Some Christian tourists visiting the Temple Mount have been forced by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf to wear garments adorned with bright yellow stripes, some Israeli tour guides have denounced. The choice of color does not appear to be a coincidence, as in the past yellow garments symbolized non-Muslims’ diminished status in the world of Islam.
The Waqf is the Jordanian entity that has a custodial status at Jerusalem’s holy sites. The Temple Mount is known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands. Non-Muslims, including Jews, can visit the compound where the Holy Temple of Jerusalem used to stand only under severe restrictions.
About two months ago, a Norwegian Pastor who prefers to remain anonymous led a group of 35 Christian tourists on a visit to Israel. The pastor arrived a week ahead of the group to prepare for the trip. He ascended to the Temple Mount with three Christian women. When they arrived, representatives of the Waqf approached the group and instructed them to wear special garments they provided. The long brown garment covered their entire body and they were also required by the Waqf to wear a large head covering. The garments had a prominent yellow stripe running down the sides.
The pastor explained that he had visited Israel dozens of times and ascended the Temple Mount several times in the past. This was the first time he had been required to wear the strange garb. He added that the women felt humiliated. The pastor described the episode to Amit Barak, the head of the Jerusalemites Initiative and a tour guide. He emphasized that due to the humiliating incident, he will no longer take groups to the Temple Mount.