Police trying to crack down on extremist group ‘Returning to the Mount,’ whose members dress like Arabs in order to enter Jerusalem holy site, where Jewish prayer is banned
An extremist Jewish group arranges for its members to disguise themselves as Muslims in order to enter the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, where they quietly recite Jewish prayers while pretending to engage in Islamic worship, according to a report Monday.
The far-right Returning to the Mount group, which advocates Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, has prompted concerns among security officials, who warn that their actions could spark violence at the flashpoint holy site, Channel 13 news reported.
The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, is the holiest site for Jews and the third-holiest shrine in Islam. It is the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; tensions there fueled the 11-day Gaza war in May earlier this year.
According to understandings reached after Israel captured the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray there. Israel maintains overall security at the site, but the Muslim Waqf administers religious activities there.
“We are not prepared to accept the sanctions against Jews that exist on the Temple Mount,” Raphael Morris, head of the Returning to the Mount group, told Channel 13.