Jews return to Temple Mount without Muslim escorts

Jewish groups have resumed their visits to the Temple Mount, only this time without being stalked by a Muslim escort.

Jews were allowed to resume their visits to the Temple Mount compound on Monday for the first time since three terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on Friday morning.

Several Jews toured the Mount without escorts from the Waqf, Jordan’s Islamic Trust, which manages religious affairs at the site. The Waqf usually accompanies the visits and often harasses the Jewish visitors, making sure that no prayers are uttered.

The Waqf was not present on Monday because they were boycotting the Temple Mount, refusing to adhere to new security procedures introduced by the Israeli police following the attack, including metal detectors. They called on other Muslim worshippers to follow suit, but hundreds nevertheless prayed at the holy site.

Some media reports said that Jews prayed also during their visit, in contradiction to the Waqf’s demands that non-Islamic prayer at the site be banned.

Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, questioned whether the group was accompanied by the Waqf, told World Israel News they were escorted by Israeli police. Asked if it was true that they also prayed, he replied, “Of course they didn’t. Absolutely not.”

Jerusalem Police Commissioner Yoram Halevy said the metal detectors were a vital security procedure for the reopening of the site.

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“I assume that with time they [the Muslim leadership] will understand that this is not so terrible,” he told IDF Radio on Monday. Security measures of this kind are commonplace in other sites around the world, he said.

“On Friday, when I have time and go shopping, I pass through a detector at the Malha Mall [in Jerusalem],” Halevy added. “There is no need to be frightened by them, they have become a part of our lives.”

Removing the metal detectors would force the site to be completely shut down, and Israel wishes to refrain from that, he explained.

By: World Israel News Staff