Police in Jerusalem closed the Temple Mount on Sunday over reports that Jewish extremists had planned to riot on the holiday Tisha B'Av.
YNet News reports The Temple Mount was closed to Jewish and Arab visitors on Tisha B'Av, a holiday to mourn the destruction of the holy temple. Muslim worshippers are still being allowed into the site, they refer to as the Dome of the Rock, in order to pray during Ramadan.
The Jerusalem Post reports almost a hundred right-wing activists arrived at the entrance to the Temple Mount this morning only to be turned away. Instead they read from Eicha, the traditional text of Tisha B'Av, outside the entrance to the site.
National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tells the Jerusalem Post,“There were indications from Muslims and from Jewish worshippers that there would be a possibility of incidents taking place on Temple Mount, so after (a) security assessment (was) made (in the) early hours of this morning the decision was made by Jerusalem district police in order to prevent any incidents.”
Despite warnings on several Jewish websites warning about trouble, Yehuda Glick, chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, tells the Jerusalem Post, he's deeply disappointed with the decision to block access to the site, claiming that police had promised to keep it open for Tisha B'Av. "As far as we're concerned this is a slap in the face after we did everything in our power to work in coordination with the police and follow guidelines." "I am not aware of any attempt for provocation, I personally know all the Jews (involved) and no one had any intention of doing such a thing, especially on Tisha B'Av."
The Temple Mount has been a source of ongoing friction between Muslims and Jews, who both claim it as one of the holiest sites in Jerusalem.