As Jews commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples, Muslim rioters attacked Israeli police forces and visitors on the Temple Mount.
Muslims on the Temple Mount violently attacked Jews on Sunday morning, opposed to their entry to the holy compound on Tish’a Be’av (the ninth day of the Hebrew calendar month of Av), the Hebrew date on which, according to Jewish tradition, both biblical temples were destroyed. Saturday evening, thousands of Jewish mourners gathered at the adjacent Western Wall plaza to recite special prayers.
Over 180 Jews entered the compound during the standard morning visitation hours, but some 40 others were barred from entering the site after Muslim rioters clashed with police forces and attempted to attack the visitors. Palestinian sources reported that 15 people were wounded in the clashes.
Nine Jews were detained by police forces for visibly mourning during the visit- crying, tearing a shirt or reciting Jewish verses. Such behaviors are considered to be violations of the visitation rules, which prohibit Jewish prayer at the contested holy site.
Tish’a Be’av is a day of mourning, during which observant Jews do not eat, drink, bathe, wear leather shoes or have marital relations, to commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples, destroyed on the same day 656 years apart.
Although this holiday is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temples, Jews mourn a number of other tragedies that took place during this period, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and from England in 1290.
The day, however, has also become politically sensitive. Many Israeli Arabs and Palestinians oppose the increased Jewish presence in the Old City, and Muslims frequently attack Jewish worshipers and police forces.
Due to the anticipated Muslim attacks, IDF and Border Police forces increased their presence throughout the Old City on Saturday night and Sunday.
“The police will act in accordance with the status quo and will take determined action against anyone attempting to disrupt the order,” said a statement by the Jerusalem Police following the arrests.
Palestinian media and social media closely monitored the entries by Jews into the Temple Mount, presenting them as “invasions by settlers” and as “Israeli escalations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” They also reported that some Muslims were denied entry to the holy site, including Sheikh Hussam Abu Leil who was the deputy of Raed Salah, leader of the outlawed Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch.
The Hamas terror organization warned on Twitter that “these crimes could blow up the whole situation if continued. We call on the masses to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and call on the international community to intervene to stop the aggression by the occupation and the settlers.”
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism though Jewish access to the site is severely restricted. The site is also the third holiest to Muslims, who refer to it as Haram al-Sharif or as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. According to Israel’s peace agreement with Jordan, the latter has a “special role” in administering the holy sites in Jerusalem. Jordan vocally opposes many Israeli actions in the Jerusalem Old City, frequently decrying them as violations of the status quo.
By: Michael Bachner, Tazpit Press Service
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Source: United with Israel