The Israel Police announced on Sunday afternoon that, following the ongoing riots by Arabs on the Temple Mount, it would impose tighter restrictions on Muslim entry to the compound, effective immediately.
According to the new instructions, only Muslim men over the age of 50 will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount area. Muslim women of any age will be permitted into the compound as normal.
"The police are investing extraordinary efforts in order to allow worshipers to exercise their faith," a statement from the police read.
On Sunday morning, dozens of Muslim rioters attacked the Israel Police on the Temple Mount, ahead of the Sukkot holiday.
A police statement said young Palestinian Arabs "threw rocks and fireworks at police and border police forces," who responded with "riot dispersal means."
No injuries were reported.
The perpetrators were apparently part of the Mourabitoun and Mourabitat, Muslim men and women who serve as guards over the Mount by harassing and occasionally assaulting Jews who visit.
Both groups were recently banned from the Temple Mount for their history of provocative behavior, including violence and incitement.
Violence has been going on at the Temple Mount complex since before Rosh Hashanah, when masked Muslim rioters hurled rocks and fireworks at police on the Temple Mount, as well as firebombs near two entrances to the site. Riots have continued on and off for over a week.
Sunday's rioting was apparently meant to mark the upcoming Jewish holiday – not to attack Jewish visitors themselves – as the Mount was closed to Jewish visitors entirely in anticipation of more unrest.
Following the riots, the police criticized Arab Knesset Members who were present at the Temple Mount Sunday morning, saying they exacerbated the rioting.
“MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab Joint List told everyone that 'closing the Mount to Muslims was a dangerous action, and perhaps unprecedented and a declaration of war on Muslims.' Nothing could be further from the truth,” police said. “The Mount was open to all Muslims, meaning that the charge she made that set off a panic was a false one, designed to do nothing but aggravate the feelings of people and cause riots that led to the attacks on security officials and innocent civilians.
“Jerusalem police will continue to keep extra forces in Jerusalem, and especially eastern Jerusalem, and the areas around the Old City and the paths to the Kotel, to ensure the safety of the many Jews who will be visiting the area on the Sukkot holiday,” police said in their statement. “Police and security forces will continue to act against rioters, arrest them, and bring them to justice.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)