(March 29, 2018 / JNS) Arabs in eastern Jerusalem will riot and hold demonstrations on Friday to mark a day they have dubbed “Land Day” and to protest a court-approved Passover offering ceremony next to the Western Wall plaza, the leader of the Al-Aqsa mosque announced.
The Jerusalem District Court was approached by a group of Jews who wanted to perform a biblically mandated ritual slaughtering of a paschal lamb and requested permission to do so at the Davidson Center complex, an Israeli-controlled visitor’s center and garden to the south of the Western Wall plaza beneath the Temple Mount. The event was attended by hundreds of people, including descendants of the Jewish priests who dressed in traditional garb and went through the motions of the ancient Jewish-offering ritual.
The event was also broadcast on giant screens.
The court approved the ceremony, which sparked outrage on the part of Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, imam of the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, who said the court’s decision “provokes the faithful,” and that his followers would not recognize it. He expressed ire that the Passover-offering ceremony occurred close to “Land Day,” an annual day of rage since 1976 commemorating Israel’s decision to appropriate lands in the Galilee, some of which Arabs claimed was theirs.
Arab clashes with law enforcement resulted in the death of six Arabs.
The Torah mandates the offering of a lamb on the eve of Passover, a ritual that is meant to take place on the same site on which Al-Aqsa currently sits. Part of the meat is then eaten on the first night of the holiday, together with matzah and bitter herbs.