By Efrat Weiss, Ynet
Despite tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City, some 30,000 worshippers arrived at the Western Wall on Monday to attend the traditional Sukkot Priestly Blessing.
Following recent violent events in the area, police were on high alert and many officers were deployed throughout the allies of the Old City leading up to the Western Wall, in an attempt to prevent any conflict.
Two incidents were already recorded Monday morning: Stones were thrown at dozens of haredim praying at the Mount of Olives. Police and Border Guard officers were able to disperse the riots without using force.
At the Ras al-Amud circle in east Jerusalem stones were thrown at police and Border Guard officers, and the rioters were dispersed. There were no reports of damage or injury in both cases.
Earlier, some 150 young Arab worshippers prayed near the Old City, and refused to leave once prayer was over.
However, police were able to disperse them without having to use any force, and were able to significantly limit the number of Muslim worshippers entering the Temple Mount compound.
Sunday night, the Islamic Movement stressed that nothing would stop Muslim worshippers from going to the Temple Mount to pray. “We will not be deterred; we will keep going to the site. Al-Aqsa is one of the most important things for us,” said a source from the movement.
Hundreds of police and Border Guard officers, as well as volunteers, were deployed throughout the allies of the Old City since the early hours of Monday morning.
On Sunday, Jerusalem District Police Commander Aharon Franco ordered the Temple Mount be closed off to visitors. A top Jerusalem Police official told Ynet, “We will act with determination against any body that tries to disrupt order.”
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch was also at the Western Wall on Monday, in order to oversee police preparedness.
As he entered the site, right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir shouted at the minister, “The police should take care of those who threaten violence and not show weakness. It is shameful that the Muslims threaten violence and the state of Israel gives in.”
After the violent clashes that took place on the eve of Yom Kippur, riots at the Temple Mount resumed on Sunday. In protest of entry restrictions, some 150 Arabs began throwing stones and empty bottles at police officers near Lions’ Gate. Two officers were lightly injured, and five rioters were arrested.