Jews Tried to Enter Temple Mount - as Muslims

Police questioning the pair who tried to enter Judaism's holiest site dressed as Muslim worshippers.

Ari Soffer ,

Temple Mount
Temple Mount
Flash 90

Two Jewish youths were taken in for questioning by Jerusalem police after attempting to enter the Temple Mount dressed as Muslim worshippers.

According to initial reports the pair are "secular Jews" who were touring Jerusalem together and wanted to include the Temple Mount on their trip; it is not clear why they chose to disguise themselves.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, where the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem were situated before their destruction (the latter in 70 CE). According to some Jewish traditions it is also the place where the creation of the world began.

Yet despite its centrality to Judaism, Jews - along with other non-Muslims - are forbidden to pray or practice any other religious rituals on the site, in what Jewish Temple Mount groups have condemned as police capitulation to Islamist threats.

Jewish visitors in particular are subject to strict restrictions, and are closely monitored by both police and members of the Waqf Islamic trust, which administers the Al Aqsa Islamic complex built atop the ruins of the Jewish Temples. Those suspected of uttering prayers or performing other rituals are often arrested.

Despite the restrictions, Muslim extremists regularly harass Jews who ascend the Mount.

Just last week disturbing footage was posted online showing throngs of Muslim worshippers attempting to attack a group of hareidi Jewish visitors. The group - which included several young children - were quickly ushered away by police.

Security arrangements on the Temple Mount have been under close scrutiny recently, after Islamist youths coordinated riots on the holy site throughout the Jewish holiday of Pesach, as part of an effort to prevent Jews from visiting during the seven-day festival.