Photo Credit: Jamal Awad/Flash90
Israeli security personnel stand guard while Jews visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, June 8, 2023.

Some 1,500 Israeli Jews ascended the Temple Mount on the occasion of Jerusalem Day on Wednesday, an increase of 26% compared to last year, the Temple Mount Administration NGO announced.

In 2023, the national holiday saw 1,146 Jews visit the Mount in the capital’s Old City, less than a week after Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group finalized a truce agreement following four days of rocket attacks.


This year—amid the ongoing war with Hamas, which was triggered by the terrorist organization’s Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel—Jerusalem Day saw 1,445 people ascend over the course of five and a half hours.

As of the afternoon, many people stood in line, hoping to tour Judaism’s holiest site, but it soon closed to Jews for the day.

Israeli security forces detained several Jews at the exit from the Temple Mount on charges of bowing or prostrating, which authorities say could inflame tensions with Muslim worshippers, HaKol HaYehudi reported.

Israeli rights activist Michael Puah told the news site that he was able to wear tefillin (phylacteries), in defiance of the 1967 status quo arrangement with Jordan that bans Jewish prayer at the site.

“We even said the Hallel [holiday prayers] out loud; a policeman asked us to do it more quietly and didn’t say anything about the tefillin,” he said.

Yitzhak Wasserlauf, Israel’s minister for the development of the periphery, the Negev and the Galilee, and lawmaker Yitzhak Kroizer, both members of the Otzma Yehudit Party, also ascended the Mount.

Jordan’s foreign ministry condemned the visit. The ministry denounced the duo’s religious pilgrimage as a “blatant and unacceptable violation of international law.”

Earlier this week, National Security Minister and Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir called on all Israelis to come to the capital as a way to “say the Temple Mount is ours and Jerusalem is ours.

“If we see ourselves as the sovereign of the area, our enemies will respect us,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement ahead of Jerusalem Day.

This year’s Jerusalem Day marks the 57th anniversary of the liberation of the Temple Mount, Western Wall, and eastern side of the city, as well as the historic Judea and Samaria regions to the south and north of the city.

The Jewish state entered into an agreement with Amman’s Waqf Islamic trust after the Six-Day War, in which Israel would maintain security control of the Temple Mount while the Waqf would retain religious control.

The Islamic body subsequently forbade Jews from engaging in any kind of prayer there, including moving their lips, bowing and prostrating.

The Israeli government enforces a ban on non-Muslim prayer on the site. Jews who perform any of these forbidden acts are typically removed by the police.

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