Jerusalem 101 Part III: Friday, will Muslim and Jewish Prayers End in Violence?

Just when I thought I would speak about Jerusalem the Puzzle, there’s been more conflict, rioting and killings.

Israel reopened access to the Noble Sanctuary after two days investigating the murder of Israeli police by a Palestinian. The metal detectors installed for safety were also taken down due to Palestinian demands. Thursday the Mufti of Jerusalem ended their two-week boycott to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.1 We hoped the crisis would settle down.

Thousands stormed the Mosque. Instead of praying, some worshippers chose to throw stones at the police and the Jewish holy site, the Western Wall. They mocked Israel claiming victory.2

The Jerusalem Post reported that a few dozen young Palestinian protestors barricaded themselves in the mosque. When attempts by the Waqf to get the youths to leave failed, police entered the compound and arrested them. 128 protesters were injured in the clashes with police. One policeman suffered injuries after being hit in the head with a stone.3

This happened Thursday. As Friday’s promised continuation of “Days of Rage” — to be held on Muslims’ most holy day of the week approaches, it doesn’t look good. Isn’t praying supposed to be Peaceful and fill your heart with love?

Besides the original two Israeli Druze police officers murdered that set off the current situation, seven additional people have died — three Israelis, four Palestinians and over 100 have been wounded as a consequence of rioting.

The three Israelis were murdered in their home while they were enjoying their Shabbat evening meal. They had expected neighbors who were invited to celebrate the birth of the Salomon’s grandbaby — not Omar al-Abed. The nineteen-year-old Palestinian from a neighboring village stabbed to death the grandfather Yosef, 70, daughter Chaya, 46, son Elad, 36, and seriously wounded the grandmother Tova, 68.4

Leil Leibovitz, who writes for Tablet Magazine has calculated that Omar al-Abed’s family (the Palestinian murderer) will now be rewarded for brutally killing the Jews with a monthly lifetime salary from the Palestinian Authority of $3,120. In comparison, Leibovitz noted, “an average Palestinian engineer earns about $1,300 per month.”5

Palestinian teens are taught by the Palestinian Authority’s actions that killing Jews is the best way to care for your family — this mom would call that child abuse.

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) recently reported that payments from the Palestinian Authority to terrorists increased 13%, and 4% to their families for an incredible $355 million for their 2017 budget.6

Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen injured at the “Day of Rage” riots last Friday. The Palestinian demonstrators threw rocks, glass bottles and rolled burning tires. The rioters killed were Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf, 17, Hassan Abu Ghanem, 19, who died at the protests near the Noble Sanctuary and Muhammad Lafi, 18, who died near Abu Dis near Jerusalem. 7

The fourth from the uprising, Mohammed Annan, 26, Thursday succumbed to his injuries.8

It’s so sad to see their ages — so many lost years. Yet to Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, they are “‘martyrs’” who ascended to heaven for Jerusalem.'”9

Now as the weekend approaches, Hamas is calling for another “Day of Rage.”

What’s sadder is the Palestinian Authority, led by none other than President Mahmoud Abbas, their representative to negotiate Peace with Israel, also is calling for another “Day of Rage.”

Abbas said, “Since Israel tried to change the situation, the residents of Jerusalem have risen as one,” he continued. “You have objected to all of the steps, and we have supported you in what you have done and what you are doing. We are with you in everything that you have done and are still doing, as you are causing us pride, and you are taking care of your Al-Aqsa Mosque, your land, your dignity, your people your religion and your holy sites. This is the response to everyone who wants to harm our holy sites. Jerusalem is ours. It is our capital and it is [under] our sovereignty, and therefore what you are doing is right.”10

Harm their holy site by Israel investigating the murder and wounding of Israeli police officers with weapons that were smuggled into their sacred sanctuary? Harm their holy site by Israel initially using metal detectors to prevent other weapons and potential terrorist acts from occurring? Metal detectors are used for security purposes from Mecca (Muslims’ most holy place in Saudi Arabia), to the Vatican and throughout the rest of the world. Trying to see from the others’ viewpoint can be difficult.

The unrest spread in Jerusalem and internationally. A synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey was attacked,11 and pro-Palestinian student campus groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in both the University of Illinois and Florida State University celebrated and encouraged the violence on social media.12

As Abbas’ party Fatah and Hamas plan their massive demonstrations for this Friday, we can only hope these “Days of Rage” don’t turn into the Third Intifada. Was Thursday’s violence the appetizer? With the incitement and the praise for their actions by their leaders, hostilities seem inevitable.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Hotovely pointed out, “The ability of Muslims, next to Jews, next to tourists that are coming from all around the world to this holy place is dependent on the security that Israel is supplying.”13

“They’re creating the problem, the Palestinians, by actually committing a terror attack in [this] holiest place, and then they would like us to do nothing,” Tzipi Hotovely said.14

The Palestinians, according to Hotovely, are lying about the facts, they’re lying about the reality and they’re lying about the fact they created the problem [that led to the security measures].”15

Agreeing with her, is Bassam Tawil, an Arab Israeli reporting for the Gatestone Institute. In his article, “Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors — Who Is Violating What?” he objects to Palestinian distorted perceptions…he agreed Palestinians, not Israelis denied Muslims from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he says the security measures are to save Muslim lives and protect their holy sanctuary, and he believes the metal detectors aren’t what Palestinians want dismantled — it’s Israel’s existence.16

Before Thursday, the Waqf Islamic trust continued to boycott the holy site encouraging thousands not to enter their holy shrine.  THIS WAS NOT ISRAEL PREVENTING PRAYING AT THE AL-AQSA MOSQUE, BUT THE WAQF ISLAMIC TRUST, who is in charge of the compound. Instead, they prayed outside. They blamed Israel, and declared to the world that Israel prevented them from praying in their holy mosque — with many misleading photo opportunities broadcast in all countries.

The predictable Muslim outcry has been heard throughout the world.

The Israeli police placed metal detectors at the access gate leading to the Noble Sanctuary — similar to what exists at the Western Wall or what we are familiar with at our airports. They said it was for security and to Americans that sounds reasonable.

Looking at it from the Palestinian perspective, the security measure is a demonstration of Israel ratcheting up control.

J.J. Goldberg, in his article, “How Israel’s Temple Mount Crisis Became A Showdown — Between Government and Generals,” says Israeli actions were “upsetting the status quo that’s governed the Temple Mount (Jewish terminology for the same location), since Israel captured it 50 years ago. Unspoken was a sense that Palestinians were being punished — forced to stand in long lines and pass through humiliating new inspections.”17

Yet Palestinians hiding weapons in their religious compound, killing police officers who were patrolling the streets (one was shot in the back) in the Noble Sanctuary, and Palestinians preventing Muslims from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque — weren’t they also upsetting the status quo?

This isn’t the first time Israel took what it thought was an innocuous step only to step in … The Palestinians aren’t blind to the metal detectors that non-Muslims have been required to pass through at the other Old City gates for years — wouldn’t they want to for their own protection?

So we wait as Friday Muslim prayers approach, with the theme song of Jaws playing in the background — duh, dah, duh, dah, duh, dah, duh, dah. This isn’t a movie. Will there be another “Day of Rage” and what will it accomplish?

Shabbat is approaching on Friday night as well. As Jews around the world, greet the Sabbath, they say “Shabbat Shalom (Peaceful Sabbath).” On Friday, let’s hope that more level heads will prevail.

I invite you to Join Me on My Journey…


  1. Jack Khoury and Yotam Berger, “Muslim Worshippers Flock to Al-Aqsa Mosque After Prayer Boycott Lifted; 128 Said Wounded,” Haaretz. (accessed 7/28/ 2017).
  2. Times of Israel Staff, “Hamas declares Temple Mount ‘victory,’ calls new ‘day of rage,’ Times of Israel. (accessed, 7/26/2017).
  3. Jack Khoury and Yotam Berger, “Muslim Worshippers Flock to Al-Aqsa Mosque After Prayer Boycott Lifted; 128 Said Wounded,” Haaretz. (accessed 7/28/ 2017).
  4. Jacob Magid, “Halamish terrorist knocked, and the family let him in — neighbor,” The Times of Israel. (accessed 7/23/2017).
  5. The Tower Staff, “Palestinian Who Slaughtered Israeli Family to Receive $3120/Month Reward From PA,” The Tower. (accessed 7/24/2017).
  6. Itamar Marcus,”PMW exclusive Huge increase in PA terror funding in 2017, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). (accessed 7/19/2017).
  7. News Editor, “3 Palestinians Reported Killed Jerusalem Protests Against Temple Mount Security Measures,” Algemeiner. (accessed 7/21/2017).
  8. Jack Khoury and Yotam Berger, “Muslim Worshippers Flock to Al-Aqsa Mosque After Prayer Boycott Lifted; 128 Said Wounded,” Haaretz. (accessed 7/28/ 2017).
  9. News Editor, “3 Palestinians Reported Killed Jerusalem Protests Against Temple Mount Security Measures,” Algemeiner. (accessed 7/21/2017).
  10. Barney Breen-Portnoy, “As Temple Mount Tensions Remain High, Palestinian Authority Leader Abbas Calls for Further Protests,” Algemeiner. (accessed 7/26/2017).
  11. Ben Cohen, “Erdogan Allies Attack Istanbul Synagogue, Warn of Further Violence Over Temple Mount Crisis,” Algemeiner. (accessed 7/21/2017).
  12. Rachel Frommer, “Amid Temple Mount Tensions, Anti-Israel Student Groups in US Celebrate Palestinian Violence Against Jewish State,” Algemeiner. (accessed 7/24/2017).
  13. “Watch Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely Schools Biased Anti-Israel BBC Anchor,” Jewish Breaking News. (accessed 7/26/17).
  14. “Watch Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely Schools Biased Anti-Israel BBC Anchor,” Jewish Breaking News. (accessed 7/26/17).
  15. “Watch Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely Schools Biased Anti-Israel BBC Anchor,” Jewish Breaking News. (accessed 7/26/17).
  16. Bassam Tawil, “Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors“ Who Is Violating What?” Gatestone Institute., (accessed 7/27/2017).
  17. J. Goldberg, “How Israels Temple Mount Crisis Became A Showdown“ Between Government and Generals,” Forward. (accessed 7/24/2017).