Police Chief to Tourists: Return to Jerusalem

Commissioner Danino asks Israelis to go back to living life normally in the Holy City but admits situation is tense.

Hezki Baruch, Gil Ronen ,

Danino with officers.
Danino with officers.
Hezki Ezra

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino toured eastern Jerusalem Sunday and spoke to police and Border Police officers who are part of the beefed up force patrolling the city streets, following a spate of terror attacks.

"The situation is very sensitive and tense,” Danino told the press. “Any serious event or terror attack could send us backward immediately and therefore the main idea now is to see how we can maintain alertness and the high operational level.”

Asked about the numerous arrests that have been carried out in eastern Jerusalem, of Arabs who shot fireworks, threw firebombs and hurled rocks at Jews and at security forces, he said: “I sincerely hope that we will continue with the activity that we are carrying out, of prevention and arrests. The aim is to take care of the inciters, of those connected to terrorism and those connected to the throwing of rocks and firebombs.”

"We will continue with Operation Guardians of the Walls until we see that we have brought back to Jerusalem the level of safety that we aspire to,” he added.

Danino said that tourism in the capital is still below normal and issued a call for normalcy: “I call on everyone to go back to Jerusalem and continue to do everything that we did before the difficult period that we experienced.”

The commissioner insisted that the police allow freedom of religious practice for all people who ascend to the Temple Mount. “In the last few weeks we are maintaining the status quo, Jews and Arabs ascend to the Temple Mount in the days and hours that were set,” he stated.

''I think we have some Knesset members who set an agenda to change the status quo on the Temple Mount," he reiterated. "Not only do I not retract the things I said, but I add the announcement that I will not allow these Knesset members to visit the Temple Mount."

Last week, however, Danino made a series of statements opposing visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, sparking outrage over his support for the continued discrimination against Jews visiting the Mount, who are banned from praying by the Jordanian Waqf.

"Anyone who wants to change the status quo on the Temple Mount - it (should be) forbidden for him to go up there," Danino said at a conference in Sderot. "I banned (Likud MK Moshe) Feiglin from ascending the Mount until I had no backing from the attorney general. This is a mistake, to allow someone who is a symbol of (the movement to) change the status quo."

"We want quiet and to restore security," he continued. "We are saying all the time 'let's do everything to not escalate the situation.' Again and again we go back to the Temple Mount - this is a place that is holy to many religions and we favor maintaining the status quo in order to maintain the quiet there."



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