Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen decided Sunday during a special discussion with MK Uri Ariel (National Union) that due to a lack of manpower the police would be unable to allow the Religious Zionist movement to march through the Lion's Gate and Herod's Gate during their Flag Dance Procession in Jerusalem.
At the end of their meeting Ariel said he was disappointed by Cohen's decision, which "didn't take into account the weakness such a prohibition would demonstrate."
This Wednesday tens of thousands of people are expected to come to the capital to celebrate Jerusalem Day. The police expect a busy day ensuring safety around and inside the Old City.
"Those gates will be used for evacuation in case of emergency," a police source said. "The entire city will be well-secured, but deployment formations show that securing those two gates will not be possible."
Ariel attempted to reach a compromise which would enable the revelers to enter the Lion's Gate, remembered in Israel mainly as the gate through which paratroopers entered the Old City during the Six-Day War. He suggested that the time and the number of people be limited, but the police commissioner was adamant.
Ariel expressed his hope that eventually they would get the approval, and called on the revelers to heed police instructions. "I call on the public that will take part in the Flag Dance Procession to cooperate with the organizers and police," he said.
Last Wednesday Ariel met with Jerusalem District Police Commander Major General Aharon Franco. Other police officers were also present as well as Boaz Yaacobi, one of the procession's organizers. Franco said that the marchers would be allowed to enter Damascus Gate.