As Jewish children walked across the Temple Mount on Tuesday (the day after Passover in Israel) Arab protesters yelled at, shoved, spit and threw objects at them and their chaperones. When several of the young children began crying, one of the adults in the Jewish group was heard on the video reassuring them in Hebrew, “Don’t be afraid. There are lots of police here.”
Eyewitnesses who were with the Jewish group told The Blaze Thursday that one young Jewish boy’s sidelocks were pulled, a Jewish man was hit in the head with a shoe, and that pieces of a broken chair were thrown at them.
Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there has been an uptick in Arab disturbances on the Temple Mount over the past two weeks – coinciding with the major Jewish holiday of Passover – that included the throwing of stones, blocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli police and visitors
“There has been an increase in Arab violence both against tourists and Israelis visiting the Temple Mount,” Rosenfeld said, adding that as a result, the holy site was closed to visitors a number of times.
Yisrael Fertig, who regularly accompanies Jewish groups to the Temple Mount, told TheBlaze he has been to the holy site dozens of times, but that his visit on Tuesday was the first time he was targeted in such a manner.
They were spitting at us. The police didn’t realize what was happening. The Arabs began coming near us … shouting at us, threatening they would throw things at us. Then they threw shoes. One guy got a shoe on his hat,” Fertig, who captured the incident on video, told TheBlaze in a telephone interview. “There were hundreds of Arabs (shouting) ‘Leave, get out of here!
Fertig saw Arab protesters lifting up chairs as if they were going to throw them, but were stopped by police. Instead, Fertig and another eyewitness said that they threw pieces of a broken chair at the group.
Fertig told TheBlaze that three of the children in the group saw a 5-year-old boy’s religious sidelocks pulled by one of the Arab protesters.
Shimshon Elbom, who accompanies Jewish groups on visits to the Temple Mount, said one of the men in his group was slapped.“Groups [of Arabs] were there just waiting for Jews to come up and harass them. People were simply sitting there waiting,” he said.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. It is also holy to Christians and considered the third holiest site in the Muslim religion. Anti-Israel Muslims do not recognize the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, despite it being mentioned in the Koran.
(Koran, Sura 2:145, "The Cow") "...They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qiblah), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other's direction of prayer..."
Commentators explain that "thy qiblah" (direction of prayer for Muslims) clearly refers the Ka'bah of Mecca, while "their qiblah" (direction of prayer for Jews) refers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
This Koranic passage appears to show that the holiness of Jerusalem is a Jewish concept, and should not be confused with an Islamic concept. The 13th-century Arab biographer and geographer Yakut noted: "Mecca is holy to Muslims, and Jerusalem to the Jews.
Between 1948 and 1967 when the IDF Jews recaptured the Mount, Jews weren't allowed near the site. After 1967, when Israel recaptured the holy site (and Moshe Dayan took it upon himself to return it to the Muslim Waqf) Jews were allowed to visit the outside retaining wall of the mount (also known as the Western Wall). They are allowed on top of the Temple Mount as long as they don't try to pray, bow their heads, kneel or do anything that may be interpreted as prayer. Christians are also banned from prayer. The only religious group permitted to pray at the site are Muslims. Israeli police enforces that rule.
There is no indication that the visitors attacked by the Muslims atop the Temple Mount on Tuesday were engaged in prayer.