Temple Mount reopens to Jews as coronavirus restrictions ease

The number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount has grown significantly in the past few years.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

The Temple Mount welcomed back Jewish visitors on Sunday morning after being shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick and former Jewish Home MK Shulamit Mualem-Rafaeli took charge in leading some 150 Jews to visit Judaism’s holiest site as soon as the ban was lifted on Sunday morning.

“After 70 days during which the Temple Mount was closed to visiting and prayer, tomorrow it will open!” tweeted Mualem-Rafaeli Saturday.

“I invite you all with great excitement to join me tomorrow to go up in purity at 8:30 a.m. I have a strong longing for the holy place, to go up together with many people from all parts of Israeli society and especially to pray for recovery and peace for all.”

On Wednesday, the Jordanian Waqf announced the Temple Mount would be reopened on Sunday provided strict social-distancing regulations are adhered to.

Despite capturing the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third-holiest – from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, when the Jewish state was under attack by surrounding Arab countries, Israel gave the Jordanian Waqf administrative control of the site. As part of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty signed in 1994, Jordan was given official status as custodian of Muslim holy sites.

Part of the status quo allows Jews to visit the site in small numbers, but they are forbidden to pray there, a ban enforced by Waqf officials and Israeli security forces.

Despite the Waqf’s prohibition of non-Muslim prayer on the site, the number of Jews ascending the Mount has grown significantly in the past few years.