Despite an immediate danger of collapse, over 1,600 people have ascended to the Temple Mount using an unstable wooden bridge on Sunday as the Jewish people mark Tisha B'Av — an annual fast day commemorating the destruction of both Jewish temples by the Babylonian and Roman empires.
Notwithstanding warnings, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered on Sunday to keep allowing worshipers access to the Temple Mount using the Mughrabi Bridge — a wooden walkway connecting the Western Wall Plaza with the Mughrabi Gate of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The bridge was constructed in 2004 and according to the construct's temporary permit obtained by Ynet, only security personnel are allowed to use it.
The permit stipulates the bridge would only be used until "the permanent earthen ramp leading to the Temple Mount is repaired and maintained." The ramp collapsed in February 2004 due to weather damage and a low-magnitude earthquake.
The local construction council has drawn up plans to build a permanent walkway, replacing the shaky wooden structure, but construction work has been repeatedly deferred and is not expected to begin in the near future.
Jerusalem Municipality and Israel Police cite the site's sensitive political status as the reason behind the delays and claim it is up to the government whether to greenlight the construction of the bridge.
Dozens of Jewish worshipers use the structure daily as the Mughrabi Gate is the only gate to the Temple Mount that the site's Muslim authority, or Waqf, allows non-Muslims to use for visiting the Temple Mount complex. The bridge is the only way to reach the gate.