MK Uri Ariel (National Union): “The job of the police is to protect the citizens, not to cave in to Arab rioters’ threats.”

In light of security assessments in Jerusalem and the rioting of the past few days there, police have canceled the monthly Temple Mount Gates march, scheduled for this Monday night. Last month’s event, called Sivuv She’arim (Circling the Gates), was held with the participation of 4,000 people who wished to show their solidarity with the Holy Temple in this manner.

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute bemoaned the cancellation and what it signifies. His remarks are brought below.

Police are concerned that the dedication events of this week for the newly-rebuilt Hurva Synagogue in the Old City will spark Arab violence. The centuries-old Hurva was bombed and destroyed by the Jordanians in the 1948 War of Independence; refurbishing work has been ongoing for several years, and was completed this month.

The Circling the Gates event has been held every month for nine years, except for the times when the police do not allow it, which occurs about once or twice a year. The dancers and singers, separate groups for men and women, make their way through the Old City of Jerusalem, stopping to pray at each of the Temple Mount gates. 

“This event gives expression to the Nation of Israel’s deep bonds with the Temple Mount,” the organizers say, “and to our anticipation and longing for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.”               

One would-be participant told Arutz-7, “I feel sorrow and shame that on Rosh Chodesh Nissan [the beginning of the month of Nissan], the day on which the Tabernacle was built and New Year’s Day for the Temple, we won’t be able to walk around the Mount.”

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said, “The job of the police is to protect the citizens, not to cave in to Arab rioters’ threats.”  

“The Temple Mount is the rock of our national existence,” MK Ariel continued, “and the longing to return to it is shared by every Jew. The Gates Circling event directs this longing to practical channels, and therefore I regret that instead of doing everything possible to enable this important event, the police prefer to cancel it.” 

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem bemoaned the national weakness indicated by the canceling of the event. He wrote that this Tuesday, March 16, is what Temple Mount supporters have dubbed the first annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day. The reason? “Because the situation vis a vis the rights of all non-Moslems at the Temple Mount has deteriorated beyond what any healthy society can tolerate—especially one that prides itself in guaranteeing the religious freedoms of all its citizens. There are indications that a total disengagement of Jews from the Temple Mount, psychologically and physically, is in preparation.”

“This day was intended as an opportunity to educate and remind the Jewish people as to why the Temple Mount is important,” Rabbi Richman writes. “Thus, one aspect of activities planned for this day was a visit in accordance with Jewish law to the permitted areas of the Temple Mount… For the majority of Jews, the road to the Temple Mount ends at the Western Wall. And spiritual-seeking Gentiles as well, arriving at the Temple Mount, are shocked, offended and incredulous to learn that before ascending the Mount, they are searched not just for weapons, but for a Bible. They are even more outraged to be told that no non-Moslem prayer may be uttered at the very site which is synonymous for them with G-d’s promised blessings for all mankind…"

"However, it has now been announced that Jerusalem District Police have closed the Temple Mount to visitors for the next three days due to fears of Moslem riots… How ironic that in the very place which the prophets of Israel tell us is the secret of world peace, the very place which is to be the ‘house of prayer for all nations,’ care must be taken to ensure that there be no religious freedoms - lest Muslim sensitivities are offended…”