Around 200 Jewish activists threatened to join the Chanukah march
Some 200 Jewish activists are expected to join a contentious Chanukah march in Jerusalem's Old City, the first night of the festival of lights, to protest against Jordan's control over Judaism's holiest site, according to organisers and the Israel Police. In an invite shared on social media, Beyadenu--Returning to the Temple Mount, one of the nine organisations behind the event, said, "This is not just another march, not just another protest! Kick out the [Jordanian Islamic] Waqf and restore full Jewish control over the Temple Mount!"
"We won't win this war only in Gaza," Beyadenu wrote in the invite, calling on the Israeli government to expel "the Nazis and their friends in the Waqf" from the Mount. Dubbed the "Maccabee March" after the Jewish heroes who led the revolt against the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire that culminated in a military victory and the rededication of the Temple almost 2,200 years ago, Thursday's procession is scheduled to depart at 7.30 pm from Tzahal Square in downtown Jerusalem.
A police spokesperson told the Tazpit Press Service that participants will pass through the Damascus Gate into the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The official route ends at the Western Wall Plaza. Marchers will not be allowed to ascend to the flashpoint Temple Mount, the police emphasised. Muslim prayers will continue to be held as usual during all eight days of Chanukah, and "any attempt to violate public order ... will be dealt with decisively," the spokesperson added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement clarifying two points. One dealt with Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, now that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) has surrounded the area in southern Gaza where he was believed to be located. "Last night, I said that our forces could go anywhere in the Gaza Strip," said Netanyahu.
Smoke billows out of a bombarded area in Gaza. Pic/AFP
"They are currently surrounding Sinwar's house. His home is not his castle, and he can flee, but it is only a matter of time until we find him." His second statement concerned getting the Red Cross to visit the Israeli hostages held in Gaza. "I spoke with the President of the Red Cross again and told her to turn to Qatar as it has been proven that they have leverage over Hamas, and demand Red Cross visits with our hostages."
Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics released the data on the total number of people who arrived in Israel from abroad in November. Due to the war in Gaza, there was more than a 90 per cent drop in the number of tourists who entered Israel from November 2022. Thirty-nine thousand visitor arrivals to Israel were recorded (compared to 369,800 in November 2022). 42.1% of these visitors came from the United States. Of these, 38,300 were tourist arrivals (compared to 330,700 in November 2022).
No of Jewish activists joining march
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