Police vow to deal firmly with any attempts to disturb J'lem peace

Police brace for renewed

October 24, 2009 21:45
2 minute read.

Police on Saturday evening said they would deal firmly and decisively with any attempts to disturb the peace in Jerusalem. "Jerusalem police will deploy around the Temple Mount, the alleyways of the Old City, and in east Jerusalem tomorrow, in light of calls from both [Jewish and Muslim leaders] to go up to the mount," a police spokesman had said. Calls to Muslim worshipers to come to Jerusalem Sunday largely came from clerics in east Jerusalem and their counterparts from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement While the spokesman declined to specify where the Jewish calls had come from, Sunday had been publicized as the day to commemorate the visit by Maimonides to the Temple Mount 843 years ago. To mark that anniversary, a conference was set to take place in Jerusalem, "calling Jews to properly arise to the Temple Mount," according to an announcement by the group called Eretz Israel Shelanu. The announcement listed several right-wing MKs and rabbis as conference participants. In the past, Jews have ascended the mount to mark the anniversary, 6 Heshvan, which was Saturday. While there were no announcements of an organized visit to the Temple Mount on Sunday, a member of the Islamic Movement's southern branch told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday evening that the renewed calls for Muslims to arrive in the capital on Sunday had been made after "extremist Jewish elements" had recently made clear their intention to go up to the mount. "It seems like the extremists don't want to have quiet in Jerusalem or on the Temple Mount," the Islamic Movement member, who asked to remain unnamed, said. "These sorts of things used to happen once every year, or once every two years, but now the provocations have become more frequent." The member of the southern branch, which is independent of the northern branch and considered by some as more moderate, said "all sides were unified in their defense of Al-Aksa," and that "any provocative visit to the site by extremist Jews would not pass peacefully. "The police have to be the ones to stop this," he said. "Because we don't want to go back to the violence that occurred recently, or to the riots of October 2000." While a representative from the Temple Mount Institute was unavailable on Saturday night, the recent tensions over the Temple Mount have also seen an increase in calls by prominent rabbis forbidding Jews to access the Temple Mount, based on Jewish law. Western Wall Chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz recently reiterated that Halacha prohibits Jews from "even touching the Temple Mount," much less entering it, based on laws of ritual purity. During the heightened tensions in the capital over Succot, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered by many Ashkenazi haredim as the foremost decider of Jewish law, told President Shimon Peres, during a highly publicized visit to the rabbi's home in Jerusalem, that Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount was expressly forbidden by Halacha. Elyashiv also told Peres it was important to consider that any provocations on the part of Jews who were determined to ascend to the Temple Mount could lead to needless bloodshed and further condemnation of Israel by the nations of the world. Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.

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