Jerusalem Day: Temple Mount to be closed to Jewish visitors

The decision to close Temple Mount to Jewish visitors follows days of rising tensions between Jews and Arabs across the Old City.

Tourists look at the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem's Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, June 21, 2018.  (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Tourists look at the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem's Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, June 21, 2018.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Temple Mount will not be open for Jewish visitors today, following an assessment led by Chief of Police Kobi Shabtai early this morning.
The decision was made together with the Jerusalem District Commander, Superintendent Doron Turgeman, and all security officials.
"The Israel Police will continue to allow freedom of worship but will not allow riots," read the Police spokesperson statement. 
Thousands of police and border police officers have been deployed across Jerusalem and the Old City since early this morning to maintain public security and safety during the events scheduled to take place for Jerusalem Day.
Reacting to the police decision to close Temple Mount to Jewish visitors, Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir said he will not be voting on any laws and regulations in Knesset in the upcoming weeks. 
"Violence and bullying have won. The heads of the security establishments are to blame for their any policies which contain harm to the Jews," said Ben-Gvir in a statement. "But more than that, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana who have allowed the police to give in (are to blame)."
"I have no reason to vote this week in accordance with anyone who makes these kinds of decisions," Ben-Gvir concluded.
Otzma Yehudit announced that they will be holding a march through Jerusalem today, starting next to the Great Synagogue on King George Street and ending at Damascus Gate.
"Unlike the conduct displayed by the Israeli government, we will demonstrate our sovereignty and declare that Jerusalem is ours." read the party statement.
Dozens of Jews arrived at the entrance to Temple Mount, demanding access to the site despite the ban issued earlier in the morning, according to Ynet.
The "Return to the Mountain" activists arrived at the site following calls from the organisation to reach the gate and enter to compound.  
"Shame on the state of Israel that in 2021 Jews cannot pray at our holiest site, because of Arab terrorism," the organisation said in their call to action. "The time has arrived to eliminate the Muslim rioters once and for all and allow freedom of Jewish worship on Temple Mount, including the building of the Temple, and the resumption of sacrificial work."
Chairman of the Noam Party, and member of the Religious Zionist Party, MK Avi Maoz issued a statement demanding an immediate cancellation of the Temple Mount closure.
"Since the early hours of the morning, there have been hundreds of Jews who cannot make their way home, or leave their homes, in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, on a holiday - the day of the city's liberation," said Maoz.
Yamina MK Matan Kahana, New Hope MK Sharren Haskel, and Religious Zionist MK Simcha Rotman all arrived at the entrance of Temple Mount to protest the decision to close the site to Jews.
Rotman also sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, holding him accountable for the decision to close the compound, calling the decision a disgrace.
"A government must be formed that is committed to the Jewish people and our right to the Land of Israel and to Temple Mount," said Rotman.
Itamar Ben Gvir added his voice to the call for Netanyahu's resignation saying "if you are unable to carry out your mission to provide security and allow the residents of Jerusalem to live a normal life, return the keys and let somebody else try."
Meanwhile, in an interview with 103FM, Likud MK Miki Zohar gave his approval to the police decision, saying that "the State of Israel and our security forces make decisions i n the field, and ultimately they work together with us while taking responsibility and examining the consequences of each and every act. Currently the security forces are making decisions whilst in the field and should be trusted."