Israel Security Forces Deployed Across Capital Ahead of Jerusalem Day Events

Report Palestinian attempts to stab IDF soldier in West Bank; Police stop National Union MKs from leading prayer on Temple Mount.

Oz Rosenberg
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Oz Rosenberg

Large police and military police forces were deployed across the capital on Sunday, in preparation for possible confrontations between East Jerusalem residents and right-wing marchers marking Jerusalem Day.

Palestinian attempted to stab an IDF soldier who was securing a Jerusalem Day event near the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank.

Preliminary reports indicated that the soldier was unharmed and that the assailant was seriously wounded in the struggle to subdue him.

Last year, the so-called Flag March attracted tens of thousands of young people, who marched through Arab neighborhoods chanting slogans such as "death to Arabs." Twenty-four Jews and Arabs were arrested during the event.

This year, organizers have promised to prevent racist chants, and left-wing activists are planning a counterdemonstration.

Police forces have been deployed all along the march's planned route, with security forces also positioned near the Western Wall and near shopping centers and populated areas. The police initially declined to approve the requested route in East Jerusalem, but eventually bowed to political pressure.

Earlier Sunday, as part of Jerusalem Day events, National Union MKs Uri Ariel and Michael Ben-Ari arrived at the Temple Mount accompanied by a group of about 20 right-wing activists to conduct a tour of the site.

Originally, Ariel and Ben-Ari were supposed to be joined by fellow National Union MK Aryeh Eldad, along with Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) and Otniel Schneller (Kadima), who all cancelled at the last moment.

During the tour, four or five of the activists, including Ben-Ari himself, kneeled to pray on the Temple Mount, with a nearby police force preventing them from doing so.

However, as a result of the questioning of two the group's participants following the act, the tour's leader, Yehuda Eztion, a one-time member of the Gush Emunim Underground, sat on the ground and refused to move on.

He was then forcibly removed by police and arrested, with MK Ben-Ari confronting police officers to try and prevent the arrest.

Read this article in Hebrew

Jerusalem Day Flag March demonstrators outside of the Old City of Jerusalem in 2011.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

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