MK Itamar Ben Gvir, center, ascending to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Far-right lawmaker Ben Gvir visits Temple Mt. amid terror wave

Disregarding excited warnings tour may spark widespread violence, firebrand politician strolls through religious site surrounded by large police forces; 'We are the owners here,' he says

Haim Goldich, Hassan Shaalan, Liran Levi |
Published: 03.31.22, 13:39
Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir on Thursday ascended to Jerusalem's Temple Mount — a frequent boiling pot of religious and nationalist tensions between Jews and Muslims — as a fear of widespread violence looms over the country amid a spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis.
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  • Ben Gvir's visit was preceded by excited warnings from both Israelis and Palestinians that it may provoke Muslims and serve to spark a fresh round of violence.
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    בן גביר בהר הבית
    בן גביר בהר הבית
    MK Itamar Ben Gvir, center, ascending to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Temple Mount Heritage Foundation)
    Public Security Minister Omer Barlev urged the police to block the visit, but law enforcement ultimately cleared the tour after a situational assessment.
    Early Thursday, a spokesperson for the Hamas terrorist group which rules the Gaza Strip issued a warning of the "consequences of this dangerous provocative move."
    In a video circulating online, the firebrand politician can be seen strolling through the religious site surrounded by large police forces.
    He is heard addressing Hamas's threat, saying he was unmoved by it and wondered why Israel doesn't eliminate the spokesperson in a targeted killing — a long-held Israeli policy targeting senior Palestinian terrorist figures in order to deter further belligerence.
    2 View gallery
    איתמר בן גביר מתפלל בכותל
    איתמר בן גביר מתפלל בכותל
    Ben Gvir wears phylacteries during morning prayet at the Western Wall
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    "He threatens me? I am the owners in the State of Israel. Giving in to terrorists and all those who threaten us only invites more terror," Ben Gvir said.
    "The terror of the past week, two weeks started before [my visit of the Temple Mount], so the solution is do not bat an eye and tell them we are the owners here. Giving up the Temple Mount conveys a message to Hamas it can target the entire Land of Israel."
    Ben Gvir also criticized the Israeli defense establishment for restricting access of Jewish worshippers to the site — which is the most sacred place in Judaism as it was once home to the First and Second Temples — for fear it could stoke tensions with Muslim worshippers there.
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