Shalom Life | November 27, 2014

Age Limit On Muslims Lifted By Israel

Muslims of all ages are now permitted to pray at the holy site.

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: November 14th, 2014 in News » Israel

For once, all was quiet in Jerusalem on Friday night between Israelis and Palestinians after the age restriction for Muslim men was lifted on a holy site in the city.

Previously, there had been a 35 year old age limit for Muslim men looking to pray at the site because authorities believed that violence most often ensued amongst younger generations of men, explained a report by ABC News. Firecrackers and rocks are often thrown during protests at the site, which is considered sacred by both the Jewish and Islamic people’s.

The age limit to the compound has been challenged by Palestinians prior to Friday, and while the dropping of the age limit may have brought (temporary) calm to Jerusalem it may also be a result of diplomatic proceedings the night before. According to ABC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and US Secretary of State John Kerry met up to discuss ways peace could be brought to the area.

Upon the removal of the age restriction, roughly 40,000 people attended prayers at the Jerusalem holy site and there were no reports of violence. However there have been protests that have turned violent in the past, and the weeks leading up to the removal of the age restrictions the Palestinian people have had conflicts with the police as they fear Jewish visitors will attempt to change the arrangement set up that grants access to the site.

Israeli authorities, on the other hand, have expressed that they have no desire to alter the agreement concerning Temple Mount, where much of this tension resides. Although Jewish people may enter the site, which is maintained by Muslim authorities from Jordan, they may not pray there.

According to the report by ABC News, Azzam Khatib, director general of the Waqf, Jordan's Islamic authority which manages the site, said, "40,000 worshippers came today peacefully and prayed and left the mosque quietly. We hope it's a new page. We will monitor the Israeli performance in the coming days and weeks."

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