As the first prayer session of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached Friday, Israeli law enforcement agencies were placed on heightened alert around the Temple Mount. Magen David Adom emergency medical service workers were also dispatched to deal with the threat of Muslim riots in the area.
Friday’s prayer session was to commence around noon.
A history of violence by Muslims in the Temple Mount area during their holiday has resulted in an annual tightening of security restrictions around the Mount.
A history of violence by Muslims in the Temple Mount area during their holiday has resulted in an annual tightening of security restrictions around the Mount, and the State has ordered thousands of police and Border Patrol personnel to keep watch over the Muslim worshippers.
In advance of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana (the New Year), the Israel Police were also expected to raise the nationwide alert level, as they usually do at this time of year.
Under the Ramadan restrictions, the only male Arabs from PA-controlled areas that will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount are those who are married and over the age of 45. Of that group, those under 50 will have to present a special entry permit.
Although the nationwide alert focuses on the areas surrounding Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, restrictions have been eased on Arabs in those areas in a Ramadan “gesture” of goodwill. In addition, Israeli Arabs will be allowed to visit relatives in parts of Judea and Samaria designated as Area A (full PA control) zones, and PA prisoners will be allowed to receive money.