July 29, 2012 Sunday 10 Av 5772
by Melanie Lidman
Closures a response to warnings about planned "provocations" as Jews mark Tisha Be'av, Muslims observe Ramadan.
Police closed the Temple Mount on Sunday morning to Jewish visitors on the holiday of Tisha Be’av due to fears of "provocation," despite a promise on Saturday night that the holiest site in Judaism would be open to Jewish worshipers.
Nearly 100 right-wing activists arrived at the entrance to the Temple Mount on Sunday morning only to be informed that the site was closed to Jewish visitors.
The activists held a reading of Eicha (Lamentations) the traditional text of Tisha Be’av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temple, outside the entrance to the Temple Mount.
"There were indications from Muslims and from Jewish worshippers that there would be a possibility of incidents taking place on Temple Mount, so after security assessment made early hours of this morning the decision was made by Jerusalem district police in order to prevent any incidents," said National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
"The time has come for the racist policies of the police to end," said MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union). He accused Public Securities Minister Yitzhak Aharanovitch of "implementing apartheid policies" by not allowing Jews on the site.
"The fact that this happened on Tisha Be’av shows how much Temple Mount is not in our hands," said Likud activist Moshe Feiglin, who compared the decision to a "modern destruction" of the Temple.
Feiglin said former Jerusalem Police chief Nisso Shaham had promised the Temple Mount would be open to Jews on Sunday. On Thursday, Shaham was forced to take a leave of absence following an investigation into charges of sexual harassment and improper sexual relations with a policewoman.
Thousands of Jews flocked to the Western Wall on Saturday night and Sunday for Tisha Be’av, when Jews fast in mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples.