Despite Muslim riots and Hamas threats, a new record was set for the highest number of visitors a day on the Temple Mount.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
At least 70,000 Israeli from all over the country proudly participated in the Flag Parade celebrating Jerusalem’s Day on Sunday night, ignoring Hamas’ threat to attack Israel.
The Jerusalem Day celebrations, marking the victory during the 1967 Six-Day War and the reunification of Israel’s capital, include a parade in which tens of thousands of Israelis march with flags through the city’s center and then through the Old City while entering it through the Damascus Gate.
In one of the most joyful and memorable marches in recent years, families, schools, youth groups and public officials marched with tens of thousands of Israeli flags through Jerusalem’s streets, celebrating the 55th anniversary of Israel’s victory and the reunification of its capital.
The police deployed about 3,000 officers to secure the Jerusalem Day events and the traditional parade.
Police forces contended with a number of incidents of Arab rioting, stone-throwing incidents, and clashes in the Old City area. Vehicles were damaged and a number of police officers and civilians were lightly injured. The police arrested more than 60 suspects in connection with the various violent incidents. Five policemen were lightly injured in the disturbances.
A record number of 2,626 Jews ascended the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day, a 126% increase from the last peak, set in 2018 when 2,084 Jews visited in one day.
Despite Muslim riots, Hamas threats, and the police’s challenge in accommodating the thousands of Jews who arrived, a new record was set for the highest number of visitors a day. Hundreds more were unable to enter the Temple Mount due to the police’s limitations.
The Jerusalem Day events were conducted as usual despite Hamas’ repeated threats to attack Israel, threats it failed to follow through with. After saying it would fire missiles at Israel, Hamas did not act in any way.
Hamas is apparently not ready for another military clash with Israel, as it is still licking its wounds from Operation Guardian of the Walls from a year ago, because it is interested in maintaining the civilian relief measures Israel has recently granted to the Gaza Strip, and because it is still in the process of preparing for the next attack on Israel.
In refraining from attacking Israel as it threatened to do, Hamas exposed its Achilles heel to Israel. However, Hamas received a “ringing slap in the face” that it will not forget, and as a popular movement that is anxious about its status on the Palestinian street, it is already planning its next move, and therefore, attacking Israel in the near future is not off the table, Israeli officials believe.
Israeli analyst Yoni Ben Menachem, of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), noted that the Jerusalem Day events ended with an Israeli victory in the battle of minds between Israel and Hamas over sovereignty in Jerusalem.
“Hamas maintained restraint despite its promises, the Palestinian street is disappointed but Hamas promises a response at the right time for it,” he said.