Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday morning that Jewish visits to Jerusalem's Temple Mount to mark Tisha B'Av would continue after Arab protesters threw stones in an effort to deter the pilgrimages.
A statement from his office said that the prime minister was "receiving timely updates and will hold additional assessments in the coming hours."
Young Arab protesters threw stones at police forces on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem early Sunday morning, hours before the site was opened to visits by Jews to mark the destruction of the two biblical Jewish temples that once stood there.
Police dispersed the protesters without making any arrests. Jews began to walk up the hilltop at around 8am and within a matter of hours, more than 1,000 Jewish visitors had made their way to the top of the mount.
Jews traditionally fast on Tisha B'Av (the Ninth of Av in the Hebrew calendar) to mourn the loss of the two temples and some visit the site that is the holiest site in Judaism, now a flashpoint housing the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and one of the holiest locations in Islam.
While Jews can visit the East Jerusalem hilltop plaza captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, they are prohibited from actively praying there due to an agreement struck following the conflict.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the Jewish visits to the Mount, calling them a threat to stability.
In a statement, the PA said it held "the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the escalation resulting from the Israeli incursion in the Al-Aqsa mosque complex in occupied Jerusalem."
The Authority called the Jewish visits provocative and a "serious threat to "security and stability."
The confrontation between police and protesters came after days of calls by Muslims in Jerusalem to go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to block Jews from entering on Sunday.
Muslim clerics across the country also joined the calls, and dozens of Arabs from the Wadi Ara area arrived at the scene.
This year, hundreds of Jews were expected to ascend the Temple Mount to mark Tisha B'Av, after some 1,000 Jews visited the site last year.
Jerusalem's Arab population views the annual nighttime procession for Tisha B'Av around the walls of the Old City, which took place Saturday night, as an act of provocation.
The procession went ahead without incident Saturday night with police securing the event.
The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) begins on Monday night, with Palestinians expected to visit Jerusalem and the Temple Mount during the five-day holiday.
Israel has restricted visits to the Temple Mount for Palestinians in an effort to avoid a repeat of the fierce clashes that erupted there in May, in the run-up to the 11-day conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
Only allow married Palestinian men over 50 and married women over 40 will be permitted to go up to the hilltop.
Reuters contributed to this report
First published: 08:39, 07.18.21