Jews on the Temple Mount (file)
Jews on the Temple Mount (file)Arnon Segel

In a new repressive measure, Israeli police on Monday morning are starting a new official policy to limit the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount to a certain quota, and further limiting entry via registration in advance.

In contrast, non-Jews will be able to continue to enter the Mount - which is the holiest site in Judaism - freely and without restrictions, according to the Headquarters of Temple Organizations.

The organizations report that Jewish visitors to the holy site were surprised on Sunday to receive an announcement from the police, according to which the status quo on the Mount is to be changed starting Monday.

Only 45 Jews will be allowed to enter the site in the morning, and another 15 in the afternoon according to the police announcement. Additionally, the police decided to prioritize the entry of Jews who had registered in advance with them.

"What the registration means is that beyond the 'numerus clausus' (i.e. racial quotas - ed.) for Jews, the police won't allow any more free entry for Jews to the Temple Mount, on the claim that the quota of Jews is full with advance registrants," warned the Headquarters of Temple Organizations.

Activists who contacted the police to verify the announcement were told that the police indeed intend to enforce the discriminatory step, claiming that it is in the benefit of the Jews and their security.

The step joins another controversial move at the site taken in response to the latest wave of Arab terror. Last month Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to install cameras on the Mount, in a move approved by Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett, who likewise stated his support of the Jordanian Waqf's ban on Jewish prayer.

However, Jordan's King Abdullah II made clear that the footage from the cameras will only be accessed by Jordan, which will then decide what segments to share with Israel.

"This is anti-Semitism"

In response to Monday's new step, the Temple Organizations complain that the measure will further undermine the precarious Israeli sovereignty on the site and in essence hand it over to the Waqf completely.

"The idea to fix a numerical quota for Jews on the Temple Mount is anti-Semitic," they stated.

"The Temple Mount is the holiest site to the nation of Israel. It cannot be that again and again the police try to thin out and exclude the Jews from the site through various strange methods."

"The Temple Mount needs to be open to Jews at least as much as is the complex on its western wall," they added, referencing the Kotel. "The Temple Mount is a lot more quiet and secure than any other place in the Old City. The police are bearing the name of security in vain, there is no reason to limit the Jews on the Temple Mount."

Referencing the current draconian conditions, the activists added, "sticking police (units) to the Jews on the Temple Mount was only meant to prevent the Jews from freedom of religion at the holy site, in order to cater to the demands of the Waqf and the Jordanians. The security excuses are false."

According to the activists the new move is a submission to the threats of the Waqf and of Jordan, according to which the terror will continue if their demands are not met.

"Particularly in these days when the state of Israel stands before a wave of discrimination and labeling (by the EU - ed.) we must not allow any sort of discrimination. All the more so we must not ourselves implement the standards of discrimination against Jews as a submission to terror and pressure from the enemy."

"We will not accept this illegal step, and we will do all we can in order to oppose it and breach it," promised the activists.

Meanwhile, a Jewish man was arrested Sunday for saying the Shema prayer on the Temple Mount, challenging restrictions banning Jews from praying on Judaism's holiest site.

Despite the creeping restrictions and Muslim harassment, numbers of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount have been rising steadily. Activists believe the tightening restrictions are meant to stem the flow of Jews visiting, essentially imposing a de-facto ban to appease Muslim groups.