“We will not let extremists and fanatics ignite Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday night, as it appeared the capital might indeed go up in smoke.
Although the prime minister was referring to a march that began Thursday evening by right-wing protesters near the Old City with the intent to end its journey in prayer on the Temple Mount, his words undoubtedly also referred to the endless stream of rocks thrown and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) and fireworks shot at police officers and civilians by raging Arabs across the nation’s capital.
Close to a hundred Arab rioters hurled rocks and shot fireworks at Border Patrol police officers Thursday night in the northern neighborhood of Shuafat.
Israeli police used riot control equipment in an attempt to defuse the violence.
As Arab violence continued there and in eastern sections of the city, right-wing protesters started their own demonstration close to the Old City.
The group began a march early Thursday evening at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. The site hosted a conference last week after which the guest speaker, Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehudah Glick, was shot.
The protesters marched from the Begin Center towards the entrance to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. Since 1967 the Mount has been controlled by the Islamic Waqf Authority under the watchful eyes of the Jordanian government, with the agreement of the State of Israel.
There has been a massive increase in Arab violence stemming from the site over the past few months. Clerics often incite their followers to attack Israelis and Jews during their sermons at the Al Aqsa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount, each Friday.
Violence on the Temple Mount yesterday (Wednesday, Nov. 5) prompted the second closure at the holy site in less than a week.
Recent attacks had finally led Israel’s government to close the site last weekend to everyone for the first time since 1967, enraging both Muslims and Jews alike.
The site was again closed to everyone on Wednesday after Muslims there attacked a Knesset member touring the area, having rioted and attacked visitors daily for weeks, usually from the moment the site opened in the morning hours. Also on Wednesday, a Hamas terrorist murdered a Border Patrol police captain and wounded 13 others in a horrific attack in two locations along the Light Rail line in a northern part of the city.
Despite the provocations and rising violence that prompted the closure however, the government of Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel for “consultations” to protest Israel’s actions, rather than those of the Arab attackers.
Thus the pressure cooker has now begun to spill over to the Jewish side of the city’s population, with right wing activists matching verbal provocations against their Arab counterparts.
“The mosque will burn and the Temple will be rebuilt,” protesters chanted Thursday night as they marched from the Begin Center towards the holy Temple Mount in the Old City. The marchers said they would hold a mass prayer near the Temple Mount for Glick’s speedy recovery.
Glick is being maintained in an artificially-induced medical coma at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center due to the gravity of his condition following the assassination attempt on his life by the Islamic Jihad terrorist.