Soldiers in uniform now allowed on Temple Mount

Due to the sensitive nature of the area soldiers had been prohibited from entering the area in uniform for last decade.

January 13, 2012 06:25
1 minute read.
Haredi at the temple mount

Haredi temple mount 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

For the first time in a decade, soldiers in uniform will be allowed to access the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Due to the sensitive nature of the area, which also holds the Dome of the Rock and al-Aksa Mosque, soldiers had been prohibited from entering the area in uniform.

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Ten paratroopers visited the Temple Mount on Sunday with a tour guide for over an hour. The presence of paratroopers in uniform was a gesture to their unit, which was the first to reach the Temple Mount during the 1967 Six Day War.

Temple Mount activists joined MKs Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Danny Danon (Likud) and Arye Eldad (National Union) to pressure security authorities to allow soldiers to enter in uniform.

“The struggle for the Temple Mount was worth it; now soldiers in uniform can walk with pride in all parts of Jerusalem, and the State of Israel makes it clear to all that the Temple Mount is in our hands,” Danny Danon said on Thursday.

The Mount was closed to Jews from 2000 to 2003. Yehuda Glick, director of the Temple Mount Foundation, said the issue of soldiers in uniform had been discussed twice in the past year in the Knesset, and credited the MKs with pressuring Jerusalem Police to change the policy.

“The group [of soldiers] was not confronted by any negative behavior,” Glick said. “We’re more afraid of our own shadow.”

Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said there have been no incidents since the policy was changed and they are not expecting any violence in reaction.

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