Temple Mount “Worshippers,” Palestinian and Jewish

When is a “worshipper” not a worshipper? A) When the “worshipper” is not praying or engaging in any kind of religious ritual, but is merely visiting a holy site. B) When the “worshipper” is engaged in a violent clash with police, not prayer. C) Both of the above.

Photo captions Sunday by leading news agencies Reuters and Associated Press confused both categories of non-worshippers for worshippers. In the first case, captions misidentified Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, as worshippers, even though Jewish prayers and rituals are forbidden on the site, and Israeli police strictly enforce this prohibition. The Jewish visits on the solemn fast day of Tisha B’Av, marking the destruction of the two temples which once stood on the site. follow:

Jewish worshippers visit the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, as Israeli police clash with Palestinian worshippers as they mark Eid al-Adha on the compound in Jerusalem’s Old City August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

 

Palestinian women confornt [sic] Jewish worshippers as the enter al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug 11, 2019. Clashes have erupted between Muslim worshippers and Israeli police at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. Tens of thousands of Muslims had flocked to the site in Jerusalem’s Old City early Sunday for holiday prayers, police said. Jews are also observing on Sunday the Ninth of Av, a day of fasting and mourning for the destruction of the two Biblical temples which stood at the site in antiquity. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Notably, the Reuters caption above notes the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha but fails to mention that the day also marked the solemn Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av, commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples which stood on that very site. It is the Jewish day of Tisha B’Av which drew the Jewish visitors to the spot, and thus the Jewish date should have been mentioned, especially given that the caption did note the Muslim holy day.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of Muslims observing the festive holiday of Eid al-Adha and some 1700 Jews observing Tisha B’Av all ascended to the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred site in Judaism. Angered by the notion of Jewish visitors to the site during the Muslim holy day, Muslims clashed with Israeli police. As the Associated Press reported (“Muslims clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site“):

Large numbers of Palestinians had gathered at the gates of the compound early Sunday after rumors circulated that police would allow Jewish visitors to enter the site. The protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and threw stones at police, who then charged into the compound while firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

Israeli police had initially barred entry to Jewish visitors, but reversed their decision after the clashes broke out and allowed them to enter. Several dozen entered the site under close police escort and Muslim worshippers began throwing chairs and other objects at the group. The Jewish visitors left the compound shortly thereafter.

As for the second category of non-worshippers misidentified as worshippers, both AP and Reuters published numerous cpations inaccurately characterizing Muslims engaged in violence against Israeli police as “Palestinian worshippers.” Clearly, those engaged in stone-throwing and shouts at the police (“With our soul and blood we will redeem you, Aqsa,” per this Reuters story) are rioters, not worshippers.

The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background as Israeli police clash with Palestinian worshippers on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha, in Jerusalem’s Old City August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

 

Israeli police clashes with Palestinian worshippers at al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug 11, 2019. Clashes have erupted between Muslim worshippers and Israeli police at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Palestinians who took part in violent clashes Sunday with police on the Temple Mount are worshippers no more than these Palestinian revelers enjoying the festivities. They, too, visited the Temple Mount for the holiday of Eid al-Adha, and both Reuters and AP correctly refrained from referring to them as “worshippers.”

Women wear colourful wigs as the Dome of the Rock is seen in the background during celebrations marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

 

Palestinains [sic] celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.in [sic] front of the Dome of then Rock shrine in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Muslims rioters throwing rocks are worshippers no more than Muslim revelers throwing balloons and confetti.