Minister declares ‘Jews prayed freely on Temple Mount, Netanyahu answers back

Netanyahu:  ‘The status quo at the Temple Mount has not changed and will not change.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called for complete Jewish control of Jerusalem during a Flag Day speech on Wednesday’s Jerusalem Day celebration.

He declared that “Jews prayed freely” on the Temple Mount, an action that flouted the long-standing protocol forbidding Jews from praying on the Temple Mount to avoid sparking interreligious conflict.

Ben Gvir said, “I came back here, for one thing, to convey a message to Hamas…This is our Jerusalem, Our Damascus Gate, our Temple Mount!”

He added, “Today, according to my policy, Jews entered the Old City freely, and they also prayed freely on the Temple Mount. ”

“We say in the simplest way – this is ours. This is the message to Hamas,” Ben Gvir declared.

“I pray for the wounded, I pray for the release of the kidnapped. But I say – we need to defeat Hamas and Hezbollah and win the war,” he explained.”

“This ours, our Temple Mount, our Damascus Gate – let the whole world know it,” Ben Gvir concluded.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement,  ‘The status quo at the Temple Mount has not changed and will not change.”

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Jerusalem police announced, “Throughout the day thus far, 18 suspects have been arrested on suspicion of violent offenses, assault, threats, and disorderly conduct.”

The statement continued, “Earlier, some of the blocked roads were reopened, and the police continue to operate to maintain security and order.”

The police arrested five 16-year-olds who threw objects at journalists close to Damascus Gate.

However, some journalists claimed the police, not just the protesters, were restricting their access.

A Yediot Aharonot police correspondent, Inon Yttach, posted on X, “Today, the journalists were the focus of the police and the marchers.”

He added, “During the flag march, the police decided it was inappropriate for newspapers to cover from the steps of the Damascus Gate and began pushing us towards a nearby garden.”

“During the fight, as you can see, the policeman started pinching me in the stomach. They thought they wouldn’t see, but here is the picture before you,” he concluded.