Jews allowed to visit Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av after initial ban

The Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jews were permitted to visit the Temple Mount following clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli security forces.

Jewish visitors initially had been banned from the site on Sunday, the day of the fast of the 9th of Av, or Tisha B’Av, which marks the day on the Jewish calendar that both Holy Temples, which stood on the site, were destroyed,

Sunday also is the start of the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha, or festival of the sacrifice, which celebrates the willingness of Ibrahim, to sacrifice his son Ishamel, according to Muslim tradition.

The Temple Mount is usually closed to non-Muslims on Islamic holidays, though Jews have been allowed to visit when the day coincides with a Jewish holiday. In June, Jews visited the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day, which also was a final day of Ramadan, leading to Muslim riots.

The head of the Wakf, the site’s Islamic custodian, had called on as many Muslims as possible to come to the Temple Mount on Sunday in order to prevent Jews from visiting.

“In light of the amount of worshipers and the high potential for friction, it was decided not to allow visits to the Temple Mount at this stage,” a police statement issued early Sunday morning said.

Security forces closed the mosque after clashes on Sunday morning that left 14 Muslims injured, one seriously. Four police officers were injured.

Jewish visitors were allowed on the site Sunday morning after the closure of Al Aksa and again on Sunday afternoon during regular visiting hours, according to reports. Muslim worshippers threw chairs and other objects at the Jewish visitors and their police escorts.