Israeli police went on high alert in and around the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount Saturday night ahead of the marking of Tisha B’Av — the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, when the Jewish people remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem — after a video of a Jewish woman insulting the Prophet Muhammad went viral over the weekend.
A large number of Jewish worshipers are expected in the Old City for Sunday morning prayers to mark the day. Police fear clashes could break out following tensions surrounding a video filmed Thursday in which a Jewish woman leaving the Temple Mount compound after a visit is seen calling the Muslim prophet a “pig.”
The clip went viral among Palestinians on social media and the furious responses led to some minor clashes with Israeli police officers following Friday prayers on the Temple Mount.
Muslim worshipers can be seen in a separate video chanting “with spirit, with blood, we’ll redeem you, messenger of God!”
The incident Thursday began when a Jewish group visiting the Temple Mount were being escorted out of the site into the alleys of the Old City. They were heckled by the Murabitun — self-proclaimed guardians of the holy site, who are funded by the Islamic Movement.
A woman from the Jewish group decided to respond, looking into the camera of a person assumed to be a member of the organization, and saying in Hebrew: “Muhammad is a pig.”
The statement enraged the Muslim women in the organization, who then shouted insults and threats of violence at the Jewish woman. Border Police officers escorting the Jewish group had to physically place themselves between the two groups to prevent violence.
The clip of the incident was uploaded to Facebook where it spread quickly.
Jewish visitors are allowed on the Temple Mount but are forbidden to pray there.
On Friday, police arrested the Jewish woman who made the offensive statement. According to Channel 2, she lives in a settlement in the West Bank. She was released shortly before the start of the Jewish Sabbath and forbidden to go to the Temple Mount for an undisclosed period of time.
Police fear the episode could lead to renewed clashes in the Old City on Sunday, Channel 2 said Saturday night. More than 2,000 police officers and Border Police forces will be deployed in and around the area in an effort to maintain order.