(JNS.org) Hundreds of Jews who attempted to visit the Temple Mount on Sunday and Monday were rushed by authorities, forced to wait for hours, and denied entry, a student activist group said.
A larger influx of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount is common during Passover, as well as the High Holidays, which often results in increased Arab violence and harassment. According to a spokesperson for the Hebrew University-based Students for the Temple Mount, a group that advocates for greater access to Jewish prayer at the site, police were not equipped enough to protect Jewish visitors.
“We expected the police to do their job and let groups of Jews in on Sunday and Monday, but basically all the Jews with a kippa or tzit tzit were put aside at the bottom of the bridge and told to wait while Christians and other visitors were allowed directly in,” said Tom Nisani, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Jews waited up to two hours in the sun and the police would not allow more than one small group up there at a time because they claimed they could not protect us on the Temple Mount because of Arab violence,” he said.
Although Israel gained eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War, the Temple Mount is being administered by the Islamic Waqf, a Muslim trust overseen by Jordan that limits non-Muslim visitation and bans Jewish prayer. Israel, however, provides security at the site. In recent months, an increase in Jewish visitation has been led by activist groups calling for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount.