According to newly published statistics, in 2014 the Temple Mount in Jerusalem attracted nearly 30% more Israeli Jew visitors than the previous year.
Taking a longer view, the numbers are even more astounding; visits to the Temple Mount by Israeli Jews increased 92% between 2009 and 2014. The Temple Mount is a holy place for all three of the major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
The increase in visits from Israeli Jews can be traced to activist groups who have taken to encouraging visits from both Israeli Jews and tourists, in order to reaffirm the site’s importance for Jewish visitors. The groups believe Temple Mount’s significance has been overshadowed because of restrictions imposed on non-Muslim visitors dictating when they may visit and prohibiting any non-Muslim prayer. For Muslims, the Temple Mount is known as the Noble Sanctuary; it has been the scene of several recent clashes between followers of Judaism and followers of Islam and has had to be closed on more than one occasion due to those incidents.
Visited Temple Mount w friends. Tough to be Jewish there.. Thx Temple Institute pic.twitter.com/mCHI6oW10d
— Ruth Jaffe Lieberman (@RuthLieberman) February 18, 2015
High-profile visitors such as Moshe Feiglin, an outgoing Likud MK, have led to increased calls for reduced restrictions for non-Muslim visitors to the site; including for Jews, who have been very vocal in their desire for fewer restrictions. Under regular circumstances, Jewish visitors are restricted to visits on only three days of the week, and during restricted times. Jews also are not allowed to pray at the Temple Mount, even though it is considered a very holy site in Judaism. The greater numbers of visits & demands for the right to pray at the site have touched off a range of vehement objections to any changes by the Jordanian government. Palestinian religious leaders have also used these demands to incite unrest against Israel.