Jews barred from Temple Mount until end of Ramadan

Israel Police notes that the ban occurs annually, while Jewish activists call it a ‘surrender to terrorism’

Muslims pray on the Temple Mount at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, July 28, 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)
Muslims pray on the Temple Mount at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, July 28, 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Israel Police on Tuesday shut the Temple Mount site in Jerusalem to Jewish visitors until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on July 17.

Jewish activists who arrived at the compound on Tuesday morning were greeted by a notice saying that the site would be out of bounds during the last 10 days of Ramadan, Israel Radio reported. The activists called the closure a “surrender to terrorism.”

Police officials said the closure of the compound above the Western Wall — Judaism’s holiest site — is not unusual, and is carried out every year during the final days of Ramadan.

Last month, the IDF announced it would allow West Bank Palestinian buses to bring worshipers to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Mount, a gesture of goodwill after years when access to the area was restricted.

Holy to both Jews and Muslims, the site is managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf – as it has for centuries – and Jews are not allowed to pray there. The area has long been a key point of dispute in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with both sides claiming sovereignty over it.

Yehudah Glick, a rabbi who has lobbied extensively for the right of Jews to visit the site, was shot and critically wounded in October last year not far from the walls of the Old City, at the end of a conference dedicated to Jewish rights at the site.

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