In recent weeks, Jerusalem has seen its worst sustained bout of violence since a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. Palestinian assailants have carried out a pair of deadly attacks by ramming their cars into crowded train stations, while a gunman shot and seriously wounded a Jewish activist who has campaigned for greater access to a holy site that is important to Muslims as well as Jews.

The hilltop compound, in Jerusalem’s Old City, is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site of the ancient Hebrew temples. For Muslims, it is the Noble Sanctuary, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the iconic gold-topped Dome of the Rock.

Under a longstanding arrangement, Jews are permitted to visit but not to pray. A growing number of visits by Jewish worshippers, many who seek the right to pray there, has drawn Muslim accusations that Israel is secretly trying to take over the site and sparked violent clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli police.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he will not change that arrangement, but the violence has spread beyond Jerusalem, with deadly stabbings in Tel Aviv and the West Bank last week, while the fatal shooting of a young Arab protester in northern Israel by police – apparently as he was walking away from an officer – has added to the tensions.