhedrin's agenda, Richman said that one of the main long-term goals of the Sanhedrin, which includes members of Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Hasidic, National-Religious and Haredi communities, is to reunify Jewish observance in Israel.

Israeli Officials and US: Yesha Headed for Destruction


The US demands that Israel evacuate and abandon all Jewish communities behind the anti-terror partition fence. So says Elliot Abrams, director of the National Security Council Middle East section. Abrams gave this short-thrift treatment to the 250,000-strong, 35-year-old Jewish settlement enterprise when speaking to American Jewish leaders recently. They were visiting Washington when Abrams told them, "It's clear to us that in the end, the settlements on the other side of the partition will be dismantled."

Abrams, considered a pro-Israel element in the American government, said that the US has no plans to suffice merely with the uprooting of the Jewish presence in northern Samaria and Gaza. He explained that the Americans will support Israel's retention of "settlement blocs" only if Israel uproots everything else in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

The five "settlement blocs" in question are Ariel and environs, Gush Etzion, and Kiryat Arba/Hebron, as well as the city of Maaleh Adumim and the town of Givat Ze'ev. President Bush has never formally expressed his consent to Israel's demand to retain these areas.

The Prime Minister's Bureau, according to Ma'ariv, seems unfazed by Abrams' remarks. Even if this is the American stance, a staffer said, "Israel has a different position, and ours will be the one to determine." This does not jibe, however, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's oft-repeated position that Israeli policy will coordinate with the US.

In fact, there have been indications that the position stated by Abrams is shared within the Sharon government. Former Herzliya Mayor Eli Landau, a good friend of Sharon, told Arutz-7 three months ago that Sharon's withdrawal plan "would eventually take Israel all the way back to the anti-terrorism partition fence."

Intelligence Report: Hizbullah Active in Israel for Four Years


An intelligence report prepared two months ago indicates that the Lebanese terrorist organization Hizbullah has been active for more than four years in attempts to infiltrate Israel from within. The report shows that in the wake of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in late May 2000, Hizbullah and Iran realized the "explosive potential" available in the Israeli-Arab population. Full-fledged citizens with complete mobility throughout the country, the Arabs of Israel were seen as a perfect way of enhancing Hizbullah's ability to strike out at Israel. This feeling was magnified in October 2000, just after the beginning of the Oslo War, when 13 Arabs were killed during several days of anti-Jewish rioting and violence.

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reported that Hizbullah terrorist chieftain Sheikh Nasrallah made his intentions clear after two car-bomb attempts in one day in September 1999. The cars exploded within an hour of each other in Haifa and Tiberias, killing only the Arab perpetrators, though the plan was for dozens of passersby to be murdered. Five Israeli-Arabs were arrested. Nasrallah praised the Israeli-Arab populace at the time, saying that these "'sacrifice actions' for the 'sanctification of Allah's name' caused fear and trembling amidst the Zionist entity, because the perpetrators were Palestinians whose lands were conquered in 1948."

Hizbullah feels that there are two advantages in utilizing the terrorist services of Israeli-Arabs. For one thing, their mobility gives them an important advantage in collecting quality intelligence. In addition, major terror attacks by Israeli citizens shake Israel's societal and political stability.

Israeli intelligence has it that Hizbullah activates an entire line of collaborators within Israel, for three purposes: The establishment and expansion of terror cells in Israel, smuggling of arms and weapons into Israel, and providing logistical and operative aid to terror groups from within the PA-controlled areas.

With direction and aid from Iran, Hizbullah has been active over the past several years in finding Israeli-Arabs who wish to participate in anti-Israeli terror activities. Many Israeli-Arabs have been involved in Hizbullah terror activities over the past few years.

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