Veteran Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick has vowed he and other Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount will continue to defy violent Muslim extremists, by continuing to ascend Judaism's holiest site in spite of Islamist violence and intimidation.
Referring to violent riots yesterday (Sunday), during the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av, Glick asserted that authorities needed to face up to the presence of Islamist terrorist groups on the Temple Mount, and deal with them accordingly.
"The radical Muslims on the (Temple) Mount are not people who come to pray, but they're actually terrorists by all means, and they're trying to frighten us from going to the Temple Mount," Glick said.
But Glick, who himself was critically wounded in an assassination attempt by a Muslim gunman last year, said he and others would not be deterred from visiting the holy site.
"We will continue to come to the Temple Mount," he vowed.
"We call on all Jews and all non-Muslims… and believers in God to come to the Temple Mount, because the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world, and we will not allow any violent people… any terrorists, to scare us away."
The government for its part needed to "show zero tolerance" to such violence, Glick added, calling on authorities to "bring back the dignity and honor this place deserves," instead of effectively abandoning it to extremists who "disgrace God's name."
Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jews – and other non-Muslims – are forbidden to perform any acts of worship on the Temple Mount, including uttering prayers, due to Muslim threats of violence. Visibly-religious Jews are scrutinized carefully by police and arrested if suspected of praying.
The Temple Mount is the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the latter of which was destroyed in 70 CE.
It is also the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which is built atop the ancient Jewish ruins.
In recent years Muslim groups have sought to deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount altogether, claiming it as an Islamic holy site and seeking to prevent growing numbers of Jews from visiting it via organized harassment campaigns and outbursts of violence.