Likud minister: We won't concede sovereignty of the Temple Mount

Likud minister says Cabinet, not police, decided to keep magnetometers at entrance to Temple Mount.

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Hezki Baruch,

Muslim worshipers bow to soldiers while praying near Temple Mount
Muslim worshipers bow to soldiers while praying near Temple Mount
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), who serves as a member of Israel's Secrity Cabinet, on Friday said that the Cabinet decided to keep magnetometers on the Temple Mount and did not leave the decision up to the police.

"The Temple Mount is in our hands," Katz said, quoting the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem's Old City during the Six Day War. "We will not cede sovereignty. The State of Israel is responsible for preserving law and order on the Temple Mount.""Contrary to reports, the Security Cabinet decided to continue using every security precaution which was begun immediately following the despicable terror attack, including the use of metal detectors. The State of Israel is responsible for implementing this policy."

Earlier on Friday, Israel Police announced that entry to the Old City and the Temple Mount would be closed to men below the age of 50, and that private vehicles would not be allowed to enter the Old City or the nearby Sultan Suleiman Street.

Two IDF combat units from the Judea and Samaria unit are stationed in the area to enforce the decision.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevi's decision to place magnetometers at the entrance to the Temple Mount is a brave and responsible one. Two policemen have already been killed on the Temple Mount. We must ensure such an event does not repeat itself."

"We must not bow to threats and allow terror to achieve results. We face security challenges today and will face them in the future, but this decision is proper and we must support the police and stand behind them. I stand with the Jerusalem District Police Commander and support his display of leadership, which encouraged the Cabinet to support his decision.

"This is not a political decision - it's a professional and security decision. No one is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.

"I call on all of Jerusalem's Muslim residents to work to calm the atmosphere, not to act violently, and to obey police instructions. Whoever wants to pray - we are happy to see; whoever wants to involve himself in terror and provocations will be punished with a heavy hand."

Dozens of people were injured on Thursday night in riots which broke out between Muslim rioters and the Israel Police at the Lions Gate near the Temple Mount's entrance. Rioters threw water bottles and stones at the police officers near Lions Gate, and the officers responded with stun grenades.

In a Thursday night meeting, Cabinet members authorized Israel Police to make any decisions necessary "to ensure safe and free access to holy places, while ensuring public safety and order" on the Temple Mount.

"Israel must preserve the status quo on the Temple Mount, as well as freedom of access to holy sites," a spokesperson said. "Israel must ensure the safety of all worshipers and visitors to the Temple Mount."








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