Police bar Jews from Tisha B’Av visits to Temple Mount, fearing disturbances

Activist says it’s ‘shameful’ Jews can’t ascend to site where Temples once stood

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Israel Police closed the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers on Sunday morning, the fast of Tisha B’Av, and prevented a group of Jewish activists from entering the site.

Activists who had planned on mourning at the site of the destroyed Temples called the move “shameful.”

The decision was made in light of information that some activists planned to stage disturbances on the Temple Mount, Israel Radio reported.

The move came as a surprise, after district Police Commander Moshe Bareket had earlier said Jews would be allowed to enter the compound and that his forces were prepared to separate Jews and Muslims.

A group of religious Jews, including right-wing activist Noam Federman, arrived at the entrance to the Temple Mount Sunday morning, and were stopped by policemen who told them the site was closed.

Federman told reporters it was “shameful that while Jews are marking the day of the destruction of the Temples, only Jews are prohibited from ascending to the place where the Temple stood.”

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said it was time for the “racist policy” of the police to stop. He blamed Minister of Interior Security Yitzhak Aharonovich for permitting discrimination against Jews.

Thousands of people gathered at the Western Wall to read traditional prayers and the Book of Lamentations on Saturday night. The ninth day of the Jewish Calendar’s month of Av is a fast day, commemorating the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem.

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