Temple Mount Activists Celebrate New Altar, but Plea to 'Practice Animal Sacrifice' Rejected

Activists who want the ancient Temple rebuilt thus had to slaughter the sheep elsewhere. 'What we still have to do is awaken the people,' says one activist

Activists for the rebuilding of the Temple conduct ritual, Jerusalem, December 10, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi

Activists who hope to see the Temple rebuilt on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount unveiled a new altar Monday they say is intended to be placed on the Mount and used to offer sacrifices.

For the past decade, these activists, who are preparing for a rebuilt Temple by recreating some of the ancient tools used in Temple rituals, have been practicing offering sacrifices in the days before Passover.

On Monday, the activists wanted to practice using the altar but had to suffice with only part of the service because the Jerusalem municipality would not let them slaughter an animal in a public park.

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“In the end there will be a grander altar, but for the time being we have this, and the moment they open the gates we’re ready to take it up to the Temple Mount,” said a veteran Temple Mount activist, Shimshon Elboim.

Activists for the rebuilding of the Temple conduct ritual, Jerusalem, December 10, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi
Activists for the rebuilding of the Temple conduct ritual, Jerusalem, December 10, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi

So far the practice sessions have included slaughtering an animal and offering it on a temporary altar of wood. On Monday the activists wanted to enact the complete ritual of slaughtering the animal and offering it, and had even received a permit from the police.

But the municipality’s legal adviser rejected their request to slaughter an animal in a public park outside the Old City walls, thus the sheep earmarked for this purpose was taken to another location to be slaughtered.

“What we still have to do is awaken the people,” Elboim said. “There is slow but sure progress, and if the authorities allow it, tomorrow we can do the whole service.”