Jewish activists held a demonstration Thursday to protest anti-Jewish discrimination on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. While Muslims are allowed to pray freely at the site, Jews are allowed to enter the area only in small groups, and may not pray while there.
The Temple Mount is the holiest place on earth according to Jewish tradition. It was the site of the First Temple and Second
Temple.The activists accused police of discriminating against Jews in an attempt to appease the Muslim Wakf religious authority. Police limit the number of Jewish worshipers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshipers and have often closed the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots – despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.
Protesters also spoke out about Muslim desecration of the holy site. While the Wakf claims the site is holy to Islam as the home of the Al-Aksa Mosque, Muslims often use the site for mundane activities such as picnics and soccer games as well as for prayers – activities which Jewish tradition sees as offensive to the holy nature of the area.
The protest was held at the String Bridge (Gesher Meitarim) at the entrance to Jerusalem. Activists said they plan to continue protesting every Thursday leading up to Tisha B'Av, the annual day of mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
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