Once again, rioting Arabs on Sunday (July 5) succeeded in keeping visitors off the Temple Mount. Thousands of Palestinian Authority Arabs have been allowed into the site for prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, now entering its fourth and final week.
But the obviously planned violence by Arabs whipped up during a sermon at the mosque on the site, who hurled rocks at police forces near the Mughrabi (Rambam) Bridge, made it unsafe for security to allow anyone to ascend to the Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.
This means that the thousands of Jews and other local and foreign visitors, many of whom arrive from overseas, cannot ascend the Mount.
Police officials said they would delay the opening of the site to visitors until security personnel had brought rioters under control. It is also possible that such a delay will mean the opening may be delayed beyond the hours in which the site can be accessed at all, at least for this day, due to the prayer schedule taking place at the mosque.
Launching violent riots is one of the preferred methods for Arab agitators to keep Jews and other non-Muslims from accessing the Temple Mount, site of the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock; it is also considered the third holiest site in Islam.
Today is a fast day for Jews around the world, as it signals the start of the three-week period in history that led to the final destruction of the Holy Temples and the burning and conquest of Jerusalem – first by the Babylonians, and then by the Romans. This period culminates in the darkest fast day on the Jewish calendar: Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av.