עימותים בירושלים
Jerusalem riots
Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the riots in Jerusalem

Bennett: Religious freedom must be maintained along with security

PM says his main mission is to provide security for Israeli citizens across the country; adds security forces continue to have free hand to act and calm tensions

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 04.17.22, 17:46
Israel is working to maintain peace and religious freedom, but it will not come at the expense of security, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday.
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  • The prime minister's statement follows an emergency security assessment, which itself comes in the wake of violent clashes at Temple Mount between Palestinian rioters and police officers, tasked with protecting Jewish worshippers on their way to the Western Wall.
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    עימותים בירושלים
    עימותים בירושלים
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the riots in Jerusalem
    (Photo: AP, AFP)
    In addition to Bennett, the security assessment was attended by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, and other security and government officials.
    The prime minister also instructed the security forces to act against those seen as responsible for incitement by spreading fake news and edited videos, showing alleged violent acts against Muslim worshippers with the purpose of adding more fuel to an already volatile situation.
    "Our main mission is to provide security for Israeli citizens across all the country, Bennett said.
    "The security forces have a free hand to calm the situation on the one hand, and to thwart any attempt of violence on the other. The security forces are prepared for any scenario," he said.
    During the meeting, security officials were presented the main points of interest according to intelligence gathered, and the operational activity in the various locations.
    2 View gallery
    עימותים בירושלים
    עימותים בירושלים
    Jerusalem riots
    (Photo: AFP)
    Bennett's statement drew criticism from both the right side of the political map which blames him for alleged incompetence in the face of riots, and from the Islamist Ra'am party - a vital member of his coalition.
    The Mofti – the Moslem cleric of the Islamist Ra'am party - Sheikh Mohammad Salameh Hassan, on Sunday, called on his party to resign from its membership in the coalition, 'for the sake of al-Aqsa.
    Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry criticized the Palestinian Authority, claiming that instead of helping to calm the situation, it "helps extremists to spread the fake news and create further escalation and violence".
    In a statement on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' aid said that the international community should intervene immediately to “stop the Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevent things from going out of control”.
    "Israel maintains religious freedom for all the worshippers in Jerusalem, in all the holy places for the three main religions, that are celebrating their holidays at this time. Any attempt to present a different false image only supports the Palestinian terror organizations and those who wish to disrupt order. And these elements only demean the Islam with their behavior," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
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