Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visiting Temple Mount
Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visiting Temple MountCourtesy

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ascended the Temple Mount this morning (Tuesday) to mark the fast of the Tenth of Tevet. This is his first visit since the elections and it was coordinated with the Israeli Police.

Ben-Gvir arrived at the Temple Mount under heavy security that included his personal bodyguards and other police officers.

The minister said during his visit to the site: "Our government will not surrender to the threats of Hamas. The Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel, and we maintain the freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians, but Jews will also visit the site. Those who make threats must be dealt with with an iron hand."

Minister Ben-Gvir ascended the Mount despite reports Monday that he had agreed to push off his visit after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MK Gideon Sa'ar (National Unity) mocked Netanyahu over the request, tweeting Monday: "Could it be that the prime minister of a fully right-wing government is preventing a minister in his own government from ascending the Temple Mount because of Hamas threats, despite [the fact that Ben-Gvir] was going up regularly [to the Mount] when the government in power was, according to him, 'controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood'?"

Israeli security officials had warned the prime minister that Ben-Gvir's visit could lead to a major escalation with terrorist forces in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

On Sunday, the Hamas terror organization threatened Israel in response to Ben-Gvir's planned visit.

"The extremist Ben-Gvir is trying to convince his voters that he is implementing his promises by breaking into Al-Aqsa (Mosque)," said Harun Nasser El-Din, the Hamas official responsible for the issue of Jerusalem.

"We hold the government of the occupation responsible for any escalation if there is damage to Al-Aqsa (Mosque) or to our people who are clinging to Jerusalem," the Hamas official added.

"We call on our people to protect Al-Aqsa (Mosque), and we are sure that our people will thwart all attempts to impose a new reality on Al-Aqsa (Mosque)."