Temple Mount
Temple Mount Flash 90

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, and Rishon LeTzion and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef released a joint statement following clashes near the Temple Mount Friday, calling on Islamic leaders and leaders of other faiths to work together to stop Arab rioting. 

In their statement, both noted that it is the responsibility of religious leaders to create an atmosphere that will forestall conflict and friction over the holy places. 

"We expect our friends, our partners in the council of religious leaders in Israel, to condemn all those who desecrate the holy places and bring into them weapons of various kinds, and to prevent such phenomena," the Chief Rabbis stated. "Israel allows freedom of worship for all faiths and respects their leaders."

"The holy places are for prayer alone," they warned. "In these days, of the start of the Jewish year, we pray for a year of peace and coexistence for everyone in the world."

"May it be a year of tolerance and moderation and may the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore' be realized." 

Earlier Friday, a band of Muslim rioters attacked Israel Police at the Old City's Damascus Gate. Police were ready for the assault, as some 5,000 officers had been deployed Friday morning in anticipation of escalation on the Mount. 

Violence has been going on at the Temple Mount complex since before Rosh Hashanah, when masked Muslim rioters hurled rocks and fireworks at police on the Temple Mount on Sunday, as well as firebombs near two entrances to the site.

The clashes continued after the holiday as well, as once again masked Muslim youths gathered around the mosque and threw rocks and other projectiles at police who were forced to enter the compound in large numbers and respond with stun grenades.