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April 12, 2023 10:14 am

Israel Bans Jewish Visits to Temple Mount Until End of Ramadan

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Palestinians walk at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City May 21, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

i24 NewsIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ban, beginning Wednesday, the access of Jewish worshipers and tourists to the Temple Mount until the end of Ramadan.

Police officials confirmed that the decision was made by the prime minister, who decided to adopt a policy similar to that implemented in previous years – closing the Temple Mount to Jews during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.

A statement from the Prime Minster’s Office said the decision was reached after “a comprehensive situation assessment with the heads of the security branches” and Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

The ministers “instructed to invest all the necessary operational forces to protect the worshipers who will come to the Western Wall, and the delegations who are led to it,” the statement said.

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Netanyahu “praised the Israel Police for the way they operated on the Temple Mount and the Western Wall during Passover, and the security forces for countermeasures and actions to protect the citizens of Israel that saved many lives.”

It remains to be seen if Jews will be allowed to visit the Temple Mount before the ban goes into effect on Wednesday, the last day of Passover.

Ben-Gvir responded to Netanyahu’s decision, saying, “The prime minister’s decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews due to the wave of terrorism is a serious mistake that will not bring peace, but may only escalate the situation.”

“The absence of Jews on the Temple Mount will automatically lead to the dilution of the police force stationed on the Mount,” he added, “which will create a breeding ground for huge demonstrations of incitement to murder Jews, and even a scenario of throwing stones at Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. When terrorism strikes us – we must strike it back with tremendous force, not surrender to it and its whims.”

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