Israeli police decided to limit entrance to Muslim visitors going to pray at the mosques on the Temple Mount on Friday, following intelligence that was received indicating there are plans to riot at the holy site.
In accordance with the information, only Arab men over the age of 45 who are residents of Israel, as opposed to those living under the Palestinian Authority (PA), will be allowed to enter, along with Arab women of all ages.
On Jerusalem Day this Wednesday, masked Arab youths threw stones at Israeli police on the Temple Mount, leaving at least one officer lightly wounded.
When the police responded by storming the Temple Mount area, the stone throwers retreated to the Al Aqsa Mosque while continuing to throw rocks and fireworks at the police.
Before the clashes broke out, closing access to the holiest site in Judaism, Muslim visitors to the site shouted derisive calls at the Jewish visitors. Approximately 1,000 foreign tourists managed to visit the site before the closure, as opposed to only 250 Israelis, on the day marking 47 years since the liberation of Jerusalem from the Jordanian occupation in the 1967 Six Day War.
A group of Jews that included leading rabbis managed to enter the Temple Mount and tour it for 17 minutes before being instructed to leave by the police. During the tour they were harangued by a Muslim throng shouting “Allahu akbar!” repeatedly.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, told Arutz Sheva after the tour "if we stand up for our rights, G-d will do His part as well...the Muslims understand this, which is why they violently oppose us. Seeing the opposition makes us laugh, because it is clear that they see that the Jewish people are returning to the Temple Mount and that makes them afraid. They know that it is only a matter of time until we rebuild the Holy Temple.”
Jews are regularly arrested for praying on the Temple Mount, an act forbidden by the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) that rules the holiest site in Judaism in a de facto manner. The site was plagued by particularly heavy Arab riots in April, including an incident in which Hamas activists took over the holy site during the Passover holiday.