Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan on Tuesday called for a change on the Temple Mount that would enable Jewish prayer at the holy site.
The “unjust” status quo needs to be changed on the Temple Mount so that Jews can pray “in the future” on the Temple Mount, the holiest site to the Jews and only the third holiest site to Islam, he stated during an interview with Israel’s 90fm radio. However, when asked, he refused to say what he exactly had in mind.
Jews are currently banned from praying on the Temple Mount and are forcefully removed by police if they are caught reciting even one verse. The Muslim Waqf trails after Jews visiting the holy site to ensure they display no signs of worship.
Responding to the statement, a temple Mount activist told TPS that “the natural and historical right of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount cannot be obliterated.”
Avraham Bloch, a spokesman for the Temple Mount activists’ organizations, thanked Erdan for his “vigorous actions to strengthen Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount and the restoration of the rights of the Jewish people there,” and expressed hope that he will also lead this change.
The organization called for the implementation of the vision of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount. Tens of thousands of Jews ascend every year to the Temple Mount, in short hours overlapping with working hours – which prevents many Jews from coming to the mountain, he noted.
He further thanked Erdan and the Israeli Police for their “determined actions” that enabled Jews to enter the Temple Mount during Tisha B’Av.
A record number of Jews ascended to the Temple Mount on Sunday during the Tisha B’Av day of mourning, despite limitation set by the police and despite the Muslims’ violence.
A total of 1,729 Jews visited the holy site during the Jewish national day of mourning commemorating the destruction of two temples in a time frame of only two hours. This record number consists of a 20% increase over last year’s 1,440 visits which took place over a time span of four and a half hours.
In 2015, only 300 Jews visited the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av.
This record was set despite limitations set by the police on the visits, and despite Muslim attempts to prevent Jews from visiting the site.
The police announced at the beginning of the day that they were shutting down the holy site to Jews as the Muslims were celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Adha, and they feared that the throngs of Muslims would clash with the Jews.
Muslim leaders over the weekend called on Jerusalem’s Muslims to attend prayers at the Temple Mount and ensure that Jews could not visit the site during their day of national mourning.
Hamas hung a mass banner on the Temple Mount conveying their holiday greetings to the Muslim worshippers, in violation of Israel’s sovereignty at the site.
Scores of Jews stood at the entrance to the Temple Mount for hours while fasting, waiting for the police to allow them to enter the Temple Mount.
The Muslims began to riot after their prayers concluded and police forces stormed the compound while using crowd control means. At least four police officers were injured.
The police pushed back the rioters and allowed the Jews to visit the holy site, although in a shorter than usual path.
The “welcomed increase in the number of visitors to the Temple Mount strengthens the sovereignty and the return of Jewish life to the holy place. With the numerical buildup, we will also merit to re-designate the site as a prayer house for Jews and all peoples,” the Temple Mount activists concluded.