Hundreds of Jews have already visited the Temple Mount to mark the day of the destruction of the Biblical temples. Police officers on site are checking all ID cards at the entrance to the compound. Security reinforcements are in place throughout the Old City in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of worshipers at the Western Wall towards the end of the fast.

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On Tuesday morning, hundreds of Jews ascended the Temple Mount in honor of Tisha B’Av, the day of remembrance for the destruction of the Temple. The warm weather did not deter the visitors, most of whom have been fasting since sundown on Monday: By 9:00 am, about 250 people had already entered the holy site. The Temple Mount is considered the most sacred site for the Jewish people as it was the location of the two temples who were both destroyed on Tisha B’Av.

Some of the visitors reported “over-checking” after they were required to present identity cards at the entrance to the site, largely due to the recent tensions surrounding the compound.

ID checks at the entrance to the Temple Mount

ID checks at the entrance to the Temple Mount Photo Credit: Yaron Avraham, Channel 2 News

Meanwhile, police preparations continue ahead of the arrival of many worshipers to the Western Wall. The Israel Police reported that thousands arrived during the night at the Western Wall, some of them staying all night to pray. The Western Wall sits at the foot of the Temple Mount and is believed to be a remnant of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 AD. 

Last night, a “Women in Green” march took place in the Old City, in which about 500 people participated. According to their website, the Women in Green are “dedicated to safeguarding our G-d given Biblical homeland.”

Police officers, Border Patrol soldiers and volunteers will be deployed throughout the Old City and around local synagogues in order to maintain public order, ensure the safety of the worshipers and to direct traffic. The Israel Police said in a statement that “the ongoing security system in Jerusalem will be broadened and action will be taken against perpetrators and illegal aliens, with an emphasis on enforcement against their abettors, employers and hosts.”

Reinforcements on the Temple Mount

Reinforcements on the Temple Mount Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

From 5 pm, the Old City will be closed off to private vehicles excluding residents of the area. Vehicles with a handicap permit will be allowed to enter the Old City through the Zion Gate. “The public is asked to refrain from arriving in private vehicles, to use public transportation and to obey the instructions of the police,” the Israel Police said.