Police in Jerusalem are on high alert on Monday, ahead of expecting rioting in the capital due to the convergence of both the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement – ed.) and Eid Al-Adha.
Clashes between worshipers have been common each year that the two holidays fall out on the same day. Ahead of expected trouble, thousands of Israel Police officers have been deployed throughout Jerusalem, as well as 800 Border Police officers. This, in addition to measures limiting Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount.
Police will not only guard the Temple Mount and Jerusalem's Old City, hundreds of officers have been assigned to patrol mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhoods as well, Walla! News reports – including Pisgat Ze'ev, Neve Yaakov, Beit Hanina, Beit Safafa, Armon HaNetziv, and several villages surrounding Jerusalem.
Police said that police action will focus on maintaining public safety, prevention of terrorist activity, maintaining roads and public order in Jerusalem.
Officers will also reinforce checkpoints and be stationed around popular synagogues and holy sites in the capital, they added.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also decided Tuesday to close all border crossings in Judea-Samaria and to Gaza to Palestinian Arabs over Yom Kippur, as is now routine on every major Jewish holiday, from Tuesday morning until Wednesday at midnight. Any transport between crossings, other than medical emergencies and humanitarian needs, will be subject to approval by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Haifa and Akko (Acre) also made special preparations ahead of the two holidays, as both cities have a high level of integration between Israeli Arabs and Jews.
In Haifa, a special interfaith meeting with leaders from all religions was held earlier this week to address potential problems. Schools, synagogues, and mosques held information sessions about both holidays throughout the city ahead of the holy days, and fliers have been distributed city-wide calling for calm and respect. Akko took similar measures.
"Despite the different religious practices, the spirit of Haifa prove itself once again," Haifa's mayor, Yahav Yonah, stated Tuesday morning. "Our residents feel committed to the spirit of understanding and tolerance and I have no doubt that the holidays will pass in peace and mutual respect."