On Sunday, July 18, over 1,000 Jews traveled to the site of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, to mark Tisha B’Av, a day to mourn and remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples. The nation of Israel commemorates Tisha B’Av with a fast and the reading of the book of Lamentations, along with this pilgrimage to the site.
This visitation, however, was not without conflict. The Temple Mount continues to be the most volatile flashpoint between Jews and Palestinians in the country, often igniting widespread rioting. This year, prior to the arrival of Jews traveling to the site, Palestinians barricaded themselves on the Mount in protest, causing rising tensions with Israeli police. Though the Temple Mount is technically in Israel, civil control of the site remains under the control of a Muslim religious group. Historically, prayer on the Mount has been reserved for Muslims only, with Jewish visitors heavily monitored and prohibited from mouthing prayers, singing or even bringing religious books with them. Thus, Tisha B’Av provokes conflict between Jews and Muslims every year. Thankfully, this year the Israeli police successfully dispersed the rioters and allowed for the safe visitation of Jews to the holy site.
Please pray for the safety of the Israeli police and border control as they manage the situation, and for the peace of Jerusalem.