Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to prohibit the entry of Jewish visitors and tourists to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem until the end of Ramadan, in an attempt to avert additional clashes.
Jewish worshippers will be prevented from ascending to Judaism’s holiest site during the 10 last remaining days of the Muslim month, as was the case in previous years under different Israeli governments.
The decision was accepted after a “comprehensive situation assessment” and based “on the unanimous recommendation of the minister of defense, the chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet and the commissioner,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.
“The Prime Minister and the ministers instructed to invest all the necessary operational forces in order to protect the worshippers who will come to the Western Wall, and the delegates who are led to it,” the statement read.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir strongly opposed the decision, despite having attended the security assessment that preceded it.
He said that closing the Temple Mount to Jews following a wave of terrorism is “a serious mistake that will not bring peace but may only escalate the situation.”
"The absence of Jews on the Temple Mount will automatically lead to the dilution of the police force staying on the Mount, which will create a breeding ground for huge demonstrations inciting to murder Jews, and even a scenario of throwing stones at Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall. When terrorism strikes us, we must strike it back with tremendous force, not surrender to it and to its whims,” he added.
The Hamas terror organization has called on Palestinian worshippers to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque and remain there until the end of Ramadan to “protect it” from the “Israeli occupation.”
Over the last week, Israeli police have arrested hundreds of Palestinian rioters at the site after Muslim radicals barricaded themselves inside with Molotov cocktails and stones.
Nonetheless, the last few days have been relatively quiet on the Temple Mount with more than 25,000 Muslims who participated in prayers, according to Ynet news. Thousands of Jews have also visited the compound.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.