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JERUSALEM – A group that led a Jewish protest at the Temple Mount last weekend in hopes of reclaiming the site from its Islamic custodians told WorldNetDaily this morning it will hold monthly protests ”until Jewish sovereignty is restored,” while more than 100,000 Indonesian Muslims rallied yesterday for continued Islamic dominance over the Mount.
”The police blocked most of the people we tried to bring to the Temple Mount last week, so we will continue every month until Jews have a right to pray again at our holiest site,” said David Ha’ivri, director of Revava, a group with the stated mission of ”restoring self-esteem to the state of Israel by restoring national pride and values.”
Revava had announced plans to bring 10,000 Jews to the Mount April 10, prompting Palestinian groups, including Hamas and the Islamic Movement, to threaten violence if a large group of Jews ascended the holy site.
Only about Jewish 200 protesters were allowed past intense security, which included over 3,500 Israeli police stationed at checkpoints and entrances throughout the Old City, the walled section of Jerusalem that houses the Temple Mount.
Demonstrators sang songs and danced, and chanted slogans about reclaiming the Mount for Jewish worship. Several Israeli Knesset members delivered speeches about the importance of the Temple Mount to Jewish tradition.
”It was very hard to get in,” said Revava executive director Yisroel Meir Cohen. ”With all the entrances to the Old City restricted, and police picking who to let into the Western Wall plaza, so many people were told they couldn’t get in.”
Still, more than 10,000 Palestinians, including a top Hamas terrorist, made it last week to the Al Aqsa Mosque, where Muslim leaders vowed violent confrontations with any Jews who ascended the Mount.
Islamic Jihad issued a press release claiming Jews were planning to ”attack” the Mount, which they said would explode the entire region and open an unprecedented confrontation with the ”Zionist entity.”
Hamas leader Hassan Yousef, a senior terrorist from the West Bank who managed to slip past Israeli security into Al Aqsa , told Palestinian worshipers in a broadcast speech yesterday: ”We call on Arab and Islamic nations and all people to immediately move to save the blessed al-Aqsa mosque. This is our soul, and a body can never live without a soul.”
Ha’ivri said: ”While the police didn’t allow many protesters near the site, we were still able to spark dialogue around the world about the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount. The Palestinians responded. And we saw by the Israeli police response that when we speak, we are listened to. We’re going to continue with more and more protests until finally Jews can return to the Mount.”
Ha’ivri said he met yesterday with top Jerusalem police officials, including the heads of intelligence and Old City security, who he says told him ”to stay away from the media.”
“They saw the international attention we received last weekend and realized we are making a very big difference,” he said. “I guess that scares some people here.”
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 Muslims held anti-Israel protests in Jakarta and several other large Indonesian cities yesterday calling for ”protection” of the Al Aqsa Mosque from Jews.
Demonstrators marched down streets trampling Israeli flags and holding signs that read: ”Save Al Aqsa from raid of the Jewish,” and ”Israel: A Terrorist State.”
”We are ready to be martyrs to save Al Aqsa because it belongs to Muslims all over the world,” some protesters in Jakarta reportedly chanted.
The rally was organized by the Justice and Prosperity Party, an Islamic-based Indonesian political party seeking to establish Taliban-like Islamic Sharia law around the world.
The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their planned intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.
Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.
The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It is still open but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered ”sensitive” by the Waqf, the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount.
During ”open” days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any ”holy objects” to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.
”The situation is simply intolerable,” said Ha’ivri. ”This is a Jewish state. The Temple Mount is the most holy Jewish site. We’re not going away until Jews can once again pray there unrestricted.”