‘No surrender to Hamas’ – Ben-Gvir visits Temple Mount

“The sun keeps shining and the Middle East isn’t on fire,” commented Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu for the Temple Mount. 

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday morning, despite Hamas threats that his presence at the holy site would be met with violent retaliation.

Ben-Gvir’s visit marks the first time that an Israeli government minister has visited the site in five years. Notably, he went on the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, a Jewish fast day commemorating an ancient siege of Jerusalem that led to the destruction of the Holy Temple.

The visit was uneventful, with pictures and videos of Ben-Gvir surrounded by security guards and accompanied by a rabbi walking around the compound widely circulating on both Hebrew- and Arabic-language social media platforms.

At the end of his visit, Ben-Gvir gave a statement to Hebrew language media saying that his ascension to the Temple Mount was particularly important on the heels of threats issued by terror groups.

“Our government will not surrender to threats from Hamas,” he said. “The Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel. We maintain the freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians, but Jews also go up to the site, and those who make threats must be dealt with with an iron fist.”

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Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu for the Temple Mount, congratulated Ben Gvir.

“Minister Ben Gvir deserves all the respect for ascending the Temple Mount and not capitulating to Hamas’ threats. The sun keeps shining and the Middle East isn’t on fire. Even if there are those who would try to ignite the area, the time has come to truly be a free people in our land, including the Temple Mount,” he said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority swiftly condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit, calling it an “unprecedented provocation” in a statement.

The PA added that Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu bears responsibility for this attack on al-Aqsa.”

Ben-Gvir announced his intention to visit the Temple Mount on Sunday, sparking a dramatic statement from former Prime Minister Yair Lapid that “people would die” should he do so.

Lapid urged Netanyahu to “stop Ben-Gvir,” telling his Yesh Atid party during a faction meeting that “itt is a deliberate provocation that will put lives in danger and cost lives.”

In response to news that Ben-Gvir planned to visit the compound, a Hamas spokesman declared that “the fascist settler government has begun its plan to attack our people and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and declared war on it.”

After a meeting regarding the visit with Netanyahu on Sunday, it was widely believed that Ben-Gvir would delay ascending to the Mount by at least several weeks.

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The Temple Mount is the holiest site for Jews, and the third holiest site in Islam. It is administered by the Jordanian Waqf, under a status quo which sees freedom of worship for Muslims at the site and Jews limited to visiting the site during particular hours and restrictive conditions.