Netanyahu upholds ban on MK Temple Mount visits

Prime minister, internal security minister, discuss escalating Muslim violence; ban on MKs visiting to continue at least into next week.

Ari Soffer ,

Masked Islamists on the Temple Mount
Masked Islamists on the Temple Mount
Muamar Awad/Flash90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan Tuesday afternoon, to discuss ongoing Muslim violence on the Temple Mount.

On Sunday, Islamist groups launched a campaign of organized violence on the holy site, using the Al Aqsa Mosque as a base to launch rock-throwing attacks against security forces and Jewish visitors, in a bid to prevent all visits by non-Muslims to the site during Ramadan.

The riots continued over Monday and into Tuesday - when an elderly Jewish women praying at the Western Wall was wounded by a rock thrown by Muslim extremists from the Temple Mount plaza above.

Responding to the escalating riots, authorities opted to close the Temple Mount to non-Muslims, in a controversial move which drew fire from campaigners, who accuse the government of consistently surrendering to Islamist demands and violence.

Despite that opposition, at the meeting between Netanyahu and Erdan, the decision was made to continue to bar Members of Knesset from visiting the Temple Mount. The topic will be revisited again in discussions next week, after an assessment of the security situation.

Erdan updated Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on the decision to uphold the ban.

A ban on MKs - both Jews and non-Jews - from visiting the Mount was issued at the prime minister's orders last year, in a bid to calm tensions around the site as a wave of Arab terrorist attacks rocked Israel. Arab MKs have regularly used visits to the Temple Mount to publicly incite violence against Jewish visitors.

The wave of terror began with organized Muslim riots on the Temple Mount, which gradually escalated and spread throughout Jerusalem and beyond.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, but Jews are forbidden from worshipping and their visits to the site strictly limited by authorities due to Muslim threats and violence.




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