The Jerusalem Police closed the Temple Mount to Jewish and Christian visitors Tuesday in an effort to prevent clashes between different religious groups.
The closure order came on Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning that marks the destruction of the Jewish temples that stood on the site, which this year falls during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslims pray at the Dome of the Rock on the site.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin attempted to enter the compound Tuesday morning, together with MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home), but police prevented them from doing so.
“Security assessments were made this morning, and the decision was made by the Israel Police to close the Temple Mount to all visitors, in order to prevent disturbances,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Times of Israel Tuesday morning.
Thousands of Jews visited the Western Wall Tuesday in the plaza below the Temple Mount, and Muslims made a pilgrimage to the Dome of the Rock at the top of the mount.
Asked if Elkin and Moalem-Refaeli didn’t enjoy parliamentary immunity to the police decision, Rosenfeld said, “No visits whatsoever are allowed to the Temple Mount.”