Israel’s Supreme Court rejects appeal to open Temple Mount to Jews on Jerusalem Day

Muslims walking by the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on their way to pray on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Jun 30 2014. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against closing the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors on Jerusalem Day.

The court announced on Thursday its decision to reject the appeal by Jewish Temple Mount activists, the Kan national broadcaster reported.

Earlier in the week, the Israel Police announced that the site holiest to Jews would  be closed to Jews and tourists “for reasons of public safety and public order” on Jerusalem Day.

The site is closed every year on the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year falls out at the same time as Jerusalem Day, which is on June 1.

It reportedly will be the first time that Temple Mount will be closed on the day marking the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli control in 30 years. The last time it closed also coincided with Ramadan.

The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and the location of the Al-Aqsa mosque, is the third holiest site in Islam and is believed to be the site where the prophet Muhammad was transported from Mecca before ascending to heaven.

Jews are allowed to visit the site at certain times of the day and week, but are not allowed to pray or display Jewish symbols. Thousands visited the Temple Mount for Jerusalem Day last year.

Haaretz reported that the police also may limit the route of and the number of participants in the annual flag march on Jerusalem Day in which tens of thousands of religious Zionist teens march through the Old City, including the Muslim Quarter, in an event that has frequently caused tension between Jews and Arabs.