Police at Damascus Gate
Police at Damascus GateIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Police are on high alert in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (Shomron) as Arabs prepare to mark Land Day. This year, it overlaps with Passover, leading to extra cause for concern.

Land Day marks the anniversary of widespread Arab riots in 1976 over Israeli plans to expropriate unused land in the Galilee, some of which was Arab-owned. The day is often celebrated with violent riots.

Hundreds of police officers have been stationed across the Old City and eastern Jerusalem due to concern that riots could break out after the Friday morning Muslim prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque. Police have also barred Muslim men under age 50 from the mosque for the day, following intelligence reports according to which younger men were planning a riot.

Jerusalem Police are apparently not taking any risks regarding Friday prayers in wake of an incident three weeks ago in which Muslim rioters, for the first time, used firebombs against police officers on the Temple Mount.

The Passover holiday means unique security considerations due both to the fact that the holiday means large, public civilian gatherings, and to the fact that Palestinian Authority terrorists have often chosen to attack on Jewish holidays.

This year marked the eleventh anniversary of the Park Hotel massacre, in which terrorists targeted an Israeli Passover seder in Netanya, murdering 30 people.