Netanyahu Reiterates: Jews Forbidden to Pray on Temple Mount
Following yesterday’s series of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and Gush Etzion, and despite pressure from some members of his coalition to grant Jews freedom of worship on the Temple Mount, the Prime Minister’s Office has reiterated that no such moves are in the works.
“In last night’s security consultation, the Prime Minister made it clear that there will be no change in the status quo on the Temple Mount and that whoever expresses a different opinion is presenting a personal view and not the policy of the Government,” said the PM’s spokesperson Mark Regev.
The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, and also houses the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. The entire area is administered by the Jordanian-run Waqf Islamic trust, and despite its holy status to them Jews are forbidden from carrying out any forms of worship there due to pressure and threats of violence by Muslim groups.
Jewish campaigners are fighting for the right to worship on the Temple Mount, with many calling for the site to be split equally between Jews and Muslims – akin to the arrangement currently in place in Hevron’s Cave of the Patriarchs.
Hundreds are expected to attend a Jerusalem rally today in protest of the attempted murder of prominent Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick last week, and to call for greater Jewish rights at the Temple Mount itself.
That cause has been taken up by many MKs, including senior coalition members such as Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) and Likud MK Miri Regev, who point to several High Court rulings stating that freedom of worship must be granted to Jews as well as Muslims on the Temple Mount.
However, Netanyahu has repeatedly rebuffed such efforts citing security concerns and in the face of heavy pressure from Jordan.
Just yesterday, the Jordanian government announced it would be withdrawing its ambassador to Israel over ongoing tension on the Temple Mount, after police were forced to enter the Al Aqsa Mosque itself – which they usually refrain from doing – when rioters barricaded themselves inside.