On Friday, Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed the police to prevent Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount, making it the 18th consecutive day that Jews were prevented from visiting their holiest site.
Muslims are permitted to enter the Temple Mount unimpeded and 28,000 Arabs entered the site on Friday. The Arabs see the prohibition against Jews as a victory, expressing this by ridiculing the IDF soldiers assigned to maintain order.
טרור הטיקטוק דוחף אצבעות ניצחון לכוחות הביטחון בעיניים
הלילה בכניסה להר הבית… pic.twitter.com/ZB2csJ2HjJ
— עמנואל ברוש (@EmanuelBrosh) May 21, 2021
#شاهد | الفرح على وجوه، والقترة على وجوه أخرى!
أهالي #القدس يتبخترون فرحا بانتصار الم.قاو.مة، وهم يهتفون للقس.ام من أمام جنود الاحتلال. #غزة_تنتصر#فلسطين_تنتصر pic.twitter.com/9CgA5IqOAI
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) May 21, 2021
Friday, which Islam claims as their sabbath, was a time for mass riots on the Temple Mount, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police.
لحظة اقتحام قوات الاحتلال #المسجد_الأقصى، قبل قليل. pic.twitter.com/b4uB2hgeRi
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) May 21, 2021
Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionist Party, called on Netanyahu to open the site immediately to Jews, stipulating that should the PM make any concessions concerning the Temple Mount in his ongoing ceasefire negotiations with the Palestinians, his party would not join a Likud-led coalition.
“I’m currently giving you credit for running the [military] campaign,” Smotrich wrote on Twitter. “But if, God forbid, an agreement/understandings with Hamas includes, explicitly or implicitly, [anything whatsoever] related to Jerusalem… you can forget about forming a government,” he charged, specifically calling on Netanyahu not to “capitulate” over the Temple Mount or plans to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Tom Nissani, director of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, responded:
“Today again, after 18 consecutive days, the Temple Mount is closed to Jews,” Nissani told Israel National News. “Compare that to the entrance of goods into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing this morning, and we see that failure to immediately reopen the Temple Mount to Jews constitutes giving up on our rights to the Temple Mount.”
Nissani added that, “I call on all those who want to ascend to the Mount to arrive there every single day until the situation is rectified and Israel restores freedom of movement and expression of religion to Jews, and retakes control of the Mount, which should come under complete Israeli sovereignty.”
The Temple Mount was closed to Jews for ten days of Ramadan and three days of the Muslim feast and despite police announcing that Judaism’s holiest site would be open to Jews on the eve of the Biblical pilgrimage festival of Shavuot last Sunday morning, the police announced that it would once again be closed to Jews. This is after the site was supposed to be open on May 9, Jerusalem Day, but was closed due to Arab violence. At no time has the Temple Mount been closed to Arab Muslims despite their violence. Jews who arrived at the entrance were told the site would be “closed to non-Muslims until further notice.”