The temple mount on the Ninth of Av, July 22, 2018..
(photo credit: TNS)
Fifteen religious Jews were detained at the Temple Mount and removed from the site Sunday morning for bowing down and praying during their visit at the holy place, as record numbers of visitors ascended the holy site to mark the fast of Tisha Be’av.
A record 1,440 Jews visited the site Sunday, according to numbers from the Yeraeh organization which promotes Jewish pilgrimage to the Temple Mount in accordance with Jewish law.
, 1,293 visited the site, some 400 visited the year before, and 300 in 2015.
The fast of Tisha Be’av commemorates the destruction of the ancient First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies of Jewish history.
The police said in a statement that “15 Jews were removed from the Temple Mount for not observing the prohibitions of the government on demonstrative Jewish activity at the mount.”
Ten were removed for prostrating themselves at the site, three for singing the liturgical lamentations read on Tisha Be’av, one for shouting out the Shema Yisrael prayer, and one for not listening to police instructions regarding the allowed route for Jewish visitors.
While the High Court of Justice has upheld the right for Jews to pray at the Temple Mount, it has also ruled that the security services are permitted to take security considerations into account when deciding whether to allow non-Muslim prayer there. Israel Police therefore prohibit Jewish prayer for fear of sparking Muslim riots.
Several prominent public figures were among the visitors on Sunday, including Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, an educational and activist group dedicated to preparing the vessels and resources for the third Temple, which they hope will be built imminently.
“Longtime Temple Mount activist MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) was present at the entrance to the site to welcome the visitors but did not himself visit the site, due to restrictions on MKs visiting more than once every three months.
Glick visited two weeks ago after the Prime Minister lifted restrictions on MKs visiting the Temple Mount which had been in place for three years due to security concerns.
Glick said that the Jewish people were now in “a process of building, a process of progress, and a process of bringing God closer.” He said that the progress was clear from the fact that only in the last four years have Jews been allowed on the Temple Mount on Tisha Be’av.
“We are now [going] in the direction of consolation, in the direction of fixing and building. This is what is important; the Jewish people is coming to the [Temple] Mount, the Israel Police are doing everything to respect those who are coming, the Jewish people is returning here as is the realization of the prophecy that this place is becoming the place that unites the world around [the concept] of one God with one name,” said Glick.
“The Jewish people without the Temple Mount is a body without a soul, and we here are beginning to resuscitate the soul. Every Jew who comes here is a partner in that. God willing, we will see the building and won’t need to continue to mourn over the destruction.”
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