Jews on the Temple Mount
Jews on the Temple Mount Spokesperson

On Sunday afternoon, Omer Bar-Lev, the Minister for Internal Security, held a discussion in his Jerusalem office in order to summarize recent events during the Jewish festivals on the Temple Mount.

Participating in the meeting were police commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman, Jerusalem district chief Nati Gur, and also representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the National Security Council, and the General Security Service.

During the course of the discussion, Bar-Lev was presented with the background to the prevailing situation with regard to the Temple Mount, which permits Muslim prayer on the Mount and Jewish prayer only at the Western Wall, although Jews are permitted to ascend to the Mount for visits. This arrangement has been in existence almost continuously since 1967.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Bar-Lev stated that, “Israel Police are meticulous in maintaining the current situation on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is sacred to Jews and Muslims alike, and therefore the situation there is both sensitive and liable to explode if any changes are made to the prevailing conditions. With regard to the issue of prayer on the Mount, it is important to continue maintaining the current practice as was first established by the government in 1967, immediately following the Six-Day War, and which has been reinforced by successive governments since.”

Bar-Lev added that, “Israel Police has safeguarded the current situation on the Temple Mount with the exception of isolated incidents which were swiftly identified and dealt with. The State of Israel has an overriding interest in continuing its cooperation with the Jordanian Waqf,” he noted.

“The present wave of interest in Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, like many previous in decades since independence, is one that repeatedly arises,” said the Mateh Irgunei Hamikdash in response. “We now call on people to ascend to the Mount for both personal and formal prayer, as we have been doing for many years.”

Last week, the Jerusalem District Court upheld an appeal lodged by Israel Police against the ruling of the Magistrate’s Court permitting Jews to conduct “quiet prayer” on the Temple Mount. The ruling, by Justice Bilha Yahalom, overturned a restraining order that had been issued to Rabbi Aryeh Lippo, who was accustomed to ascending to the Temple Mount on a daily basis.

However, Israel Police appealed the ruling and Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev expressed the concern that “any change to the status quo is liable to endanger public peace and could cause a regional flare-up.

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