Courtesy of JNS. Photo credit: Jamal Awad/Flash90
Israeli security personnel stand guard while Jews visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, June 8, 2023

(JNS) — Nearly 50,000 Jews ascended the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Hebrew year 5783, according to the Beyadenu movement, a Temple Mount activist group that monitors Jewish visits to Judaism’s holiest site.

A total of 49,000 Jews went up to the Mount compared to 51,644 last Jewish year, which was a leap year with 13 months.

The Jewish visitors included more than 230 brides and grooms ascending the Mount on their wedding day; 72 teenagers going up to the site for their bar and bat mitzvahs; and 2,000 persons taking Beyadenu-guided tours.

During the Jewish year, 236 visitors were arrested and around 62 were banned from visiting by administrative order.

“The data is reassuring and uplifting. There is stability and consistency in the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount,” said Tom Nisani, Beyadenu CEO.

“Despite intimidations and restrictions that were increased this year by the police, tens of thousands of Jews still chose to ascend to the holiest place in Judaism. There is no doubt that without the unethical police behavior, many more would have ascended. We wish everyone a good year, a year in which there will be more respect toward visitors and a stop to the draconian policies against visitors to the Temple Mount.”

JNS revealed on Tuesday that the Islamic Movement in Israel, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is upping its efforts to incite anti-Jewish unrest ahead of the High Holiday season.

Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy chairman of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, on Saturday urged his followers on social media, to “keep their eyes on Al-Aqsa,” referring to the mosque located atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“For weeks, in fact for months now, the Jewish religious communities have been calling on and mobilizing people to raid the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque,” declared Khatib in a video filmed on the Temple Mount that was seen by thousands of social media users.

He continued: “They are calling for the demolition of our blessed Al-Aqsa mosque at the beginning of a new Hebrew year. You want to start a new Hebrew year by violating the sanctity of our blessed Al-Aqsa mosque?”

In the recording, Khatib charged the Israeli government with waging a religious war. “Remain certain and confident that we are closer to liberation, inshallah [G_d-willing],” he assured Palestinians.

JNS reached out to the Israel Police requesting clarification as to why Khatib is permitted to spread incitement from atop the Temple Mount.

Khatib’s remarks closely resembled rhetoric used by the Hamas terrorist group, the Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, with official Haroun Nasser al-Din warning on Sept. 11 that Israel was planning to “exploit the ‘Jewish holidays’ to carry out raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque.” 

This alleged Israeli scheme is “part of the religious war led by the Israeli government on the Palestinian holy sites,” claimed al-Din, while calling on Palestinians to escalate their “resistance.”

Alleged threats to the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest and built on the site of the ancient Jewish Temples, have long been a rallying cry for terrorism. The 1929 Hebron massacre, in which Arabs murdered 67 of their Jewish neighbors, was sparked by false rumors that Jews were planning to take control of the mosque.

More recently, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have turned the Temple Mount issue and the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” slogan into a major engine for inciting Israeli Muslims against the state. The incitement is conducted in the Palestinian education system, mosques, official media and social media.