As thousands mark Jerusalem Day, clashes erupt on Temple Mount

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While Israelis celebrated the 52nd anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification under Israeli rule on Sunday, clashes broke out on the Temple Mount as police cleared the way for Jews to enter the site.

Typically, the Temple Mount remains closed to tourists and Jews during the final days of Ramadan. But this year police decided to open the site to a certain number of Jews who wanted to mark Jerusalem Day on the very land that Israel recaptured in the 1967 war.

As police entered the compound to clear the way for the Jewish visitors, hundreds of Muslim rioters threw chairs and other items in an effort to keep them out. Five people were arrested. Police quelled the violence and some 120 Jews were allowed to enter. The rest of the day passed without incident.

Jerusalem Day – a national, not religious holiday – celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem and Israel’s capture of the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six-Day War. The day tends to be contentious as thousands of Jews wearing and waving Israeli flags march through the streets of the city including through Muslim neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and the Old City.

On that day, 52 years ago, Israeli soldiers fought in hand to hand combat with Jordanian soldiers (again proving there has never been a “Palestine”—Jerusalem was part of Jordan, not Palestine). After fighting through the night, the IDF won and headed for the Old City. Soon, they were on the Temple Mount.

A young soldier had been given an Israeli flag a few days before. An old woman told him that the flag flew in Jerusalem before the Jordanians seized it in 1948. On the Temple Mount, he hung the flag again. We have the recording of Commander Motta Gur, when he shouted over the radio, “Har Habayat b’yadanu! … The Temple Mount is in our hands!” Those words are the title of CBN’s film on the retaking of Jerusalem and are famous throughout the land here in Israel.

Police typically brace for violence on this day, especially only two days after two Jews were stabbed in the Old City by a terrorist. The victims were lightly wounded.

Meanwhile, in New York, 40,000 Israel supporters took to the streets of New York as part of the annual Celebrate Israel Parade, also on Sunday. They were joined by Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo along with other politicians, organizations and schools.

“In the face of the growing wave of anti-Semitism, we are demonstrating strength and unity today,” Danon said. “Despite the differences of opinion, the connection with the Jewish people in Israel is at the heart of the relationship between American Jewry and Israel.”

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