‘Sign of Weakness’? Israeli officials want to ban Jews from Temple Mount for last 10 days of Ramadan

Ben-Gvir stresses his opposition to practice of barring Jews from the Temple Mount during last days of Ramadan, saying it endangers Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall and signifies surrender to terror.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Public Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir slammed defense officials who recommended that Jewish visitors be banned from the Temple Mount for the remaining 10 days of the Ramadan holiday, which coincides with the Passover festival this year, due to concerns over terror.

“The closure of the Temple Mount [to Jews] on the seventh day of Passover will endanger the worshipers who come to the Western Wall, in addition to being a reward to terrorists after they issue threats,” Ben-Gvir said.

If Jews won’t be touring the compound, Israeli police officers will not be present at the site. Due to the lack of Israeli police, Arab rioters could potentially shoot projectiles, such as Molotov cocktails or fireworks, or carry out stone throwing attacks, at Jewish worshippers in the Western Wall plaza below, Ben-Gvir explained.

The lawmaker said his “position is also held by a very senior defense official, who believes that it is a mistake to close the Mount on the seventh day of Passover, exposing the Western Wall worshipers to danger.”

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Ben-Gvir then claimed that “the closure of the Mount during these 10 days is a new decision by the Bennett government and not a practice or status quo.”

In fact, the security establishment has recommended that the Temple Mount be off-limits for Jewish visitors during the last days of Ramadan since 2013, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently abided by that policy during his time in office.

According to a Channel 12 News report, Ben-Gvir is pushing for Jews to be permitted to ascend to the Mount at least once during that 10 day period.

“Any sign of weakness that we showed during the past three decades did not [benefit Israel]. Anytime we showed weakness in front of the people who hurt us, in the end, we were hurt, us and our children,” responded Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu (Otzma Yehudit) on his Twitter account.

“Otzma Yehudit and Likud have different mindsets and we came to change Israel’s mindset. That doesn’t happen in a day and we are fighting for it. This government is better than the previous government, we are moving things along through mutual respect,” he added.