Admission for Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount was reestablished on Monday, three days after the revered site in Jerusalem was closed in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack on Friday.The first small group of Jewish visitors that entered the compound on Monday morning said the Mourners Kadish prayer for the fatalities in the attack, Border Police officers Haiel Stawi and Kamil Shnaan, who were both of the Druse faith.Jewish prayer on the mount is an especially irregular occurrence as Israel and the Muslim Wakf authority that oversees the site have banned such activity in accordance with the long-standing status quo at the complex.
Security services prohibit non-Muslim prayer or engagement in other forms of worship on the Temple Mount, claiming that such activity inevitably triggers Palestinian violence. The Supreme Court has previously upheld the theoretical right for Jews to pray at the most holy site in Judaism, although it has stated that the security services are permitted to take security considerations into account when deciding whether to allow non-Muslim prayer there.
On Sunday, Islamic authorities in Jerusalem called on Palestinians to avoid entering the Temple Mount, following a decision by Israel to place checkpoints with metal detectors at the compound gates. The site was reopened Sunday after the deadly attack on Friday killed two Israeli policemen.At this stage, only two of 10 gates – The Gate of the Tribes (Bab al-Asbat) and The Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis) – will open to the public, a police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post.
Jerusalem Old City security arrangements beefed up following friday attack (credit: POLICE)
The decision to reopen the Temple Mount for prayer services followed moves to place metal detectors next to each gate to monitor and prevent the smuggling of firearms into the compound and install surveillance cameras to improve security. It was not disclosed, however, when and where the cameras will be placed.Shortly thereafter, members of the Jerusalem Islamic Wakf, the Muslim religious body that oversees the compound, protested the new security measures and called on Muslim worshipers to avoid entering the compound. The Muslim leaders said Wakf personnel would not return to the mosques for the time being.Udi Shaham contributed to this report.