Israeli security chief meets with FBI, warns of escalation in Jerusalem

Ronen Bar said Israel expects an uptick in violence, particularly in Jerusalem, due to the Ramadan holiday.

By World Israel News Staff

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar traveled to Washington, D.C. over the weekend, where he met with the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and other senior American security officials.

Hebrew-language media reported that Bar returned to Israel on Sunday after the conclusion of the little-publicized trip.

It is believed to be the first meeting between Bar, appointed as the director of the security organization in October 2021 after previous Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman stepped down, and his American counterparts.

According to Ynet, Bar warned the Americans that Israel is expecting flare-ups of violence and tension between Jews and Arabs next month, particularly in the Jerusalem area.

In April, the Jewish holiday of Passover and the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan will overlap.

Muslim officials from the Waqf, which oversees the flashpoint Temple Mount compound, have warned that Jewish visitors to the site during the holiday will be seen as provocateurs.

Some 100,000 Jews are expected to visit Jerusalem from other areas of Israel during the eight-day-long Passover holiday. Security officials are worried this may lead to an increase in Arab rioting.

After former vice-president Mike Pence visited the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron last week, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem, warned that Jewish visits to the holy sites — which he claims have no connection with Jews — could result in Arab violence.

“What the U.S. vice president did is a provocative and dangerous act for which the [Israeli] occupation authorities bear the consequences,” Hussein told the Jerusalem Post.

Hussein, the one-time imam of the Al Aqsa Mosque located on the Temple Mount, has repeatedly denied that Jews have a link to the holiest site.