'Removal of metal detectors could hurt us down the road'

Deputy Defense Minister says Israel is perceived as weak for caving on Temple Mount security.

Benny Tocker,

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) expressed regret on Thursday that the position of the Jewish Home party on the issue of security at the Temple Mount was not accepted by the Security Cabinet.

"As we know, the two ministers from the Jewish Home who are members of the Security Cabinet objected to the removal of the metal detectors, because from the point of view of the State of Israel as a state that does not give in to threats, we should have left the detectors. Unfortunately the Cabinet made a different decision that differs from this position and majority rules, that's how democracy works,” Rabbi Ben-Dahan told Arutz Sheva.

He warned that the decision to remove the metal detectors could harm Israel's security in the future.

"I have no doubt that this reality, in which the State of Israel is perceived as a country that can be threatened and can be pressured into forcing it to withdraw from positions that are important to it from a security perspective is not a good position, which could cause future damage in terms of how the State of Israel is perceived against its enemies,” said Rabbi Ben-Dahan.

"If this feeling that we can be pressured is intensified, the feeling that foreign citizens or countries can threaten us and cause the government to change its position, it will be seen as a weak point that I very much hope will not be exploited in the future by anyone else," he explained.

Rabbi Ben-Dahan expressed hope that the religious discrimination against Jews on the Temple Mount will stop, saying, "If you are a Jewish tourist from abroad or a non-religious Jew, you can do what you want on the Temple Mount and even pray. No one will say a word.”

"The only group that is not allowed to pray, mumble or bend is religious Jews, and it is unacceptable that in the holiest place for the Jewish people, there is no possibility of praying for Jews who want to do so," he continued.

"Of course I am not delving into the halakhic question of whether it is permitted or forbidden to ascend the Temple Mount, I am not one to rule on this. There is the position of the Chief Rabbis over the ages who ruled that it is forbidden to go up to the Temple Mount to pray and there are rabbis who say that nowadays we can go up to the Temple Mount under certain conditions that are permitted,” stressed Rabbi Ben-Dahan.

His comments came after Israel removed railings and scaffolding where security cameras were previously mounted were removed from the entrance to the Temple Mount compound, in accordance with the demands of the Jordanian Waqf, which administers the site.

The security cameras themselves had already been removed earlier in the week, immediately after the Cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors that were placed at the entrance to the compound.

Earlier on Thursday, Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for removing the magnetometers and security devices from the Temple Mount.

"This is a very painful and upsetting morning," Bennett told Army Radio. "Israel has come out of this crisis considerably weakened. Instead of strengthening our sovereignty in Jerusalem, we sent a message that our sovereignty can be appealed - not just on the Temple Mount, but in other areas as well."

"I expect to see an increase in violence in the next few weeks. We live in the toughest neighborhood in the world. When they smell weakness, they hold their heads high. We need to take all plans for helping Palestinians and giving them 'carrots' off the table, and put in their place plans for operations which will end terror," he warned.


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