Israel Police have announced that the Temple Mount will be closed to Jews this coming Sunday, the eve of Rosh Hashana.
Temple Mount activists condemned the decision, which they called another “surrender to the terrorists.”
A police notice tacked on the door to the Temple Mount Thursday morning said: “As is done each year, the Temple Mount will be closed to visitors on Rosh Hashana HaHajira, the Al-Hijra (1Muharram) New Year’s Day.
Al-Hijra, marks the Hegira in 622 CE, when the prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, moved from Mecca to Medina and established the first Islamic state, marking the beginning of Islam as a monotheistic community.
It is celebrated as the Islamic New Year, but doesn’t rate as high as the two major religious festivals on the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. According to the BBC, there are no specific religious rituals required on this day.
Nevertheless, this coming Sunday evening also marks the start of the Jewish new year and is the second holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, surpassed only by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, 10 days later.
Jews consider this a time of sanctification, rededication and renewal. For the Israeli government to decide to close the holiest site in all Judaism to Jews on this day, in deference to Muslim sensitivities, is a grave move indeed.
It is important to note, however, that the Temple Mount will be open to allow Jews to visit during the Rosh Hashana holiday itself, during regular visiting hours.
Israeli Knesset members and government ministers are not allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount at any time whatsoever, under a directive of the prime minister.Hana Levi Julian