This past Tuesday night (July 30, 2013), Police Commander Avi Bitton (who is in charge of the holy sites) announced that the Temple Mount will stay closed to Jews and to tourists at least till after Eid al-Fitr (Muslim Feast of Breaking the Fast), which is next Sunday, 5 Elul 5774 / August 11, 2013. The only "explanation" offered was a bland sign which simply read "Today the Temple Mount will be closed to visitors." Those restrictions did not, however, apply to Muslim visitors, who continue to receive unrestricted access.
This is breaking the rules. Even if they really will open it to non-Muslims (which now no longer is for sure) this current Ramadan, a dangerous precedent was set — most of the past month the Temple mount was closed or almost closed to non-Muslims. Since the beginning of Ramadan, Muslims have upped their campaign to prevent Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount — let alone praying there.
Wednesday's decision to close the Mount for such a prolonged period of time is "unprecedented," according to Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute. "This sets a new and dangerous precedent," warned Rabbi Richman.
"Over the past few weeks there have been several attacks by Muslim extremists on the Temple Mount, and the police have aided and abetted them by standing by and allowing our rights to be violated. Even the Deputy Foreign Minister was not granted the right to freedom of worship."
Rabbi Richman accused the government of having "surrendered sovereignty over the Temple Mount."
"By granting the Jordanian-run Waqf free reign on the site, even aquiessing to their demands to ban Jews from ascending, the State of Israel has effectively abandoned the Temple Mount altogether.
Now the End Begins
Even in the few days that Jews were allowed to go up it was done with constant abuse by the Muslims and also abuse by the police. Two weeks ago Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel Ze'ev Elkin was chased away from the Temple Mount by a crowd of Muslims. The police did not do anything to prevent the screaming and harassment and threats by the Muslims against Elkin and his family.
Michael Fua, of the Jewish Leadership faction of the Israeli Likud Party, was at the Mount.
"Today, on the eve of Tisha B'Av, the Israel Police failed do discharge its duties again," Fua accused. "Hundreds of Jews who came to the Mount from all parts of the Land of Israel, were kept waiting for a long time at the entrance to the Mount, at the only gate where Jews are allowed to pass, while hundreds of Muslims entered from the other gates without any check or delay.
"As the third group that the police allowed inside entered the Mount, many Muslims began to gather and shout. As usual, instead of preventing the rioters from ascending to the Mount and grouping together, the police quickly informed the Jewish pilgrims that it will not allow them to carry out a full tour of the Mount, and quickly made them leave through the nearest gate."
Fua, who videotaped the event [shown below], explained: "The video shows Dr. Yoel Elitzur and some of the ascenders, faced by the Muslim mob that is familiar to us from the previous days. It s amazing to see how the Israel Police plays into the hands of the Muslim rioters, and actually encourages them to threaten and run amok.
"This scenario is one that is known in advance and it is time that the police change their behavior, so that the scenario may change, too."
The Arabs found the method how to get rid of the Jewish presence — by threats and violence — and the Israel Police always fold. Always fold. It is ten years to the re-opening of the Temple Mount to Jews and its closing to Jews seems closer than ever. (The Mount was closed to Jews for three years following the outbreak of the Arab Intifada)
It seems the police are throwing a trial balloon. They try to see if the Temple Mount is important to a large Jewish population, or only to some "crazies". It is obvious that if this passes quietly, it will get worse for the Jews.
That is why the joint committee of the Temple Mount organizations have decided to hold a protest vigil at the entrance of the Temple Mount, at the entrance of the Mugrabim bridge, this coming Wednesday, August 7 at 7:30 am in the morning. (Note: This is Israel time; other times are, in the US: 12:30 AM EDT/9:30 PM PDT; in London: 5:30 AM; in Sydney, Australia: 2:30 PM; for additional times see the Time Zone Converter — Time Difference Calculator ).
Let's remind the police, the political leadership, ourselves, and the world what is the holiest place for the Jewish People. It is the Temple Mount and not the Kotel (Western Wall).
All those to whom a Jewish presence at the Jews' most holy site in the world is important, are asked to wake up early Wednesday morning and come the vigil.
The Women in Green are joining the vigil. Come one come all. For details: Arnon Segal 054-7238108; for csalls from outside Israel, check the country call code .
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, where the two holy Temples stood before being destroyed by the Babylonian and Roman empires respectively.
Despite its supreme importance to Jews worldwide, Jews are subject to draconian limitations on the Mount, including a ban on praying, due to the presence of an Islamic complex, administered by the Waqf Islamic Trust, and threats by Muslim groups. The Israeli police are able to bypass court decisions upholding the Jewish right to prayer there by citing unspecifiied "security concerns", either to ban individual activists or even to issue blanket prohibitions on Jews ascending at all.
Religious Jews are followed closely by Israeli police and Waqf guards to prevent them from praying, or from carrying out any other religious rituals.
Non-Jewish visitors are not subject to such restrictions.
Apart from pressuring authorities to ban Jewish prayer, the Waqf has also been accused of destroying Jewish artefacts on the mount, in a concerted effort to Islamize the site and deny all Jewish connection to it.
Palestinian Media Watch, an NGO set up to monitor extremism within the Palestinian media, reports regularly on what it claims is a campaign by the Palestinian Authority and Muslim groups to erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem entirely .
[Source: Women in Green, Arutz Sheva, Now the End Begins]