Arabs riot on Temple Mount to protest Jews ascending to celebrate Jerusalem Day

After police dispersed the demonstrators, hundreds of Jews ascended the Mount.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount Sunday morning in reaction to permission being given for Jewish visitors to enter on Jerusalem Day, which happens to fall during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Kan Israel News reported.

A police spokesperson said that as a result of the disturbances, “the commander of the Jerusalem District Major Gen. Doron Yedid ordered police to enter the Temple Mount and deal with the rioters.”

Young Muslim men threw rocks and other objects. Tear gas was shot at them in response. In one video of the scene, women are heard screaming “Allahu Akhbar” (God is great), apparently at the security forces.

Only after the rioting was quelled, with one arrest reportedly being made, were the Jewish visitors allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, the report said.

Hundreds of Jews had gathered in the early morning hours to come to the Judaism’s holiest site in celebration of the 52nd anniversary of the liberation of the city during the Six Day War.

Jerusalem Day, as it’s known, coincides every so often with the end of the Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan, when the Temple Mount is usually closed to non-Muslims due to the crush of Arab worshipers at the site and the fear by Israeli authorities that the Muslims will turn to violence, as happened today.

Indeed, Israeli police at first had said that they would not allow Jewish visitors to mark the day on the Mount “for reasons of public safety and public order.”

It would have marked the first time since 1988 that Jerusalem Day would not have been celebrated  on the Temple Mount. However, Jewish activists appealed to both the Supreme Court and the Likud politicians to allow their ascent.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal and left it up to the security forces to assess the situation. The police decided to rescind their earlier ban.

Jerusalem Day is celebrated especially by young national-religious Jews who parade in the afternoon with Israeli flags, sing and dance through the streets of the city, ending their march at the Western Wall.

Many walk specifically through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City to make a point about Israel’s sovereignty. Clashes have ensued in the past in that area between the marchers and Arab residents, with both sides claiming that the other instigated the violence.