Bennett reneged on his statement that Jews would have equal prayer rights on the Temple Mount because Ra’am threatened to leave the coalition, the former head of the Islamist party said.
By World Israel News Staff
The former head of Ra’am, the Islamist party that is part of the Bennett government coalition, said the Israeli prime minister, when calling for the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, their holiest site, “tried to be a hero for the extremist wing of Israeli politics, but he soon learned that’s not a thing to play with,” i24 News reports.
Throughout Sunday last week, which was Tisha b’Av, the Hebrew date when both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, some 1,700 Jews visited the Mount, where the Temples had stood. Hamas and other Gaza-based terror organizations had issued threats, warning the Jews not to ascend the Mount, and early-morning visitors were greeted by Muslim stone-throwers.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked the police for maintaining order and managing the visits “with responsibility and consideration, while maintaining freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount.”
But the Prime Minister’s Office subsequently issued a ‘clarification’ on Monday, stating that the “status quo” remains in place, according to which Jews only have the right to visit their holiest site but not to pray there.
While the prime minister gave no reason for backing down on his statement Sunday, some analysts suggest it was in reaction to the vehement objections to the visits raised by its Islamist coalition partner, Ra’am, as well as by Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.
“The al-Aqsa Mosque, in its 144 dunams, is solely the property of Muslims, and no one else has any right to it,” the Ra’am party said in a statement.
Bennett “is still too young, and he tried to be a hero for the extremist wing on the right of Israeli politics,” former Ra’am party chief Abdulmalik Dehamshe told i24 News.
“He soon learned that’s not a thing to play with. You see that he went back” on his original statement, following threats from Ra’am that otherwise he would have no government, Dehamshe said.
An activist for exclusive Muslim rights to pray on the site, Islam’s third-holiest, Dehamshe claimed that “there was no Temple in the place.
“The Temple was in some other place,” he said, while falsely accusing Jews of wanting to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Dehamshe called for two million Muslims to protect the mosque “with our bodies and our blood.”