Muslim harassment of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount may have eased off somewhat over the past few days, as Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan seeks to outlaw the Islamist groups responsible for orchestrating the violence, but activists say his own police are still implementing draconian measures against Jews seeking to ascend.
Police on the Temple Mount detained a Jewish youth Tuesday morning, for filming them as they informed another member of the Jewish group that he was banned from entering the holy site. No reason was given for the ban, but police did not take kindly to being filmed and promptly arrested the second youth, even though it is not illegal to film police.
The youth was released shortly afterwards, but only after being forced to erase the recording from his phone, according to the Honenu legal rights group.
The arrest was recorded by the first man, who can be heard challenging police over their conduct. For reasons unknown, police did not arrest him.
Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jews and other non-Muslims are forbidden from worshiping on the Temple Mount. Only Muslims are allowed to pray at the holy site, which they call "Al Aqsa" after the mosque and Islamic complex built atop the ruins of two Jewish temples which once stood at the site.
Jews or Christians suspected of breaking the rules by praying are arrested and often subjected to prolonged bans from the site.
Activists have challenged the measures as discriminatory and illegal, but despite several court rulings in their favor police have maintained the restrictions – which also limit Jewish visits to a few hours per day, as well as limiting the size of Jewish groups – citing "security concerns."
At the same time, Muslim extremists regularly harass Jewish visitors in a bid to dissuade Jews from visiting at all. Despite that, increasing numbers of Jews are ascending each year, defying the threats.