police bar Temple Mount Faithful ceremony
By Etgar Lefkovits
JERUSALEM (October 4) - In a reversal
of policy, Jerusalem police announced last night that they would not
permit members of the ultra-nationalist Temple Mount Faithful to
drive two symbolic "cornerstones" for a third Temple to a
parking lot outside the walls of the Old City near the Dung Gate
A similar ceremony the group held two months ago on Tisha Be'av, the
day marking the destruction of both Temples, sparked Arab rioting on
the Temple Mount.
"Due to the group's public announcements that it plans to hold
the ceremony on the Temple Mount, in complete contradiction to the
terms agreed upon with police, it was decided not to allow the
ceremony to proceed," Jerusalem police said in a statement last
Just Monday, Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Mickey Levy had said that
"in a democratic state" the group had the right to conduct
its cornerstone ceremony, even though it was viewed by many as an
The police chief stressed, however, that the stones would not be
allowed inside the walls of the Old City, let alone on the Temple
Police said they were angered that the group reneged on its earlier
agreement by putting out erroneous information.
For his part, the group's leader, Gershon Solomon, lambasted the
police reversal, calling it a "capitulation to Arab threats of
violence" and an "ugly last-minute trick" which
prevented the group from appealing to the Supreme Court in time for
today's planned ceremony.
Solomon acknowledged that the group's fliers spoke of a
"cornerstone laying ceremony on the Temple Mount," but
said that lower down the advertisement stated that the ceremony
would be held at the Givati parking lot near the Dung Gate.
He said that the group would hold a demonstration at the Western
Wall plaza tomorrow morning to protest the police reversal, which he
accredited to the threats of Arab MKs.
In the previous such gathering in July, only 50 members of the group
actually turned out.
On Sunday, the police chief spoke by phone with several Arab MKs in
what appears to have been a fruitless effort to ensure law and order
was maintained at the ceremony.