Early Friday, the Israeli police restricted entry to Jerusalem’s Old City – not just Temple Mount – to men over the age of 50 in light of information that young Palestinians planned to use Friday Prayers at Al Aqsa for major disturbances. Access for women was unrestricted. Surrounding streets were closed. The Old City was therefore placed under partial curfew.
The security cabinet’s overnight session Thursday empowered the police to determine whether or not to leave the metal detectors in place at the Temple Mount gates. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chaired the session, after which a statement was released early Friday: “Israel is committed to the status quo on Temple Mount and freedom of access to the holy places. Israel is also committed to preserving the security of all worshippers and visitors on Temple Mount. The cabinet authorizes the Israeli Police to take any decision necessary for securing free access to the holy places in complete safety and in accordance with public order.”
Overnight, ahead of Friday Prayers, the police spread out and stopped buses from driving large numbers of Israeli Arabs from the north and the Triangle from entering Jerusalem.