Jews Return to the Temple Mount

Hamas had tried to make barring Jews from the Temple Mount a condition of the Gaza ceasefire

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Temple Mount, Jerusalem
Jerusalem's Temple Mount remains at the heart of the conflict
Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The Temple Mount was reopened to Jewish visitors on Sunday following a 20-day ban on Jews entering their holiest site.

The move came in the wake of a ceasefire that brought an end to Operation Guardian of the Walls early Friday morning following 11 days of heavy fighting between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Hamas insisted that it launched its latest assault on Israel in order to defend the Temple Mount and Jerusalem against being “Judaized.” But Israel had blocked Jewish entrance to the holy site even before the first Hamas rockets were fired, insisting that the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount was further exacerbating Muslim violence in the city.

See: Expert: Palestinians Seized Golden Opportunity to Escalate Conflict

No sooner had the ceasefire gone into effect than Palestinian Muslims were again rioting on the Temple Mount this past Friday morning, even though no Jews were in sight. Ten people were arrested over the outburst.

Israeli activists called on the government to “neutralize the focal point of the outbreak of terrorism” and transfer the control of the mosques on the Temple Mount from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to Saudi Arabia or “any other peace-seeking country.”

See: Saudis Say Temple Mount and Al Aqsa Not So Important to Islam

Some 1,130 Jews prayed on the Temple Mount in the Jewish month of Iyar, which roughly corresponded with most of May and the beginning of June. The Temple Mount was accessible to Jews for only 15 days, for 60 of the 696 hours of the month, less than 9% of the total month.

Still, this number of visits marks a 22% increase in the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, compared to their number in this time period two years ago.

Even so, Jews continue to have to visit their most holy site, in the heart of their own capital, under heavy armed guard.

With reporting by TPS

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