Tisha B’av Prayers Go on Undisturbed Despite Tumult over Temple Services

Tisha B’Av prayers at the Temple Mount passed without disturbance on Thursday, despite attempts by the “Temple Mount Faithful” to hold prayers on the mount itself.

Police arrested one member of the Kach movement, Rabbi Meir Kahane’s right-wing party, who is suspected of having incited the worshipers to violence.

Several thousand worshipers came to pray at the Western Wall, despite the oppressive heat. But police — and the press — were attracted to several dozen members of the radical nationalist Temple Mount Faithful organization.

The group has been active for years lobbying to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.

Whereas in the past police refused to allow the group to set their feet on the mount, on Thursday they allowed members of the group to enter the mount area in pairs, but only a few yards away from the gate.

But the group faced difficulties not only from police but also by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who cited rabbinical bans on walking on the grounds of the Temple Mount.

All Jews today are considered ritually impure and therefore are forbidden to tread on the holy ground.

In Gaza, meanwhile, two residents of the Shati refugee camp were killed Wednesday, including an 8-year-old boy, Yussuf Raji Salemi, and Ali Mohammad Khalil, 23.

At least five were wounded, according to official figures, while hospital sources said at least 19 were wounded.

Wednesday, the day marking the end of the 20th month of the intifada, began quietly. But around 2 p.m., Salemi was shot under unclear circumstances at the edge of the camp.

Although the army insisted that the boy was not shot by soldiers, because there were no soldiers there at the time, news of the child’s death ignited the camp.

Within minutes, residents were out in the streets, pelting the soldiers with stones. The soldiers returned with live bullets, killing the 23-year-old man. A curfew was clamped on the camp, and quiet gradually returned to the scene.

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