By: Aryeh Savir
A record number of Jews ascended to the Temple Mount on Sunday during the Tisha B’Av day of mourning, despite limitations set by the police and despite the violence that erupted from Muslim worshippers,
A total of 1,729 Jews visited the holy site during the Jewish national day of mourning commemorating the destruction of two temples in a time frame of only two hours. This record number consists of a 20% increase over last year’s 1,440 visits which took place over a time span of four and a half hours.
In 2015, only 300 Jews visited the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av.
This record was set despite limitations set by the police on the visits, and despite Muslim attempts to prevent Jews from visiting the site.
The police announced at the beginning of the day that they were shutting down the holy site to Jews as the Muslims were celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Adha, and they feared that the throngs of Muslims would clash with the Jews.
Muslim leaders over the weekend called on Jerusalem’s Muslims to attend prayers at the Temple Mount and ensure that Jews could not visit the site during their day of national mourning.
Hamas hung a mass banner on the Temple Mount conveying their holiday greetings to the Muslim worshippers, in violation of Israel’s sovereignty at the site.
Scores of Jews stood at the entrance to the Temple Mount for hours while fasting, waiting for the police to allow them to enter the Temple Mount.
The Muslims began to riot after their prayers concluded and police forces stormed the compound while using crowd control means. At least three police officers were injured.
The police pushed back the rioters and allowed the Jews to visit the holy site, although in a shorter than usual path.
Jews driving towards the Kotel, the Western Wall, were attacked while passing through an Arab neighborhood. Both cars were heavily damaged, but no Jews were injured in the attacks.
Channel 13 reported that that Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week and pointed out that the two holidays would fall on the same day. Netanyahu said that the decision as to whether to allow Jews up to the site “would be in accordance with the assessment of the situation of the police chiefs regarding the danger to public peace,” according to the senior official, Channel 13 reports.
Temple Mount activists thanked Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan and the commanders of Jerusalem’s police for their efforts to ensure Jewish visits to the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av.
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