Daily Israel Report

Temple Mount: Arabs Pelt Jewish Visitors with Stones

Police forces enter Temple Mount compound immediately after Muslims began throwing rocks at Jewish visitors.
By Kochava Rozenbaum
First Publish: 9/4/2013, 11:03 AM

Uri Ariel on Temple Mount
Uri Ariel on Temple Mount
Yoni Kempinski

Police forces were dispatched on Wednesday to break up Muslim stone throwers who were targeting Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount (Har Habayit).

As soon as stones were thrown and riots broke out, police forces stepped in to make arrests.

Security forces were prepared for a riot as this incident follows renewed incitement by Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah, who called for Muslims to physically prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount last week.

Yesterday, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel was arrested on charges of "incitement against Israel and regarding the Temple Mount," and is currently being questioned by police.

This morning's attack on Jewish visitors is likely connected to Salah’s claim last week to his followers that Israel is planning to “break in” to the Temple Mount, on which the Islamic Al Aqsa compound is located, built atop the ruins of two Jewish Temples.

After warning of the alleged "danger" of increased Jewish prayer at the site, Salah called on Muslims from across Israel - from the Negev and Galilee, Akko and Haifa - to descend on the Temple Mount to prevent the “dangerous mass invasion into Al Aqsa” with their bodies.

In the past, such statements have led the Israeli Police to close off the Temple Mount to Jews, out of concern that Jewish presence at the holy site could be met with Muslim riots, which on Wednesday proved to be true.

The police policy of restricting Jewish access in order to maintain quiet has led to complaints of discrimination.

“The Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish People, and must be open at any hour to every Jew,” said Minister of Construction and Housing, Uri Ariel on Wednesday. 

Ariel ascended this morning on the eve of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) 5774 to the Temple Mount, as is his custom. Ariel declared that the Temple Mount belongs to the Jewish people without a doubt.

“I intend to continue to support the State of Israel’s full sovereignty over the site. This is a non-negotiable issue, with no room for argument.” 

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, but Jews are forbidden from holding prayers there due to the presence of an Islamic complex, and under threats of violence by Islamists.