A Chief Rabbi in Israel has accused Jews who visit the contested Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem of provoking Palestinians into violence, saying trips there should be considered a serious crime punishable by death.
"Jews must not go to the Temple Mount and provoke the Arab terrorists," he said, the Times of Israel reported. "This must be stopped...only in this manner shall the blood of the people of Israel stop being spilt."
His remarks came as hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli Forces in the West Bank, after Hamas and Islamic Jihad called for mass protests proposed plans to enhance Jewish access to the site, knows as Temple Mount to Jews and as al-Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims.
Hard-line Jewish activist Yehuda Glick, a vocal campaigner for greater Jewish access to the site, was shot and wounded by a Palestinian in October.
Sitting just above the Western Wall the compound comprises the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
The chief rabbinate has always opposed Jewish worship there, because, according to traditional Orthodox Judaism, Jews entering the area might stumble upon and profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.
Temple Mount is considered the holiest site for Jews, as it is the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest.
According to scripture, it is where God gathered dust to create Adam, and also the location where Abraham tied up Isaac.
It was also the place where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by Romans in 70 AD.
The Mount is Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina and contains the al-Aqsa mosque. It is considered to be the place where Muhammad travelled to Jerusalem and ascended to heaven.
The site has been administered by an Islamic Waqf (trust), under the authority of Jordan, since the crusades, while Israel has controlled access to it since the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, also implementing a ban on all non-Muslim prayers as a security measure - something Glick wanted to change.