Police closed the Temple Mount to visits by Jews on Sunday, the day when worldwide Jewry marked the fast of Tisha B'Av. The fast was postponed a day because the date fell on the Sabbath, when it is forbidden to fast, except on Yom Kippur.
Tisha B'Av, the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, the date of the destruction of both the First and Second Holy Temples. Jews are commanded to await the rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple, when the Messiah will come and bring world peace. The Temple Mount is the site of both of the Temples and is to be the site of the Third, making it the most sacred place in Judaism.
More than one hundred Jews arrived early Sunday morning in hopes of ascending to the Temple Mount nevertheless. They remained near the Mughrabi (Rambam) Gate, the entrance to the site, in hopes of being allowed in. “We will not give up,” they said.
Activist Noam Federman, who was also at the site, commented that it is “shameful that while the people of Israel mark the Temple's destruction, it is only Jews who are not allowed” on to the site.
Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari also attacked the closure of the Temple Mount to Jews on Sunday, saying, “The time has come for the racist policy of the police to stop.
"The Temple Mount practices a policy of apartheid against Jews under the Public Security Minister [Yitzchak] Aharonovitch,” he said.
Jerusalem District Police on Sunday stated that the decision to close the Mount to Jewish visitors came after police received information there was an intention to create “provocations” at the site.
On Saturday night, police told reporters that Jewish worshipers would be allowed to visit the Temple Mount. Regional Police Commander Moshe Barkat said security personnel would work to prevent friction with Muslims who pray at the Mosque on the site during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which this year occurs at the same time as the Hebrew month of Av.