October 14, 2013
by Jodi Rudoren
JERUSALEM — Ten Jewish men were removed from the Temple Mount on Monday morning and questioned by the police after they unfurled an Israeli flag, sang the national anthem and danced at the holy site, according to Israeli authorities.
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israel Police, said the plaza surrounding Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock was closed to non-Muslim visitors after the episode. The men, along with three others who had been removed earlier, were detained for about two and a half hours but were not arrested, he said.
Larger and more diverse groups of Jews have taken to visiting the site, the holiest in Judaism and third holiest in Islam, leading to what Muslim leaders have described as unprecedented tension.
The site, which Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary, is controlled by a trust, the Islamic Waqf, though Israel handles security. Non-Muslims are prohibited from praying, singing, dancing or genuflecting there.
Mr. Rosenfeld said that the men were removed “after not keeping to the regulations,” and that he did not know whether they belonged to an organized group. “It might have been spontaneous,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to be something that was planned.”