More than 2,642 Jews have ascended Temple Mount, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, since Passover began on April 5, as reported by the Beyadenu Temple Mount advocacy movement. This brings the total since Rosh Hashana to 27,675.
Of those, some 1,200 visited Judaism’s holiest site on Monday, Israeli officials said. During 2022, 51,483 Jews visited the Temple Mount, up from 34,651 in 2021 and 20,684 in 2020, according to statistics compiled by Beyadenu
Moshe Feiglin on the Temple Mount (Photo courtesy Beyadenu)
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel on the Temple Mount (Photo courtesy Beyadenu)
“Jews ascend to the Temple Mount to recognize our religious and national heritage,” Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu said. “Our ascents are solemn affairs, without fanfare, joking, or even much talking. Every Jew that ascends inadvertently participates in a silent protest of the current policies in place and restrictions placed on our religious values. Comparatively, the Muslim ascent to the Temple is a spectacle in the global media involving protesting, shouting ‘Death to Jews’, and ‘Death to Israel’.”
“Jews continue to ascend to the Temple Mount in record numbers despite threats made to their safety,” Nisani added. “We will not give up the Temple Mount, and it’s time that the Israeli government understands that and actively aids and empowers Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount.”
During the ascensions of Jews, The Temple Mount was quiet and empty mostly except for the mosque area in the south where only a few dozen Arabs tried to curse and threaten the Jewish ascenders walking by. Many police forces are deployed and patrolling the area to prevent escalations. The ascensions are currently taking place with time for prayer and explanations in the guided tours.
While Arabs are afforded unrestricted access, Jews undergo background checks and body searches and are prohibited from bringing any religious objects. Jewish ascenders are also prohibited from bringing food on the Temple Mount with them due to the fast of Ramadan. This is despite police assurances that this would not be the case.
Arabs attempted to disrupt Jewish visitation by shouting en masse. Police prevented the Arabs from approaching the Jewish visitors.
Videos courtesy Beyadenu
Tensions remain high at the holy site after Israeli police on the first night of Passover arrested more than 350 Muslim rioters who had barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site is located atop the Temple Mount.
The rioters, who had smuggled fireworks, clubs and stones into the mosque, blocked the doors from inside using iron rods, closets, and other objects. They chanted inciting slogans and threw stones and shot fireworks at police.
Police attempted to convince the rioters to leave the site peaceably and when that failed were forced to enter.
1/9 The Israel Police arrested and removed over 350 individuals that violently barricaded themselves in the Temple Mount, including masked individuals, stone and firework hurlers/throwers, and individuals suspected of desecrating the mosque pic.twitter.com/XT6sXHNBVt
— Israel Police (@israelpolice) April 5, 2023
On Saturday night, hundreds of Muslims again barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa, preventing people from praying and attempting to provoke a response from Israeli security services. However, police did not enter the building to clear out the extremists.
Instead, Israel’s Foreign Ministry called on Amman, through the Waqf Islamic trust tasked with safeguarding Muslim sites on the Temple Mount, to take action against the extremists.
The tweet was in response to an earlier Jordanian Foreign Ministry announcement accusing Israel of violating the status quo on the Mount and warning of “catastrophic consequences” if Israel continued its “violations.” The statement said that Israel bore responsibility for any escalation.
The spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, Sinan al-Majali, said that the entire 37 acres of the Temple Mount were “a pure place of worship for Muslims,” the Petra news agency reported.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted by Petra as saying that “Israeli provocations will turn the [Temple Mount] courtyards into battlefields.”
1/2 Following the announcement of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Those who desecrate the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and barricade themselves inside it are a dangerous mob, radicalized and incited by Hamas and other terror organizations. https://t.co/RJJKXoM3Uk
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) April 8, 2023
Nevertheless, on Sunday thousands of Jewish worshippers packed the Western Wall Plaza, located directly below the Temple Mount, for the Passover priestly blessing.
Twice annually, during Passover and during Sukkot, a mass priestly blessing is held at the site, attended by thousands of Jews.