May 28, 2014 Wednesday 28 Iyyar 5774
by Daniel K. Eisenbud
Violence comes after pope’s visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque to discuss non-violence as a means of resolving long held differences with Jews.
Less than 48 hours after Pope Francis beseeched Jerusalem's Grand Mufti to condemn violence on the Temple Mount, rioting ensued there Wednesday morning as thousands of Jews gathered at the Western Wall in observance of Jerusalem Day.
According to police, upon opening the main gate to the holy site, rocks and bottles were thrown at officers, forcing them to disperse the crowd with stun grenades and temporarily cordon off part of the site to visitors.
“Police immediately responded to the rioting and pushed them back into Al-Aqsa Mosque,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, adding that one officer sustained a light injury.
After containing the scene, Rosenfeld said over 1,000 tourists and 250 Israelis entered the compound to tour under police protection.
Although no arrests were made during the riot, Rosenfeld said police are studying the surveillance footage taken of it and plan to apprehend those involved.
The violence comes after the pontiff's historic Monday visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque to discuss tolerance and non-violence as a means of resolving long held differences with Jews.
According to Muslim media reports, during a private 15-minute meeting with the mufti, Mohammed Hussein, Francis beseeched him and his followers to disavow violence and “work together [with Jews] for justice and peace.”
“May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters,” the pope reportedly said during the discussion. “May we learn to understand the suffering of others. May no one abuse the name of God through violence.”