Tammuz 1, 5772, 21/06/12
"I have experienced anti-Semitism in England, but I never expected it at Judaism's holiest site," the visitor stated.
During a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, a Jewish student was told by Islamic Waqf officials to take off his kippah. The 20-year-old from London, England, was in Israel as part of a student mission. He said he was told by three separate Waqf monitors to take off the Jewish head-covering because it was offensive to them.
The student told Israeli media, "I have experienced anti-Semitism in England, but I never thought that in Judaism's holiest site I would be subjugated to such discrimination." Other members of the group were instructed that if they wanted to continue to visit the area, they would have to cover their bare knees by purchasing Arab style keffieyeh scarves.
Group participants said they had already entered the site and were checked by Israeli guards and Muslim monitors without receiving any official briefings on dress-code.
The British visitor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he chose to leave the scene rather than take off his kippah. "I think this time the Waqf thought they could single me out because we looked like a group of foreign tourists and I was the only one wearing a kippah," he stated.
Another member of the group briefly removed his baseball cap to uncover a kippah and was also told by Waqf monitors to remove it.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of The Temple Institute and the host of Israel National Radio's Temple Talk podcast, called the incident an act of discrimination.
"Today's event demonstrates the opening of a new front at the hands of the Islamic Waqf who are committed to eradicating all Jewish connection to the site. The Temple Institute encourages all Jewish people to proudly visit the Temple Mount in accordance with Jewish law," he said.
Wednesday's incident was in marked contrast to Jerusalem Day, held a month ago, in which visitors prayed in Hebrew, sang and danced on the Temple Mount.
Ben Bresky contributed to this report.