Ultranationalist Jerusalem Old City march tomorrow to urge expelling Muslim Waqf from Temple Mount

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

A poster for the ‘March of the Maccabees’ by ultranationalists and Temple Mount groups, published on December 6, 2023, planned to be held the next day. (Sons of Mount Moriah)

Two right-wing ultranationalist organizations, together with numerous Temple Mount activist groups, are set to hold a march through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem tomorrow night to call for the reestablishment of “Jewish control” over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

The event, coinciding with start of the Hanukkah festival and titled “March of the Maccabees,” will proceed through the Damascus Gate and into the Muslim Quarter. It will then pass by the offices of the Jordanian Waqf which runs the Temple Mount, and will finish by the ramp to the Mughrabi Gate which is the entrance to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims, located just outside the plaza of the Western Wall, the holiest site at which Jews are currently allowed to pray.

The goals of the march, as stated on a social media flier for the event, are to honor the memories of the IDF soldiers who have fallen in combat against the Hamas terror group in the current war, “eject the Waqf from the Temple Mount,” and “restore full Jewish control in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.”

The organization behind the march is called “Sons of Mount Moriah,” a radical new Temple Mount group run by an individual by the name of David Ben Moriah.

The X account for Sons of Mount Moriah expresses praise for the late Jewish supremacist rabbi Meir Kahane and has numerous images of the Temple replacing the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, as well as images of some form of aerial strikes raining down on the Muslim shrines currently situated in the holy site.

Another participating organization is the Kahanist “The Jewish Truth” movement, whose chairman Baruch Marzel was formerly the faction secretary of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Jewish supremacist Kach party and the founder of the ultranationalist Otzma Yehudit party. The movement advocates for the removal of Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount, the rebuilding of the Temple there, and the forced transfer of anyone who voted for the Arab political parties in the Knesset.

The police gave approval for the march to go ahead, but have restricted it to 200 participants and also refused a request by the organizers to go up to the Temple Mount itself.

Former Jerusalem police Chief Yair Yitzhaki has told Army Radio he cannot understand why police approved the march, arguing that the route through the Muslim Quarter is “an attempt to anger and inflame the area.”

AP contributed to this report.

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