Fireworks and rocks wound police as Jews enter holiest site in Judaism mere hours before Rosh Hashana; one Jew arrested.
by Uzi Baruch, Ari Yashar
Dozens of Arab rioters began shooting fireworks at police on the Temple Mount on Wednesday morning, just hours before the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) began, and as soon as the holiest site in Judaism was opened to Jewish visitors.
The rioters fired at police at the Mughrabi Gate, which is the only point of access for Jewish visitors to the site currently under the de facto rule of the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust).
Yassam police special forces and Border Patrol officers pushed their way onto the Temple Mount and pressed back the rioters.
Upon arriving on the holy site, police forces came face to face with dozens of rioters who had prepared obstacles on the Mount, from which they threw rocks and bricks at the officers while continuing to launch fireworks at them.
After an extended struggle the police were able to gain control over the rioters and return order to the site. A number of officers were lightly wounded by the salvo of rocks and fireworks, and were provided medical treatment at the scene.
Despite the attack, entry remained open for Jewish visitors, with police saying "we will continue to act against the rioters and show zero tolerance for any attempt to disrupt the order."
Yehuda Glick, head of the LIBA Movement for Freedom of Movement on the Temple Mount, praised the police for their firm action saying that as a result "as of now around 100 Jews have entered. It turns out that when the police want to they can deal (with the rioters), and it doesn't start a world war."
At least one arrest was recorded in the incidents Wednesday morning - not of an Arab rioter, but rather of a Jewish youth.
The Jew prostrated himself in prayer at the holiest site in Judaism, an act that the Muslim Waqf guards have pressed Israeli police into forbidding despite the fact that Israeli law guarantees the right of religious worship.
The violent clash comes as part of what is being termed a "silent intifada," in which Arab terror attacks in Jerusalem have grown exponentially in recent months.
Those attacks have included cases of live gunfire by Fatah terrorists in the capital, as well as constant attacks with rocks, and molotov cocktails. Several Jewish families who accidentally strayed into predominantly Arab neighborhoods have been targeted by anti-Semitic lynch-mobs.
In one of the most potentially damaging events, Arab rioters recently tried to blow up a gas station in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood.
In response to the rise of terror in the capital, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has told the media not to talk about the problem.