Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to discuss on Thursday a petition against a decision this week by Jerusalem District Police commander Maj. Gen. Doron Yedid to close the Temple Mount to Jews on Jerusalem Day for the first time in 30 years.
Most years, the police not only allow Jewish visitors into the Temple Mount compound on Jerusalem Day, they expand visiting hours to accommodate the thousands of extra visitors who come to celebrate the annual holiday marking the reunification of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War.
This year, however, Jerusalem Day takes place on June 2, which falls during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
It is standard practice for the Jerusalem police to shut the Temple Mount to Jews for the last few days of Ramadan, when hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshippers traditionally visit the site.
On Monday, the various Temple Mount activist groups were infuriated after they were notified that this year, the Mount would be off-limits to Jews on Jerusalem Day because of the conflict with Ramadan.
Students for the Temple Mount and the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation said in a joint response: “We will not accept more discrimination against Jews at this holy place, and certainly not on the day [marking] the precious site’s liberation.”
The court could decide to instruct the police to open the Temple Mount to Jews on June 2, but restrict the hours. No matter how it rules, the decision will likely have ramifications for years to come.
This article first appeared on Israel Hayom.