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Police Place Limits on Temple Mount for Muslims

New intel turns the tables on regular bans on Jewish visitors after rumors of more Muslim rioting.
By Uzi Baruch, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 4/18/2014, 9:01 AM

Police face Arab rioters in Jerusalem (file)
Police face Arab rioters in Jerusalem (file)
Flash 90

Following intelligence information received by Jerusalem police on plans by Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount to disrupt the public order at the end of their prayers, entrance to the holy site was limited to Muslim visitors.

The decision to only allow Muslim men over the age of 50, and women of any age, to pray at the site was made by Jerusalem police commander Nitzav Yossi Pariente.

Further, only Muslim visitors with blue teudot zehut (identification cards), held by Israeli citizens and residents, are to be allowed in.

Police are deployed around the Temple Mount and in alleys and entrances around the Old City against expected attempts to disrupt the public order.

The Temple Mount was closed to visitors by police on Thursday following rioting by Muslims in the area for "Prisoners Day," in which thousands of Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza demanded the release of Israeli-held terrorists. Those protests turned violent in Hevron, where police and soldiers were attacked with rocks.

Six Arab youths in Jerusalem were arrested on Thursday, over suspicion of being involved in rioting on Wednesday at the Temple Mount, when firecrackers and rocks were hurled at police.

Following the rioting on Wednesday, Dov Kalmanovitz, the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, demanded that police close the Temple Mount to Arab visitors for the rest of the day.

However, police instead closed the holiest site in Judaism to Jews for Wednesday and Thursday, sparking outrage among government ministers. MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) argued that the Israeli government had "abandoned the Temple Mount to the Hamas regime."

The most recent spate of clashes on the Temple Mount started on Monday morning before Passover, when dozens of Hamas activists took over the holy site while waving Hamas flags and barring Jewish visitors from entering.