Israel closes Temple Mount to Jews on Tisha B’Av

The Israeli government will not let Jews go up to the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s political echelon said on Sunday it would not allow Jews to go up to the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av, the memorial day marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E. respectively.

The decision was made following a police recommendation, which warned of the “high friction potential” given that Muslims are also at the site celebrating Eid al-Adha (or “Feast of the Sacrifice”) which begins Sunday and runs through Thursday. The police fear the presence of Jews will spark riots.

According to Ha’aretz, “Earlier, tens of thousands of Muslims arrived in the area on the occasion of the holiday, in order to make it more difficult for police to allow Jews to enter.”

There is little doubt that the Muslims intentionally wanted to prevent Jews from going to the Temple Mount. Ha’aretz reports that the Waqf Council on Friday requested that all other mosques in the Jerusalem area be closed except for the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in order to force Muslims who wanted to pray to go to the holy site in their masses.

The council also ruled that Muslim prayers be postponed from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. – the time when Jewish visits begin. The Waqf, which is responsible for Muslim holy places on the Temple site, also asked that worshipers stay in the area even after prayers finished, Ha’aretz said.

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is member of the United Right, an alliance of religious-Zionist parties,  condemned the decision. He tweeted on Sunday, “The closure of the Temple Mount for Jews on Tisha B’Av is a disgrace, the kind that reminds us of what we are fasting today.

“The decision to surrender to terrorism and Arab violence in the holiest place of the Jewish people is at the root of the loss of deterrence in other sectors as well. So is the closing of the Cave of the Patriarchs today because of their Eid.”

The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is the burial place of biblical patriarchs Abraham (forefather of Jews and Muslims), Isaac and Jacob and matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Leah.