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Thousands Attend Priestly Blessing at Wall

reprinted from JTA
October 5, 2009

The annual priestly blessing ceremony at the Western Wall ended peacefully a day after rioting in eastern Jerusalem.

Thousands of Jewish worshipers attended Monday's Sukkot event at the wall in Jerusalem located below the Temple Mount. Thousands of police were deployed throughout the Old City to prevent violence, and Muslim men's access to the mosques on the Temple Mount was restricted to worshipers over 50 years old.

The closure was in reaction to calls by Muslim clerics and Palestinian leaders for their followers to come "protect" the Temple Mount, according to reports. About 150 rioters threw bottles at police in the Old City Sunday morning following the closure, injuring at least two officers.

In an incident of violence on Monday, a group of Palestinians threw rocks at Jews praying at the Mount of Olives. Earlier Monday, some 150 young Palestinians prayed near the Old City and refused to disperse afterward, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Jordan's Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Yaakov Rosen Sunday evening over closing off Muslim access to the Temple Mount, including to Azzam Khatib, the director of the Wakf, which handles the day-to-day activity of the site and is considered to be Jordan's representative in the Old City, Ynet reported. The Foreign Ministry also criticized Israel's continued construction in eastern Jerusalem.



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