Police patrol near the Temple Mount 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Expecting many thousands of Jewish worshipers to gather at the Western Wall at the start of Yom Kippur Friday evening, police have preemptively undertaken numerous security measures to safeguard them for the duration of the fast, which ends on Saturday evening.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that the hundreds of officers, to be stationed in and around the Kotel and the Old City, had been instructed on all security needs and expectations days before.
“Israeli police have completed security measures ahead of Yom Kippur, which will be implemented from Thursday evening until the end of Yom Kippur,” said Rosenfeld. “Tens of thousands of visitors in the area are expected, and police will ensure they can pray peacefully.”
Rosenfeld said Border Police, undercover teams and various other elite units will blanket the area to respond immediately to any incidents, with particular precaution being taken at the Western Wall and synagogues in the area.
Thousands of Muslims are also expected to attend Friday prayers at mosques on the Temple Mount.
Numerous incidents of violence and threats against Jewish worshipers have transpired over the past few months, spiking during Tisha Be’av and Rosh Hashana.
Over the two-day Rosh Hashana holiday, 22 Palestinian rioters were arrested; Muslim cleric Sheikh Raed Salah had been jailed shortly before the New Year for inciting riots against Jews visiting the area, during which two officers were injured.
On Tisha Be’av, which coincided with Ramadan in July, hundreds of Jews were denied entry to the Temple Mount due to police concerns over Muslim threats of rioting. Outside Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem shortly following the annual day of mourning, a haredi man was stabbed multiple times by two Arab men.
The victim was immediately rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where he was listed in moderate condition and has since recovered. His assailants have subsequently been arrested.