Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to discuss on Thursday a petition against a decision this week by Yerushalayim District Police commander Maj. Gen. Doron Yedid to close the Har Habayis to Jews on Yom Yerushalayim for the first time in 30 years.
Most years, the police not only allow Jewish visitors into the Har Habayis compound on Yom Yerushalayim, they expand visiting hours to accommodate the thousands of extra visitors who come to celebrate the annual holiday marking the reunification of Yerushalayim after the 1967 Six Day War.
This year, however, Yom Yerushalayim takes place on June 2, which falls during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
It is standard practice for the Yerushalayim police to shut the Har Habayis to Jews for the last few days of Ramadan, when hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshippers traditionally visit the site.
On Monday, the various Har Habayis activist groups were infuriated after they were notified that this year, the spot would be off-limits to Jews on Yom Yerushalayim because of the conflict with Ramadan.
Students for the Temple Mount and the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation said in a joint response: “We will not accept more discrimination against Jews at this holy place, and certainly not on the day [marking] the precious site’s liberation.”
The court could decide to instruct the police to open the Har Habayis to Jews on June 2, but restrict the hours. No matter how it rules, the decision will likely have ramifications for years to come.