Police 'Colluding with Islamists' to Keep Jews off Temple Mount
Images and footage from this morning's clashes between Islamists and Israeli police atop the Temple Mount have been published by Temple Mount activists - who accuse Israeli authorities of cowing to Muslim extremists by barring Jews from visiting their holiest site in response.
Veteran campaigner Rabbi Yehuda Glick described how Muslim youths affiliated with Hamas "barricaded themselves inside the [Al Aqsa] mosque with stockpiles of rocks, in order to prevent Jews from going up to the Mount."
"The police were prevented from entering the mosque to take them out, and they [the rioters] then began rioting again" as soon as the time allotted for Jewish visits began, he said.
Jewish visitors were forced to wait 40 minutes at the gate to the Mount, as rocks and teargas canisters were exchanged by rioters and police, before being informed they could not go up.
Watch - Police storm Temple Mount to quell riots:
Glick accused the police of essentially collaborating with Islamists to prevent Jews from visiting the holiest site in Judaism.
"The partnership between the police - headed by [Temple Mount police commander] Avi Bitton - and the Islamic Movement - headed by Raed Salah - continues as usual in the last few years," he said.
Glick described the "understanding" reached between Israeli authorities and Muslim extremists to keep Jews from visiting.
"Those who cause violence on the Temple Mount have internalized the police's message: They [the rioters] make a bit of chaos, and the police for their part close the Temple Mount to Jews."
Among the footage from the incident, Palestinian youths can be seen waving Hamas flags and Muslim Brotherhood banners, while Jewish pilgrims wait below.
In the last few hours Jewish, Glick said, Jewish groups have been allowed to ascend to the Mount - but only for two minutes at a time.
The Temple Mount is the site of the two former Temples of Israel, the latter of which was destroyed in 70 CE.
Yet despite its status as the holiest site in Judaism, Jews - along with other non-Muslims - are prevented from praying or conducting any other form of worship there in order to appease Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa complex, which stands on the ruins of the Temples.
Those who break the rules or are even suspected of praying face arrest and lengthy bans from visiting in the future. A bill mandating equal prayer rights for Jews and Muslims, tabled by the Jewish Home party, was proposed last year and is currently being discussed by a special Knesset committee.