The Israel police opened the Temple Mount to Jews on Tisha B’Av, reversing an earlier decision and following clashes with Muslim rioters.
By World Israel News Staff
In a whirlwind of fast-moving events, Israel reversed its decision and allowed Jews up to the Temple Mount on Sunday in order to honor the holiday of Tisha B’Av, which memorializes the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
Earlier in the morning, at around 9:30 a.m., Israeli authorities announced that Jews would not be allowed to go up to pray at the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism. The decision was made to avoid clashes with Muslims, who were present at the site in their tens of thousands to celebrate their own holiday of Eid al-Adha (or “Feast of the Sacrifice”).
Muslims rioted anyway, and Israeli police and border guards who were ready at the site in case of trouble, quickly moved to dispel the rioters and clear the area.
According to the Arutz7 news site, police opened the gates of the Temple Mount to Jews following the clashes.
The initial decision to prevent Jews from going up to the Temple Mount was met with criticism from right-wing parties in Israel.
Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, head of the United Right, said, “Netanyahu’s decision to close the Temple Mount is a national disgrace. The Mount is the most sacred place for the Jewish people. We call on the Prime Minister: Change your decision.”
Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, also of the United Right said, “The closure of the Temple Mount for Jews on Tisha B’Av is a disgrace, the kind that reminds us of why 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.”
Itamar Ben Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit party, said, “Surrender and capitulation on the Temple Mount only gives wind to the back of terror… The role of the Minister of Public Security is to give instructions to the police and not vice versa. It is precisely on the day that the people of Israel mark the destruction that the government surrenders on the Temple Mount.”
Ben-Gvir referred to reports that the Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week. At that meeting, it was decided that the decision whether to allow Jews up to the Temple Mount would be based on police assessments of the situation.