The High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of the traditional Jerusalem Day Flag Parade marching through the Old City from the Damascus Gate to the Western Wall.
Celebrating Israelis traditionally sing and dance their way through the Muslim Quarter on their way to the ancient remnant of the Second Jewish Holy Temple, waving Israeli flags.
The court decision came in response to a petition by the leftist ‘Ir Amim’ non-governmental organization to bar the parade from marching through the Muslim Quarter.
The court also ruled, however, that the march will begin 15 minutes earlier than planned, and that all Jews must be out of the Muslim Quarter by 7:30 pm.
This measure is to help minimize as much as possible any friction between the Jewish and Muslim populations, because Sunday night is also the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
On this night, most – if not all – of the Old City’s Muslim population will likely head to the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount for the prayer service that will launch the holy month.
Together with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Israel’s new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the opening of all of the crossings between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as those between Israel and Gaza, for the duration of Ramadan.
The measures were taken so as to ease the movement of PA citizens who wish to visit family, travel abroad via Ben Gurion International Airport, receive visitors from abroad, or travel to Jerusalem to pray at the mosque on the Temple Mount.