update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Temple Mount closed to Jews for remainder of Ramadan

The ban is expected to be lifted on April 14, the first Sunday after Eid al-Fitr.

Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, March 30, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, March 30, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City will remain shuttered for non-Muslim visitors until after Ramadan, the Israel Police has informed Jewish rights activists.

Jews and other non-Muslims have been banned from ascending the Temple Mount since Friday, marking the third year in a row that access to Judaism’s holiest site has been limited over security concerns during the Islamic holy month.

The government-backed ban is expected to be lifted on April 14, the first Sunday after Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, Israel’s Srugim online news outlet reported. That would amount to a 16-day closure.

Last year, the Temple Mount was shuttered to Jewish worshippers for 12 days during Ramadan; in 2022, the closure lasted 13 days.

Tom Nisani, the executive director of Beyadenu—Returning to the Temple Mount, noted in comments to Srugim that “there is not a single day of the year when the Temple Mount is closed to Arabs.”

“Instead of enforcing the security of those [Jews] who ascend, the Israel Police, the prime minister and the responsible minister [National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir] fold in the face of threats,” he added.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have worshipped largely without incident atop the Temple Mount during Ramadan, despite Hamas’s calls for violence amid Israel’s six-month-old war against the terrorist group.

Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque have been attended each week by tens of thousands of Muslims, including those without Israeli ID cards, highlighting anew the freedom of worship Israel upholds in the city.

Ahead of Ramadan, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas’s “political bureau,” urged the Iran-led “Axis of Resistance” to step up attacks on Israel during the holy month, calling on Muslims to join a “broad and international movement to break the siege on al-Aqsa mosque.”

The “Axis of Resistance” includes Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Houthis and other Iran-backed terrorist groups in the region.

In his speech, the terrorist leader also called on Palestinians in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to storm the Temple Mount on the first day of Ramadan.

Haniyeh’s comments came a day after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned that Palestinian terrorist groups are plotting to step up violent attacks on the Jewish state during Ramadan.

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