In this context, it is important to comment upon today’s news reports of the conversation between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Torah luminary Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv that took place when the President visited the Rav in his Sukkah.
Rav Elyashiv stated the predominant halachic view that Jews are forbidden to set foot on the Temple Mount. What the news accounts omit is that the rationale for this view reinforces the depth and seriousness of the Jewish connection to that holy site. We are not to ascend to the Temple Mount because we are ritually impure and unable to properly purify ourselves to be permitted and worthy to set foot on that place of holiness.
The Kotel HaMa’aravi (“Western Wall”) is often misidentified as the site holiest to Judaism. It is, in fact, the site which is the closest point accessible to the holiest site in Judaism – the Temple Mount.