May 18, 2022
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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Arab violence targeting Jews praying at the Western Wall forced the Israeli police to reenter the Temple Mount on Friday morning. The police were attacked by the Arabs throwing rocks and incendiary devices. The police responded by firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

Arab violence targeting the holy site has continued throughout the month of Ramadan which also saw a wave of Palestinian terrorism. 14 Israelis were murdered during the month of Ramadan and several rockets were fired at Israel from both Gaza and Lebanon.  Despite the Arab violence and attempts to block Jews from entering,  a record 4,625 Jews visited the site during the pilgrimage festival of Passover. But last Thursday, police locked the only gate non-Muslims are permitted to use, locking also the police stand on the Temple Mount, and abandoned the site. Signs were posted that Jews were prohibited from the site “until further notice.”

The next morning, a PLO flag appeared on the gold Dome of the Rock and has remained there since. It should be remembered that when the IDF conquered the site from Jordan in 1967, an Israeli flag was raised at the site and almost immediately, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered it removed. It is now illegal for Jews to display an Israeli flag at the site.

Friday was the last Friday of the month of Ramadan and is referred to in Islam as “Alvida Jumma” or “Friday of Farewell.” Normally, the day is marked by increased devotion but in 1979, the Iranian rededicated the Muslim holiday as Quds Day to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel. Critics of Quds Day argue that it is inherently anti-semitic. Quds Day is largely unrecognized by Muslims outside of Iran and Israel where it also features demonstrations against other rivals of Iran, including the United States and Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday night, between 100,000 to 200,000 Arabs gathered on the Temple Mount to celebrate Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power), believed by Muslims to be the night the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad. The night ended with relatively little violence however thousands of the gathered Arabs took the opportunity to wave Hamas flags to chants of “in spirit and in blood we will redeem Al-Aqsa.” They also chanted “Khyber, Khyber al-Yahud” – an explicit call for the massacre of Jews as occurred in the Khyber battle in 629. Tragically, this demonstration coincided with the Jewish Holocaust Remembrance day.

The police, who deployed some 3,000 officers to secure the event, did not respond, remaining outside the compound.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Jordan is intensifying its efforts to convince the US government to pressure Israel into relinquishing any control over the Temple Mount. Under the plan proposed by Jordan, the Muslim Waqf would oversee all matters including visits to the site by Jews and Christians. Towards this end, the Waqf has requested a drastic increase in the numbers and the purview of their security personnel. The Waqf is demanding that all security matters be under their authority while Jordan is demanding that all armed Israeli security personnel be prohibited from the site. Prayer by non-Muslims at the site would be strictly prohibited. Jordan wants the US to demand that Israel return to the status quo that existed before 1967. It should be noted that under the illegal Jordanian occupation that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War, non -Muslims were prohibited from entering the eastern section of Jerusalem including the Western Wall. Jews were also prohibited from entering the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.  Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Reuters that closing the site indefinitely to Jews was a “good step to respecting the status quo and easing tensions and restoring calm.”

The Temple Mount is the site where both Jewish Temple stood and is the holiest site in Judaism. It should be noted that the only Muslims who claim that the Temple Mount is holy to Islam do so for political reasons based on a misunderstanding of Islamic theology. It is, in fact, deeply insulting to Sunni to make this claim as they believe that Al-Aqsa is located in Al-Ju’ranah near Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.