Jerusalem Day

Palestinian Attacks IDF Soldier During Jerusalem Day Event in West Bank

Incident comes amid increased tensions in the capital over observance of Jerusalem Day; Israel Police stops right-wing MKs from leading prayers on Temple Mount.

A Palestinian man attempted to stab an IDF soldier securing a Jerusalem Day event near the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

Preliminary reports indicated that the soldier, who was protecting a cycling trip organized to mark Jerusalem Day, was unharmed and that the assailant was seriously wounded in the struggle to subdue him.

The incident took place as large police and military police forces were deployed across the capital in preparation for possible confrontations between East Jerusalem residents and right-wing marchers marking Jerusalem Day.

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.