The police restricted the Temple Mount to Muslims – and then closed it completely to Jews, citing “security warnings.” Nationalist MKs protest.
“A surrender to terrorism” and “yet another blow to Jews' rights to worship freely in the Land of Israel.” With these and other words, MKs Uri Ariel and Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party attacked the police decision to close the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers and visitors on Thursday, the day after the week-long Passover holiday.
The Temple Mount – the locale of the Holy Temples and the place where Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac in fulfillment of G-d’s command – is the most sacred site in the world for the Jewish People.
This past week saw much vibrant Jewish activity on the Mount, including the once-every-28-years Blessing of the Sun last Wednesday, and hundreds of visitors who ascended daily to the site ‘in purity” – i.e., after immersing in a ritual bath and following the other prescribed Jewish-legal precautions for visiting the holy site. In addition, on Tuesday, just before the beginning of the last day of the holiday, dozens of Jews prayed the afternoon service outside the Shalshelet Gate, just as they left the Mount.
Today (Thursday), many Chabad Lubavitch members planned to visit the holy site and hold a Hak’hel commemoration, in memory of the Biblical command to gather the entire nation at the Holy Temple following the Shemitta year.
Moslems Protest and Threaten, Jews Banned
However, these plans were nipped in the bud by a sudden decision by national and city police to ban Jews from entering the Temple Mount today. The reason: Intelligence warnings of a possible attack by Muslim terrorists. Prior to the decision, some 200 Islamic Movement extremists protested in the Old City of Jerusalem, complaining that “right-wing Jews” planned to take over the Temple Mount. A heavy police presence was on hand.
“I certainly understand the police’s concern for public safety,” MK Ariel said, “and I assume that the decision [to close the Mount to Jews] was made based on trustworthy information. Even so, the decision is a grave one, and represents a surrender to terrorism.”
“Instead of sending signals to the terrorists that we are afraid,” Ariel said, “and instead of preventing the citizens from waging their normal lives, the police and security forces should back up their citizens, pursue the terrorists, and give a strong message of determination and unwillingness to concede to terrorism.”
MK Ariel had a message for Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, of the hawkish Yisrael Beiteinu party: “Every time there is a warning or terrorist threat, the policy towards terrorists and their supporters must be made harsher.”
MK Aryeh Eldad said the decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews is a “surrender to Muslims who wish, via threats of violence and terrorism, to prevent Jews from actualizing their rights on the Mount.”
Eldad said that when the Knesset’s summer session begins, “I will convene a meeting of all the Knesset Members who are loyal to the Temple Mount, to discuss the demands we will make of the government regarding freedom of worship at the holy site.”