Arabs instigated a confrontation with Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The incident began Wednesday after a group of over 40 Jewish visitors was allegedly provoked by Arab visitors and Wakf officials as they toured the Temple Mount. The Wakf, an “Islamic trust” overseeing the site, forbids members of any other faith except Islam from praying there.
In a video of the event shown by Israel National News, the group of Jews included men dressed in ultra-Orthodox garb alongside those with various kinds of knitted skullcaps, and some who wore no head covering at all. Arab men are seen screaming epithets, and hollering “Allahu Akbar” as the visitors pass.
In response, some of the Jewish men called out the first words of the “Shema Yisrael,” the Jewish declaration of faith in God, while others briefly sang a well-known tune asking God to rebuild the Temple. The group did not resist the police when the latter ushered them forcibly off the Mount.
The incident was not over for the group, however, as the authorities detained over 40 people at the Old City’s police station. Nati Rom of the Honenu organization, which helps Jews detained by the police for nationalist reasons, claimed the police responded improperly to what happened.
“Some people in the group reacted [to the Arabs] by calling out the Shema,” he explained. “As a result, the police began to use excessive violence against members of the group. It should be noted that there were rabbis, public figures and elderly people among them,” Rom added.
In response, the police put most of the blame on the Jewish visitors. They said that the Jews had violated the rules of the Temple Mount following provocation.
“The Israel Police operates in a complex balancing act while maintaining the law and the rules of the place and will not allow anyone to violate the law in any way,” said law enforcement officials.