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Police close Mount after just one hour

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

The police on Thursday closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors at 10 A.M., an hour after the site had been opened and an hour earlier than anticipated.

During the hour when the mount was accessible to non-Muslims, it was visited only by tourists and secular Israelis. No religious Jews or members of the Temple Mount Faithful were allowed to enter the area. The previous day, police had permitted them to do so.

Rabbi Shlomo Edri, a Shas activist who came to the site with a group of 30 supporters of a Third Temple from Ashdod, Beit Shemesh, Beit El and Itamar, said: "Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi declared that it is an insult to the Jewish people to close the Temple Mount to them. We came to protest against this insult, to go onto the mount and to stand at the site of the two Temples. The police at the site turned us back time and again. They kept telling us we could enter in a few minutes ... It's not fair to differentiate between Jews wearing sun hats and Jews with beards."

Another prospective visitor, Rabbi Yosef Alboim, also protested. "Only tourists and people who looked like non-Jews were allowed to enter," he said. "Religious Jews remained outside. It is a terrible disgrace."