During Hanukkah this year, there were 50 percent more Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem compared to last year. According to Temple Mount organization Yaraeh, more than 1,200 Jews visited the site. Last year, there were 800 Jewish visitors to the same area during the holiday.

Notable guests included rabbis and the heads of Jewish learning institutions, such as Rabbi Dov Lior, Otniel Yeshiva head Rabbi Ram HaCohen and Rabbi Eyal Yaakovovitz.

The rise in the number of visitors may be connected to the recent easing of restrictions on Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. According to visitors, police have allowed Jewish prayer in recent weeks. However, the Jordanian Waqf, which administers the site, still prohibits Jewish worship and any Jewish ritual paraphernalia.

The story of Hanukkah centers around the Jewish Temple in the second century BCE, when the outnumbered Maccabees defeated the heavily armed Greek forces and then rededicated the Temple with sacred oil that miraculously lasted for eight days.

The name of the holiday refers to the ceremonies that dedicated and sanctified the Temple.

According to Jordan’s official news agency, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry condemned the rise in Israeli visitors, referring to them as part of the “ongoing Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa mosque.”

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