Police close Temple Mount to Jews on Tisha Be'av
Police closed the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors on Sunday morning, the fast of Tisha Be’av, due to fears of “provocation” – despite a promise on Saturday night that the holiest site in Judaism would be open to Jewish worshipers.
Nearly 100 right-wing activists arrived at the entrance to the Temple Mount only to be informed that the site was closed to Jews.
The activists held a reading of Lamentations (Eicha), the traditional text of Tisha Be’av that commemorates the destruction of the Temples, outside the entrance to the Mount.
“There were indications from Muslims and from Jewish worshipers that there would be a possibility of incidents taking place on the Temple Mount, so after a security assessment made in the early hours of this morning, the decision was made by Jerusalem district police in order to prevent any incidents,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“The time has come for the racist policies of the police to end,” MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said, accusing Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beytenu) of “implementing apartheid policies” by barring Jews from the site.
“The fact that this happened on Tisha Be’av shows how much the Temple Mount is not in our hands,” said Likud activist Moshe Feiglin, who compared the decision to a “modern destruction” of the Temple.
Feiglin said Jerusalem police head Asst.-Ch. Nisso Shaham had promised the Temple Mount would be open to Jews on Sunday. On Thursday, Shaham was forced to take a leave of absence following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault of policewomen.