The Foreign Ministry released a revealing video showing how radical Islamists barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount to attack police during the two day Rosh Hashanah holiday, which spanned from Sunday night to Tuesday night.
A statement from the ministry noted that on Sunday, "a group of some 150 radical Islamic operatives rioted on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif plaza in Jerusalem's Old City."
"The riots were launched with the intent of undermining the status quo on the Temple Mount, which protects the right of Muslims to pray in the al-Aqsa mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, regardless of their faith, to visit the Mount. The rioters disrupted visits by tourists and Israelis to the Temple Mount plaza – the holiest site in Judaism."
In fact, Israeli law protects the freedom of Jews and other non-Muslims not only to visit the Temple Mount but also to pray there, as the ministry noted by stating, "Israel's official policy, first laid down in its Declaration of Independence, protects freedom of religion and worship for all faiths."
However, after the Mount was liberated in the 1967 Six Day War it was left under the de facto control of the Jordanian Waqf, which has banned Jewish prayer at the holiest site in Judaism in a discriminatory status quo the government recently reaffirmed it intends to maintain.
The ministry noted that in the Rosh Hashanah riots, "the operatives clearly planned their aggression many days ahead: they had barricaded themselves in advance inside the al-Aqsa mosque, where they stockpiled rocks, planks, wooden sheets and fireworks, and also prepared Molotov cocktail firebombs and explosive devices."
Police locked the rioters in the mosque so as to restore order and allow visitors to return to the site. That law enforcement – and not the Arab riots – received widespread condemnation, as Saudi Arabia appealed to the UN to take action against Israel.
The planned riot to block Jewish access to the Temple Mount on the Jewish New Year is part of a pattern that has been repeated numerous times. In July on Tisha B'Av, a day mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temple, Arab rioters similarly barricaded themselves in the mosque to launch an attack.