Over 2,000 Jews visit Temple Mount in honor of Jerusalem Day amid tensions


JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than two thousand Jews visited the Temple Mount in honor of Jerusalem Day.

Some of the Jewish visitors on Monday clashed with Muslim worshippers at the site as well as with police.

The visitors were warned not to pray, bow, sing or touch anything.

Jerusalem Day celebrates the reunification of the city during the 1967 Six Day War.

Ynet reported that Jewish visitors to the site entered singing and that Arabs responded by shouting Allahu Akbar, or God is great. Police reportedly removed several Jewish visitors from the site that is holy to both Jews and Muslims.

Three boys who raised an Israeli flag in their arms were forced to leave the site by police officers.  One of the boys reportedly was the son of Jewish Home lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich, who posted a video of the flag incident on his Facebook page.

“A day will come very soon, my son, when the Israeli flag will fly with pride on the Temple Mount, in the Temple. I rejoice with you and bless you for the courage and national honor you have demonstrated,” he wrote in the post.

Monday morning saw more than 1,000 Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, by late afternoon more than 2,000 reportedly had ascended to the holy site.

On Sunday afternoon an estimated 45,000 Israeli youths paraded through Jerusalem, including the Muslim Quarter of the Old City as part of the annual Flag March, which ended at the Western Wall. There were no immediate reports of violence. Some 1,750 police officers were stationed along the one kilometer route.

The incidents and tension come a day before the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem, coinciding with the date on the Gregorian calendar when Israel became an independent state 70 years ago.

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