Western Wall on Tisha B’Av

Record numbers visited the Western Wall for Tisha B’Av last weekend.

Over 150,000 worshippers participated in mourning and the fast at the holy site.

Volunteer organisations and Kotel Heritage Foundation distributed snacks for those wishing to break the fast before travelling home.

Although thousands of worshippers participated Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah treat 224 emergencies.

Officials said 147 emergencies were due to tiredness and dizziness, eight people suffered dehydration and there were 69 cases of fainting.

MDA provide an emergency response commented MDA director Eli Bin.

He added, “I am very thankful that we did not have any cases out of the ordinary, something that points to those who were fasting paying heed to the instructions issued prior to the fast.”

Jerusalem District Police boosted numbers ahead of the fast in the Old City due to security concerns as it fell on the same day as Eid.

Large numbers of Muslims gathered at Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark Eid but there were disturbing scenes at The Temple Mount as worshippers clashed with Israeli security forces on Sunday morning.

Four officers were reportedly wounded.

Police dispersed worshippers using stun grenades but clashes resulted in security officials banning some 200 Jewish worshippers from The Mount.

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich of the United Right Party criticised the decision.

“The closure is a shame and disgrace of the kind that reminds us why we are fasting today,” he said.

Notwithstanding Smotrich’s comments, security officials closed the Gates of the Tribes area of the Mount to Muslim worshippers following the incident.

“At one point, thousands of worshippers who were at the Temple Mount crowded into the area of the Mugrabi Gate and began rioting, shouting for nationalist slogans and throwing stones, chairs and other objects at the officers,” explained a police spokesman.

“In light of this, the district commander issued an order to disperse the rioters up using the crowd dispersal methods and restore public order.

“The Jerusalem District commander will carry out a further situation assessment later in the day.”

The closure decision was eventually reversed as trouble subsided.

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By Howard Lawrence