Photo Credit: Maayan Berrebi/TPS
Jewish worshippers ascend to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on the eve of the Simchat Torah Jewish Holiday. Jerusalem, Sep 27, 2021.

A historic record was set on the Temple Mount on Thursday with 29,215 Jewish to the Temple Mount since the beginning of the year, the highest annual number yet. This largest number for one year since the liberation of the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War in 1967, and probably also since the destruction of the Temple.

The previous record was recorded in 2019, before the outbreak Corona pandemic, which was also a leap year and included another Jewish month. In 2019, 29,119 Jews visited the Temple Mount throughout the year.

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The Temple Mount Administration noted with satisfaction that the new record was set while we are still in the middle of the year. More than four months still remain for the year, including the two peak days of the year, Jerusalem Day and Tisha B’Av.

Assaf Fried, of the Temple Mount Administration, said the dramatic leap in visits to the Temple Mount is due to “the positive change that has taken place in the police service.”

“As more and more Jews become acquainted with the new situation on the Temple Mount, especially by word of mouth, they return home. What has not been expressed in the field in the two years of the corona, is suddenly gaining dramatic expression in the past year,” he said.

Fried also noted another record figure recorded this week on the Temple Mount. Data from the Yera’e Institute, which follows the Jews’ visits to the Temple Mount, show that since the Temple Mount was reopened after the Operation Guardian of the Walls in May a year ago, more than 40,000 Jews have ascended the Temple Mount within 12 months.

The Temple Mount Administration is now preparing for the thousands who will visit the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day. Assuming that the number of visitors jumps to new heights again, on the day that marks the 55th anniversary of the release of the Temple Mount.

These historic numbers were recorded despite the fact that Jews’ visits to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, are limited in time, space, as well as the number of visitors at any given time. While Jews’ rights to worship at the site have improved in recent years, much remains wanting, and the full freedom of worship has yet to be granted by the State of Israel to Jews visiting the Temple Mount.

While Muslims enter the holy site freely, Jews are screened by metal detectors, undergo security searches, and are banned from bringing Jewish religious objects to the site.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.