Israel’s near total lack of authority over Judaism’s holiest site – Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – was again on display this week when Muslims rioted and the Israeli authorities capitulated by barring Jewish visitors.
Jerusalem police officials on Tuesday announced a full three-day ban on Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount after Muslim worshippers repeatedly attacked non-Muslim visitors the two days preceding.
The Muslim agitators, most of them young men and youth, barricaded themselves in the Al Aqsa Mosque and from there hurled stones and firecrackers at the Jewish visitors.
Israeli police used tear gas in an effort to quell the violence and arrested several of the perpetrators, but ultimately determined it was better to simply let the Muslims have their way and remove the Jews.
Unsatisfied with merely driving the Jews from atop the Temple Mount, the Muslims began hurling stones down on worshippers at the Western Wall, wounding a 73-year-old Jewish woman.
The Likud’s newest member of Knesset, Yehuda Glick, a long-time leader of the movement to return Jewish worship to the Temple Mount, decried Israel’s failure to take a more resolute stand.
“We cannot allow a situation where dozens of tourists and Jews wanting to visit the Temple Mount, from which the call of ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation’ is supposed to emanate, are repeatedly held hostage by a violent rabble roused by radical Islamic clerics,” read a statement released by Glick’s office.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was also critical of the police ban on Jewish visitors, insisting that “we must not make decisions under pressure from violent disturbances. Only consistent and determined practice in protecting the status quo will ensure a long-term reduction in violent incidents and bring quiet to Jerusalem.”
In an interview with Arutz Sheva radio, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, stated the obvious: “It makes no sense that [the Arabs] riot, but [the government] closes the Temple Mount to Jews. It is the rioters who should be punished and not their victims.”