Over the last Jewish year, a total of 49,000 Jews have ascended the Temple Mount, 2644 less than the previous year, according to the Beyadenu organization.
"Despite police limitations, Am Israel continues to ascend to its beating heart!" Tom Nisani, Beyadenu CEO, said.
Who is making the trip up the Temple Mount?
Beyadenu guides, who have a daily presence on the site, have reported 235 brides and grooms visiting on their wedding day, 72 teenagers for their Bnei Mitzvahs, and another 2000 visiting under the guidance of Beyadenu.
Some 236 visitors were arrested and detained on the Mount and a further 62 had been removed by the Administrative Order.
"The data is reassuring and uplifting. There is stability and consistency in the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount. Despite intimidations and restrictions that were increased this year by the police, tens of thousands of Jews still chose to ascend to the holiest place in Judaism. There is no doubt that without the unethical police behavior, many more would have ascended. We wish everyone a good year, a year in which there will be more respect towards ascenders and a stop to the draconian policies against ascenders to the Temple Mount," said Nisani.
The religious significance of the Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, located close to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, is a holy site for all three major Abrahamic religions. For Jews, the site is where Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed to God, and is also the site of the first and second Temples. As Jesus was Jewish, many Christians also believe that the site has a deep spiritual connection to the New Testament.
The site also contains the third holiest place of worship for Muslims. It is believed to be the location where Muhammed ascended to heaven and is now the home to Al-Asqa Mosque.
There are eleven gates of entry for Muslims to access the site, and one for non-Muslims; known as Moors' Gate. It is illegal for non-Muslims to pray at the site.