A Jewish worshipper prays in front of an entrance to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, on Tisha B'Av, a day of fasting and lament, in Jerusalem's Old City August 1, 2017. .
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Residents in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem, still recovering from last month’s events, expressed discomfort over the record number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount on Tuesday, estimated to be as high as 1,300.
Next to the Chain Gate, where Jewish visitors exit the compound, shop owners said they believed efforts to bring as many Jews as possible to the Temple Mount and heightened security measures in the alleys of the quarter were a direct Israeli reaction to last month’s events.
“They want to try and create balance here,” said Emad Abu Hadija, the owner of a coffee shop next to the gate told The Jerusalem Post. “After we won, thank God, last week, they are trying to get back at us.”
Abu Hadija was referring to the removal of metal detectors and other security measures from the gates leading to the Temple Mount compound. The devices were installed after two Israeli policemen were killed in a terrorist attack at the site. They were removed after 10 days of protests in the streets of the Old City and international pressure.
Many local residents claim the removals were the result of their efforts. “Our people spent days and nights outside during the whole period.
We are protecting al-Aksa more then we protect our families,” Abu Hadija said.
The owner of a souvenir shop across the alley said the final word have yet to be spoken. “The Israelis saw that the score was 1-0 for us; today it’s a tie, 1-1, and next week will be overtime.”
Others expressed fears over what they see as a growing trend of Jews visiting the compound. “Ten years ago they were few, today they are over one thousand,” said Aqal, the mukhtar, or local leader, of the Bab al-Silsila neighborhood.
“Next year they will be 4,000 and the year after they will be 7,000. Our answer to them will be to attract more of our people to prayers here,” he added.
When one of the Jewish groups left the Temple Mount compound, a quarrel broke between a visitor and a local Muslim resident. A police spokesman said three Jews and one Muslim were arrested after the incident.