In an apparent bid to prevent a clash between Jews and Muslims, police have denied Jews permission to march around the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday, which is the first day of the Hebrew month of Av, and the first day of Ramadan.
The march, which has been taking place at the onset of Jewish months for some 10 years, draws the most participants at the beginning of Av, the month in which the First and Second Temples were destroyed. Last year, an estimated 5,000 people participated in that month’s march.
While in past years police prevented the march from coinciding with the end of Ramadan, when Muslims celebrate the three-day Id al-Fitr holiday, this is the first time Jews are being kept from marching at the beginning of Ramadan, activists involved in the Jewish event said in a statement on Thursday.
“The Israel Police does holy work, and there is no doubt that the safety of the participants is their concern,” MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said.
“At the same time, freedom of religion for Jews is also a fundamental
right, and it would have been better for police to give that right a
Ariel said that he was conducting talks with police to reach an
arrangement that would allow the march to be held, “but as of now,
police insist on calling it off.”