Ben-Gvir announces visit to Temple Mount, Lapid warns of violence

Hamas, Jordan – and Yair Lapid – warned of extreme violence if the new minister keeps his word and visits the site.

By World Israel News Staff

Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir informed police Sunday evening that he intends to go up to the Temple Mount in the coming days, for the first time since the swearing-in of the new government, Hebrew-language media reported.

His visit to the Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third holiest, would require increased planning from police for it to pass quietly. The issue will reportedly be discussed with police on Monday.

The fact that it was leaked, however, could indicate that authorities are hoping the visit will not happen, fearing Arab violence, according to reports.

In the past, there were cases when police opposed the ascent of members of the public to the Temple Mount for security reasons, but this time, some reports indicate, they are preparing to secure the visit by Ben-Gvir, who now dictates policy in this regard.

Earlier reports suggested he planned to go this coming Tuesday, which marks the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, but there was no confirmation. On that day, in the year 425 BCE, the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, which is seen as the beginning of a chain of events that ended with the destruction of the Holy Temple and the subsequent exiles.

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“I thank all the media for the interest in the matter of going up to the Temple Mount. Indeed, the Temple Mount is an important issue, and as I said, I intend to go up to the Temple Mount,” Ben-Gvir tweeted in response to the media reports.

“Regarding the schedule, I promise to update when I ascend. Until then, I would love for the news broadcasts to open every evening with the question of when I intend to go to the Temple Mount,” he added.

On Monday, the Hamas terror group warned of “explosive violence” if Ben-Gvir goes ahead with the visit.

Ahead of a visit to the Mount last March, in the wake of a string of Arab terror attacks, Ben Gvir said in a statement that he visits the flashpoint compound, which is the holiest site in Judaism, on the first day of each Hebrew calendar month and would not be deterred from making his usual ascent.

“Any attempt to prevent a Jewish MK from visiting the site will send a message of capitulation and surrender to terrorism and only further stoke the flames,” he declared.

Last week, Jordan’s King Abdullah threatened violence if the new Israeli government crosses “red lines” – including visits to the Mount.

“If people want to get into a conflict with us, we’re quite prepared,” Abdullah said in an interview with CNN. “I always like to believe that let’s look at the glass half full, but we have certain red lines… And if people want to push those red lines, then we will deal with that,” he added.

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Jordan, since 1967, has been the custodian of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred place.

While Muslims are allowed to freely visit and worship at the mosque, Jews are severely restricted from accessing the site and are banned from praying there, although the latter stringency has been relaxed in recent years.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, Israel’s Opposition leader Yair Lapid warned Ben-Gvir not to ascend the Mount, claiming it will cost lives.

“With all that Netanyahu is weak, he should tell Ben-Gvir, ‘You will not go up to the Temple Mount because people will die,” Lapid said.