Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israeli police officers during clashes outside the Al Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem's Old City on April 17, 2022.

Hoping to avoid further attacks from Gaza, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai has banned Jewish visitors from Passsover ascents to the Temple Mount during the final 10 days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

On Friday, Shabtai urged licensed gun owners to carry their weapons, warning in the face of two deadly terror attacks carried out that same day, “The motivation to disturb the peace has risen in recent days, and is a result of unrelenting incitement.”


“Hamas claims that Al Aqsa is in danger, but in practice endangers Al Aqsa every time by inciting and activating several hundred young people,” Jerusalem district commander of Israel Police Doron Turgeman pointed out in a statement quoted by Israel’s Channel 12 News.

“We all saw the damage caused even before we entered the Temple Mount [last week],” he said. “Fireworks, breaking doors and cabinets, damage to the carpets, trapping quite a few non-involved worshipers and even damaging the pulpit in the mosque — so it is clear to all of us here that it is us who are guarding the mosque and freedom of worship.”

Nevertheless, Jews are to be banned from the site beginning on the seventh and final day of Passover — this coming Wednesday — and through the entire final 10 days of Ramadan.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir strongly opposed the ban, contending that it is a surrender to terrorism, and may even endanger worshipers at the Western Wall, which is exposed to extremist Islamists on the Temple Mount who have thrown rocks at praying Jews in the past.

It has also been decided not to allow Muslim worshipers from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria to enter the Al Aqsa Mosque on the site.

“We are preparing for significant prayers,” noted the Jerusalem district police commander. The traditional Jewish Blessing of the Priests, which takes place during each of the three major Jewish festivals in the Hebrew calendar, is to be held this week at the Western Wall.

“There are calls for disturbances and violence on the Temple Mount. After having succeeded in creating violence and harming worshipers in the mosque on the night before the start of Passover, Hamas … is increasing its efforts by threatening the traditional Blessing of the Priests at the Western Wall by claiming Jews are going to storm the site,” Turgeman noted.

Since noon on Saturday, several Palestinian Authority media outlets were encouraging “the masses” to gather at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and stay there overnight ahead of the planned Passover visit of Jewish worshipers to the Temple Mount on Sunday, according to the Abu Ali Express website.

In response to the escalation in terrorist attacks — following particularly vicious attacks Friday — Israeli Border Police and IDF reservists have been called up to bolster Israel Police forces in the center of the country.

Two British-Israeli sisters were murdered and their mother critically injured in a terrorist shooting attack at the Hamra junction in the Jordan Valley during the day. An Italian tourist was murdered and seven other tourists were injured, including three with serious injuries, in a terrorist ramming attack Friday night on the Tel Aviv promenade.

The Jordan Valley gunman and his accomplices are still at large; the killer in the Tel Aviv promenade attack was neutralized at the scene.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.