Hundreds planning Temple Mount ascent
The Jerusalem Post (Link) (July 23, 2009)
The Temple Mount Faithful is planning to conduct its annual march to the Temple Mount next week to protest the US demand to cease construction in east Jerusalem, its leader announced Thursday.
Gershon Salomon said that he hoped that this year hundreds would turn out for the Tisha Be'av event to protest US pressure to stop settlement activity, as well as building in eastern Jerusalem. In the past, the gatherings have attracted only a dozen or so participants.
The march by the fringe group, which is pending police approval, has been thwarted by police in years past, when Judaism's holiest site was closed off to non-Muslims on the fast day due to concerns of possible violence at the holy site.
"We're concerned that in the end, the Temple Mount will be part of a Palestinian state, with US backing," Salomon said. "We will say to [US President Barack] Obama, 'Get your hands off Jerusalem and the land of Israel!"
The planned event includes a morning protest outside the Temple Mount, as well as group ascent to the holy site.
Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said Thursday that police will review any request for a demonstration next week.
The 25-hour fast day, the darkest day on the Jewish calendar, marks the destruction of the two ancient temples at the site.
The Islamic group which administers the ancient compound is vehemently opposed to the entry of nationalist Jews to the site.