More than 1000 Jews Visit Temple Mount on Tisha B’av



August 13, 2017

by Andrew Friedman/TPS

More than 1000 Jews Visit Temple Mount on Tisha B’av

More than 1000 Jews braved a searing heat wave to visit the Temple Mount on Tisha B’av, while thousands more sat on the floor – a traditional Jewish sign of mourning – at the Western Wall Plaza to commemorate the destruction of ancient Jerusalem by the Roman Empire in the year 70 CE.

One person, a 15-year-old boy, was lightly wounded when a Muslim worshipper threw a chair at him. He was given first aid by security officials and did not require further treatment. The man was not arrested.

In addition, six people were ejected for violating the rules and four people were arrested when a fight broke out adjacent to the Chain Gate between three Jews and an Arab man as the group left the Mount.

Throughout the morning, hundreds of people stood in line adjacent to the Mughrabi Gate, the only entrance to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims, to visit the site. Entering the ramp leading to the Mount, Jewish visitors passed through metal detectors and thorough security checks to ensure no forbidden items, including prayer books, religious items and Israeli flags, made it up to the Mount. On the ramp leading up to the gate, officers briefed visitors on visitation rules, including prohibitions on praying and bowing down.

Jewish visitors were also required to leave identification at the checkpoint.

To accommodate the large number of Jewish visitors, police allowed large groups to enter the site, a practice they usually frowned upon, and eventually limited the visitors’ presence on the Mount to an abbreviated route.

The event, the largest visit by Jews to the Temple Mount in years, comes on the heels of weeks of tension surrounding the holy site. On July 14, three Israeli-Arabs exited the Mount at Lions Gate and killed two policemen, leading Israel to place metal detectors and security cameras at the site.

But Jordanian-funded Islamic officials (Waqf) charged with overseeing the site rejected the security measures as a breach of the status quo and called on Muslims to boycott the Islamic shrines until the metal detectors and cameras were removed. After a 12-day standoff Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu folded and the security measures were removed.

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