Police once again prevented Jews from entering the area of the Temple Mount. The Joint Coalition of Temple Mount Organizations said that police were again buckling under to threats by Arabs that they would riot if Jews asserted their rights to pray near the holiest spot in Judaism.
Leading the group that was banned was Yehuda Glick, who was with a group of students that tried to ascend the Mount on Thursday morning. The excuse this time: The group wanted to carry flags with them, and police said they could not enter.
Glick said that “by closing the Mount to Jews police are serving the interests of Muslim terrorists. They are collaborating with terrorists and Islamist groups, and are surrendering to terror instead of vanquishing it.”
The Coalition had planned to ascend the Mount with Israeli flags Thursday in response to recent "humiliating" measures to which police had subjected Jews seeking to ascend the Mount. Last week, several Jews were arrested on the Temple Mount, and were subject to strip searches, among other indignities.
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site and the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the latter of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE.
Despite that fact, Jewish visitors face severe restrictions upon ascending the Mount, including a blanket ban on praying or on performing any other form of worship, as well as restrictions on the size of groups which can ascend. Those who violate the restrictions face arrest and a prolonged ban from ascending altogether.
Numerous court rulings have stipulated that Jews must be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount as a basic right to freedom of religion. Nevertheless, the Israeli police force has repeatedly ignored the rulings, citing unspecified "security concerns" as a pretext to continue enforcing the ban.