Arab riot on Temple Mount (file)
Arab riot on Temple Mount (file)Reuters

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Kotel (Western Wall) and Holy Sites, decried the Arab attempts to wreck the week-long Sukkot holiday by launching violent riots against police and Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, the rabbi argued that the Arab rioters are intentionally trying to prevent Jews from reaching the site on Sukkot, one of the three Jewish pilgrimage holidays that in ancient times required Jews to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem, a practice maintained by many.

"The Arab leadership's feigned ignorance in the face of these acts of violence by young rioters is shocking," said Rabbi Rabinowitz. "How can they deny the reality that the Temple Mount and the (Al-Aqsa) mosque has been turned into a terror base?"

Indeed, on Friday police prepared for riots by limiting access for Muslims over concerns that ongoing riots would be further inflamed, particularly after Hamas called for that violence the night before saying "we will fight till the last drop of blood."

"If someone harms the holiness of the site it's the rioters manipulating the sensitivity and holiness of the location to harm the gentle fabric in the Old City, throwing rocks and molotov cocktails from the mosque," emphasized the rabbi.

The Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) that holds de facto rule over the site has banned Jewish prayer at the site, while at the very least turning a blind eye to constant violent rioting. According to the rabbi, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not being treated as a holy site by the Waqf - rather it is a political trump card.

"We have never heard of a 'holy site' being a site of violence," said Rabbi Rabinowitz. "These activities demonstrate that the Temple Mount for them is a platform for a political struggle and not a religious matter."

The rabbi called on the Arab leadership to "gird courage and condemn the rioters, and distance them from the Temple Mount, and the world must condemn the acts of violence and not defend rioters when they use the holy site for violence."

Rabbi Rabinowitz called on Jews to visit Jerusalem during Sukkot: "that's the answer to the attempts of these hooligans trying to disrupt the traditions of the house of Israel."

Ahead of the first day of Sukkot on Wednesday, Muslim rioters hurled rocks and fireworks at police wounding at least four officers; in response, Jordan blamed the victim by condemning Israel for arresting nine attacking rioters during the chaos.

Shabak (Israel Security Agency) revealed in May that senior Hamas terrorist Mohammed Toameh had been captured and admitted in investigation that the group funds violent riots on the Temple Mount.

Toameh stated that Islamist groups in Israel launder Hamas cash and "donate" it to young Muslims to "study Islam" on the Temple Mount - in fact, they were earning between 4,000 and 5,000 shekels a month to throw rocks when Jews visit the site so as to block Jewish access.