Six Arab protesters were allegedly arrested Tuesday on the Temple Mount in an unusual move in the Old City of Jerusalem after they harassed Jews by chanting slogans at those who were touring the site.
Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press at midday that all six male youths who were involved in the incident were taken into custody by officers from the David District “for attempting to disturb visits taking place.” He added that “visits on the Temple Mount are continuing regularly.” No entry restrictions were deemed necessary, he said.
Generally police respond to such incitement by removing all tourists and closing the site to all visitors except Muslim women of all ages, and Muslim men with Israeli identity cards, age 50 and up. Jews are also arrested for even moving their lips when touring the Temple Mount, in fear they may be “praying” on the site.
Earlier this week two Knesset members announced they plan to propose a bill that for the first time would allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, using religious items such as a tallit (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries) and a siddur (prayer book). The lawmakers did not tell Ynet, which published the report,when the draft of the controversial measure would be brought to the floor for a vote.
At present the Muslim Waqf Authority controls the Temple Mount site in tandem with the Jordanian government, under an agreement with the State of Israel. The site is located at the heart of the conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Israel; the PA insists that Israel hand over the Old City and a significant part of its capital city, Jerusalem, so it can create a new Arab country within Israel’s borders, using the Jerusalem piece as the capital for its new state, “Palestine.” Israel is expected to hand over all of its own Jewish holy places as part of that deal.
The Temple Mount, site of the “holy of holies” located within the two ancient Holy Temples in the Jewish faith, is the most sacred place on earth in the Jewish religion.
It is the third holiest site in Islam, and the place on which two mosques are built – the smaller Dome of the Rock, and the large Al Aqsa Mosque, wherein on most Fridays an imam delivers a fiery anti-Israel sermon urging followers to destroy the Jewish State.
Arab governments around the world use the site as an incitement tool with which to inflame passions and rally local Arabs against the state.