Temple Mount
Temple Mount Israel news photo: Flash 90

Three yeshiva students were strip-searched Tuesday when visiting the Temple Mount, Temple Mount activists have reported.

The students were reportedly pulled aside by a commander of the police unit for protection of holy sites. They were asked to remove clothing and their bodies were searched for an Israeli flag.

The officer who performed the search apologized to the three for the invasive search.

Many Israelis proudly wave flags on Tuesday, Independence Day. Police apparently were concerned that the sight of Israeli flags on the Temple Mount could offend Muslim sensibilities.

Muslims have frequently protested the fact that Jews are allowed to visit the Mount, and on occasion Muslim men have carried out physical attacks targeting Jewish visitors or police. 

Police have tried to reduce tensions at the holy site by restricting Jewish access at tense times and requiring Jews to avoid even the appearance of prayer. 

Eitan Kleiman, one of the three young men searched Tuesday, said he found the search humiliating – not personally, but as an Israeli. 

“The Temple Mount is the first place the national flag should wave,” he said. “On the sixty-fifth Independence Day, the time has come to correct the strange mistake made by Moshe Dayan, who capitulated on the Temple Mount and gave our holy Mount to our enemies.”