Temple Mount prayer rally
Temple Mount prayer rallyIsrael news photo

A huge crowd of 10,000 Jews gathered at the old gates of the Temple Mount Monday night and declared their allegiance to the holy site, which rally organizers said is being separated from Jews by discriminatory practices by the police.

The “pledge of allegiance” to a Jewish Temple Mount and a united Jerusalem was part of the monthly “March around Old City Temple Gates,” a colorful event featuring the recital of Psalms at various closed gates around the Temple Mount.

The monthly march usually attracts 2,000-3,000 people, but organizers successfully brought out thousands more Monday night as Jews around the world marked the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av. The Ninth of Av is marked every year as the day when foreign invaders destroyed the First and Second Holy Temples.

The marches feature music and dancing and are peaceful, but police have barred several of the monthly prayer rallies during the past year because of fears of Arab violence.

National Union Knesset Member Uri Ariel told the crowd that deterioration in security and the increasing discrimination against Jews in Jerusalem prompted the unusually large turnout. In his speech he described the “surrender of Jerusalem to Arabs,” the worsening security in several Jewish neighborhoods, disturbances by anarchists and the discrimination by police who severely restrict the ability of Jews to ascend the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem council member Aryeh King reminded the crowd that the Temple Mount site is closed to Jews most of the time while police allow non-Jewish tourists to freely visit the holy site.

Israel accepts Muslim rules that forbid a Jew from praying out loud or even carrying a prayer book when ascending the Temple Mount.