Egypt Condemns Israel for Temple Mount Visit by Jewish Extremists

Egyptian Foreign Ministry joins Jordan in protesting Israeli policy about the Muslim holy site, a day after seven Jews were arrested for violating visitation rules during Tisha B'Av fast.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, July 13, 2015.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, July 13, 2015.Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghanym, Reuters
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry condemned Israel on Monday for permitting Jewish extremists to enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

The ministry's statement came a day after police arrested a number of Jews for violating visitation rules at the site on Sunday, when Jews observed the Tisha B'Av fast marking the destruction of the ancient First and Second Temples.

Egypt also condemned Israel's settlement policy, saying it hindered the ability to achieve a diplomatic resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray during the mourning ritual of Tisha B'Av at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on August 14, 2016.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner, AP

Jordan's King Abdullah made similar statements on Monday telling the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour "Jordan will fight Israeli aggression, which is manifested by the incursion of extremist Israelis into the mosque compound."

A source in the Waqf (the Islamic religious trust responsible for the site in the Old City) told Haaretz that representatives of the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv made a visit to the compound to monitor events there.

On Sunday, seven Jews were detained by police at the Temple Mount and Palestinian youth confronted police, sparking fears of an escalation to violence.

The tension led to authorities to close the Temple Mount to Jews 45 minutes earlier than planned, according to religious organizations.

Police released an opposing statement, saying that Temple Mount visits on the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av, marking and mourning the destruction of the Jewish Temple, had gone according to plan and that the site had been closed at the scheduled time.

Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount at certain times, but are forbidden from praying, reciting blessings or tearing their shirts (a custom of mourning) within the complex. One of the seven was said to have been detained for crying and another for refusing to move from an entrance to the Temple Mount meant only for Muslims.

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