Jewish visitors entering the Temple Mount on Sunday

Israel reopens Temple Mount to Jewish visitors after 20 days

Decision comes as ceasefire with Gaza terror groups enters third day; Waqf says police escorted more than 120 Jews to the site, clearing Palestinians under 45 from area; Israeli police denies age restriction, says 5 arrested for breach of peace

Gilad Cohen, News Agencies |
Published: 05.23.21 , 14:15
Israel on Sunday morning reopened the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to Jewish visitors, 20 days after it was closed to them due to Ramadan and the subsequent clashes at the site that is holy to both Jews and Muslims.
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  • The decision was made by security officials and supported by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, who said he trusted any police decision on the matter.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    הר הבית נפתח לתפילת מתפללים יהודים לאחר מבצע שומר החומות
    הר הבית נפתח לתפילת מתפללים יהודים לאחר מבצע שומר החומות
    Jewish visitors entering the Temple Mount on Sunday
    (Photo: TPS)
    Police escorted more than 120 Jewish visitors to the site, according to the Waqf, the Islamic authority overseeing the compound.
    The Waqf said police cleared young Palestinians out of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the mount, and barred entry to Muslims under the age of 45.
    Muslims who entered were required to leave their IDs with police at the entrance. It said six Palestinians were detained, with four later released.
    Israeli police denied there was any age restriction and said they arrested five suspects who "violated the public order."
    Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the site was open for "regular visits" and that police had secured the area to prevent "incidents."
    4 צפייה בגלריה
     הר הבית ירושלים
     הר הבית ירושלים
    Jewish visitors entering the Temple Mount on Sunday
    (Photo: Joint Headquarters of Temple Mount Organizations)
    The Waqf said Sunday it was the first time Jews had been allowed to visit the site since May 4, almost exactly a week before a 12-day war broke out between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in Gaza.
    A short time after its reopening Sunday, images began circulating on social media showing right-wing Israeli activists at the site alongside captions claiming they pictured armed Jews preparing to invade the al-Aqsa compound.
    Israeli police had briefly clashed with Palestinian protesters after Friday prayers in an early test of the truce to end the fighting that had taken effect hours earlier.
    The al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. It is built atop the remains of the ancient Jewish temples and is the holiest site in Judaism. As part of a decades-long agreement with the Waqf, Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    עימותים על הר הבית
    עימותים על הר הבית
    Palestinian protesters prepare rocks to hurl at Israeli police during tensions on the Temple Mount on the eve of the latest round of fighting, May 10, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Israeli police repeatedly clashed with Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount in the days leading up to May 10, when the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem.
    In recent years, increasing numbers of religious and nationalist Jews have visited the site. The Israeli government has repeatedly said it has no intention of changing the status quo, under which the Waqf oversees the site under Jordanian custodianship.
    The decision to reopen the site to Jewish visitors was praised by the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, an Israeli organization that works to end what it calls the "unconscionable discrimination" that prevents Jews from praying at the site.
    The foundation's CEO Tom Nisani said Sunday: “This is a very important morning that serves to save some of the national honor of the people of Israel. Opening the mount is good news.”
    Nisani also urged the government to completely end the Waqf's administrative powers on the Temple Mount, "to open it to Jews around the clock and from all its gates with complete freedom of movement and worship, and to stop surrendering to Hamas’ threats that only lead to more terrorist acts."
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    מיד עם סיום תפילת הצהריים, החלה התפרעות בהר הבית על ידי מאות צעירים
    מיד עם סיום תפילת הצהריים, החלה התפרעות בהר הבית על ידי מאות צעירים
    Israeli police and Palestinian protesters clash on the Temple Mount on Friday
    (Photo: AFP)
    On Friday, sporadic clashes broke out at the site between thousands of Palestinians worshippers and Israeli police forces. Several dozen were arrested and the Red Crescent said 15 people were wounded.
    Another 33 people were arrested overnight Saturday in connection with the clashes the day before.
    “The Israel Police will not allow violent riots of any kind or harm to come to officers," said the police in a statement.

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