Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said Sunday that the current status quo at the Temple Mount will not change and "will remain in place.”
Barlev's statement comes after months of media reports about Jewish worshippers openly praying at the site, with police turning a blind eye despite an agreement reached with the Muslim endowment, the Waqf, that manages the site. The agreement was reached soon after the 1967 Six Day War when Israel captured the holy site from Jordan.
“The police have worked to protect the status quo - save for exceptional circumstances - which they have quickly identified and acted against,” Barlev said.
The Temple Mount, known to Muslims for its Al-Aqsa Mosque, is the holiest site for Jews and site of the third holiest shrine in Islam.
Right-wing groups have been working to allow Jews to pray openly at the holy site, on which some religious Jews claim a third Jewish temple must be erected.
Jews are able to visit the site in small groups, protected by police to prevent clashes with Muslim worshipers.
The fragile arrangement has prevailed at the Temple Mount: only Muslims are permitted to worship on the sacred hill, while Jews pray at the Western Wall, esteemed as a remnant of the Second Temple.
Recent clashes at the site were a catalyst to the start of the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in May.
Earlier in October, a Magistrate Court in Jerusalem decided to lift a ban on Jews praying on the Temple Mount, a ruling that prompted immediate condemnation from the Palestinian Authority and warnings from the Gaza ruling Hamas terror group that they would renew violent opposition if the decision was not reversed.
A Jerusalem District Court accepted the government's motion to reverse the lower court ruling and upheld the status quo.
First published: 08:22, 10.18.21