Jerusalem’s most sacred site, the ancient Temple Mount compound – where both biblical Temples once stood – will be closed to all non-Muslim visitors during this year’s “Jerusalem Day” celebrations, which mark the city’s reunification under the sovereignty of the Jewish state.
The decision was made by Israel’s police, which is tasked with maintaining the security over the ancient compound. According to a police statement, “Every Year the Temple Mount is closed to visitors during the last days of the (Muslim) month of Ramadan, for reasons of public safety and public order.”
This year, however, Jerusalem Day occurs on last days of Ramadan– June first and Second – which has apparently led Israel to make a decision on providing precedence to Muslim worshipers over Israeli citizens that aspire to celebrate the city’s ‘reunification’ – a measure undertaken for concrete security concerns
While this decision once again raises questions about the true sovereign over the Temple Mount, it is not unprecedented, considering that a similar dilemma ultimately saw an identical resolve in 1988, when Jerusalem Day fell on the Muslim Ramadan holiday.
It is important to note that the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and the location of the Al-Aqsa mosque, is the third holiest site in Islam. That is why, contradicting the fundamental international law of freedom of worship, non-Muslims are only allowed to visit the site at certain times of the day and week, but are barred on penalty of incarceration from praying or displaying non-Muslim symbols.
While TV7 sought to clarify the matter with the Police Spokesperson’s unit, it was ‘not immediately available for a response, “due to the sensitive nature of the matter.”‘ That said, TV7 will continue to follow this report for any future updates.