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Amid rise in terror, Jerusalem ramps up security ahead of High Holy Days

All synagogues will have armed guards for the first time ever

Police officers at the scene of a suspected stabbing attack at Jaffa Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City, Sept. 6, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

For the first time, the Jerusalem District Police announced that every synagogue in the city will have an armed security guard during the period of the upcoming High Holy Days, which begins on Friday evening.

“There is an increase in alerts and threats of all kinds exist on the days of Selichot, and on the weekdays, as well as on the holidays,” Doron Turgeman, the commander of the Jerusalem District said, according to a Ynet news report.

Unlike in Europe, where most synagogues have security measures and police protection around the clock, Israel's houses of prayer do not typically have armed security present.

The police will reportedly create additional checkpoints and crowd control measures to grapple with the tens of thousands of expected visitors to the Western Wall plaza, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are significant holidays, and even though there are no simultaneous Muslim events, this remains a challenge,” Turgeman told Israel's Channel 12 news.

“At the Western Wall, the limit of participants is almost 20,000 people at any given time. As soon as the place is full, the police will stop the entry from the Jaffa Gate and the other gates [of the Old City].”

The police will dynamically reroute Muslim and Jewish worshippers on their way through the Old City in Jerusalem to the Temple Mount to keep them from harming each other.

“Eight people were banned from the Temple Mount just yesterday,” said Turgeman, adding that “there are 110 people being addressed in preventive actions because of the suspicion that they will incite and carry out hostile activities."

On Wednesday, the police announced that they had completed all the necessary preparations in the nation's capital for the upcoming holiday events.

In Jerusalem alone, this year saw 19 terror attacks while 31 other incidents were thwarted by the police.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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