No ‘surrender to terror’ – Religious Zionism MK to visit Temple Mount

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir warns that preventing him from visiting the holiest site in Judaism would represent “capitulation to terror and further stoke the flames.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

MK Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionism party announced that he will visit the Temple Mount on Thursday.

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 will not be deterred from making his usual ascent because of an uptick in Arab violence.

The statement came on the heels of two deadly terror attacks by Arab Israelis in less than one week which left six people dead.

The visit is set to occur the day after Land Day on March 30th, an annual Arab protest against the State of Israel that has seen widespread unrest and violent clashes with police and the IDF in past years.

Acknowledging the possibility that Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai might ban him from reaching the compound out of fear that his presence could exacerbate tensions, Ben Gvir said that “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 added that Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, whom he recently confronted at the site of Sunday’s deadly terror attack in Hadera, is a “leftist” and a “failure.”

Ben-Gvir has long been critical of the Israeli government’s attitude towards clamping down on unrest, which he says puts the onus on Jews not to provoke Arabs rather maintaining than a zero tolerance policy towards terror and violence.

Earlier in March, recently appointed Attorney General Gali Baharav Miara wrote a scathing letter, published by Hebrew-language news site Mako, saying that Barlev does not have the authority to preemptively ban MKs from the Temple Mount. This was after he had issued a directive to Shabtai, stating that particular lawmakers should be prevented from reaching the compound during Ramadan.

Bar-Lev doubled down on his statements, arguing that barring MKs from visiting the Temple Mount was a life-or-death matter and that the primary responsibility of the Israeli police is to prevent behavior that could spark Arab violence.