Israeli media is warning of increased Palestinian violence during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days in September and October.
During Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the week-long Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), a great many Jews congregate publicly, especially at the Western Wall.
This year, some of those holidays coincide with Muslim holidays and Palestinian nationalist memorials. Yom Kippur and the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha falls on the same day, and the anniversary of the eruption of the Second Intifada is during Sukkot.
If the past is any indicator, the coinciding of Jewish and Muslim holidays spells trouble, particularly in and around Jerusalem.
Already, Muslim clerics are working their flocks up into a frenzy over what they term the impending Jewish “invasion” of the Temple Mount. From the Israeli perspective, this is nothing short of incitement. Jewish groups always go up to the Temple Mount over Sukkot as it is a biblically mandated practice.
But the head of the Koranic Academy of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Nashach Bakhirat, said in an Arabic broadcast in Israel: “The Jewish festivals are ominous for Muslims and for the Al-Aqsa Mosque because at that time Jewish religious extremists will perpetrate attacks against us.”
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, accused the Jews of seeking to defile the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Jewish holidays. Khatib further charged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of conspiring with Israel to “Judaize” the city of Jerusalem.
Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and head of the Islamic Council, went even further, claiming that Jewish groups visiting the Temple Mount during Sukkot were “trying to implement their scheme to build a [Jewish] temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
As easily rebutted as these accusations might be, they are consistently effective in whipping up the Muslim masses against Israel’s Jews.