Temple Mount reopens to Jewish visitors

Jul 17, 2017

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Temple Mount was reopened to Jewish visitors three days after being closed following a terror attack¬†that killed two police officers.

Both Jewish visitors and tourists were allowed on the holy site Monday, a day after two of the nine entrances reopened to Muslim worshippers with metal detectors and security cameras installed. The Mughrabi Gate entrance for Jews and tourists already had metal detectors in place.

Monday marks the first time that Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount are not under scrutiny by guards for the Muslim Waqf, the Islamic trust that oversees the holy site, since Muslims are boycotting the site over the presence of the metal detectors. The Waqf guards usually watch to make sure Jewish visitors do not pray or perform any religious rituals at the site.

Israel closed the site on Friday after three Arab-Israeli visitors opened fire on Israel Police guarding the area, killing two Druze-Arab officers. The three gunmen were shot dead.

Police spent the two days of the Temple Mount closure searching the site for weapons, and reportedly removed their shoes when they entered the holy site to conduct their searches. Knives, slingshots, batons, spikes, unexploded ordnance, binoculars and dummy plastic weapons were found at the site, but no firearms or ammunition, Haaretz reported.

Muslims say the metal detectors and other security measures violate the status quo at the Temple Mount. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will retain the status quo there.