Muslims atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount provided Israeli Jews with a Passover holiday greeting in the form of stones and firebombs on Sunday morning. Two Israeli police officers were wounded when Muslim rioters attacked them and possibly other Jewish visitors at the Mughrabi gate at the Temple Mount’s southwestern end, adjacent to the Western Wall.
One observer noted that the use of dozens of firebombs (Molotov cocktails) indicated that the riot had been premeditated, and was not a spontaneous response to some Israeli provocation.
Riot police were called to the scene and managed to take control of the situation using rubber bullets and tear gas. A short time later, quiet returned to the Temple Mount, but the holy site remained closed to Jews and Christians for fear of another Muslim outburst.
While the Muslim authorities that oversee the Temple Mount, and the Palestinian politicians who appoint them, regularly accuse Israel of trying to “Judaize” the Temple Mount, the reality is that Jews suffer a severe lack of freedom of religion at this, Judaism’s holiest site.
Last week, two American congressmen clandestinely visited the Temple Mount with a group of religious Jews to assess the situation. US Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) told Israel National News that the Temple Mount visit left he and his colleague “shocked and disturbed.”
Johnson made special note of the Waqf (Islamic Trust) official that tailed the group and seemed to exercise unwarranted influence over the Israeli police present there. “This thug followed us everywhere we went and if we stopped and took too long in one place he would look at the Israeli police, who would say ‘you need to keep your group moving,’” noted the American lawmaker.