On April 19, Israel’s political leadership decided to shut down Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount Compound to Jewish visitors and tourists until the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The decision came in response to recent tensions in Jerusalem in general and Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular.
Sources in the police and government pointed out that there is nothing new about the decision and that the compound has been closed to Jewish visitors every year toward the end of Ramadan. Still, the decision was clearly generated by the violent outburst on the site last Friday, when clashes broke out between Muslim worshippers and Israeli police. Large groups of masked protesters threw rocks and firecrackers, leading to a police response that left many injured. Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi Frej congratulated the police on its April 19 decision, tweeting: “The decision to bar non-Muslims access to Al-Aqsa compound from the end of this week until the end of the month of Ramadan is an appropriate decision at this time.”