As the holy day of Yom Kippur begins, Israel is raising its internal security measures. Tensions are high after a week of Muslim riots and violence surrounding the Temple Mount, sparked by the Jewish New Year. Roads will be empty of Jewish traffic, as few Israelis drive on the holiest day of the year, and most Israelis fast for the entire day. The Eid al-Adha holiday, will begin on Wednesday evening, just as the Jewish fast ends, and Muslim holidays tend to be periods of increased violence, as was seen in the recent Ramadan which saw terror attacks all over the world.
Police and the military are on high alert and several thousand policemen will be patrolling Jerusalem, where thousands of Jews are expected to arrive at the Kotel. There will be no entry to the Temple Mount compound to Muslim men under 40 during the Jewish holiday. Female worshipers will be allowed to enter the site without restrictions, as will men over 40.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered a full closure on the West Bank and the shutting of all crossings between Israel and Gaza over Yom Kippur, beginning at noon on Tuesday and lasting until midnight on Wednesday night.
“During the closure, passage will be allowed only in humanitarian, medical or other special circumstances, with the approval of the [IDF’s] Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement Monday.
Monday night, 27 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem for throwing rocks and firebombs at police, raising the total for the week to over 100. There were also two attempted terror attacks against IDF troops in the Hebron area Monday night. Diyaa Talahma was killed when a grenade he was about to throw at soldiers exploded in his hands. An 18-year-old Palestinian woman attempted to stab soldiers at the Hebron checkpoint separating the Jewish and Arab sections of the city. The soldiers shot her in her lower body. No soldiers were injured.
It should also be noted that there were three rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at Southern Israel this week, resulting in one explosion in Sderot. Israel has deployed additional Iron Dome anti-missile systems in the region.
On Monday night, police began to restrict traffic around Jerusalem’s Old City and set up checkpoints leading to its holy sites. The Temple Mount will be open to non-Muslims as usual on Wednesday, but during the four-day Eid holiday only Muslims will be allowed access, police said.