Police are stepping up efforts to keep Israelis and tourists safe over the upcoming Jewish holidays, including making sure there is someone armed in every synagogue in Jerusalem, a top police official says.
Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman indicates forces are focusing on the tinderbox Temple Mount, which normally sees a large uptick in Jewish visitors over holidays, ratcheting up tensions.
“There will be dynamic public access to allow Muslims and Jews to ascend the Temple Mount without harming each other,” he tells a press briefing.
The issue is of particular significance this year with a governing coalition in power that includes politicians openly campaigning for increased Jewish access to the holy site, a stance liable to enflame Muslim anger.
Eight people were removed from the site yesterday alone and 110 individuals are “being dealt with” as part of preventative measures to reduce friction ahead of the holiday period, Turgeman adds.
“There’s been an increase in warnings and actionable threats — of all types — during the Selihot [pre- and inter-holiday] period, during weekdays and holidays,” he says, according to Ynet.
In a statement copied and pasted from a year earlier, police say their efforts will focus in particular on mass events in Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall, including the priestly blessings throughout the week of Sukkot and the large crowds expected for Simhat Torah.