Minister Aharonovitch on tour (archives)

Arabs: Minister's Temple Mount visit a 'provocation'

Internal Security Minister Aharonovitch tours al-Aqsa Mosque compound without warning, infuriating Muslims. 'Provocative entry may complicate sensitive situation,' says Waqf. MK El-Sana slams 'pathetic visit'. National Union MK: Arabs trying to keep Israel away from Mount

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch toured the Temple Mount compound on Tuesday morning to survey police deployment in the area. Aharonovitch was accompanied by Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen and Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco.


This was the minister's first visit to the site since taking office. The Public Security Ministry announced the visit retroactively, infuriating Muslims.


Aharonovitch toured the Temple Mount compound and the al-Aqsa Mosque area for about two hours.


The Public Security Ministry reported that the visit ended without any unusual incidents, but the Waqf foundation responded angrily, calling the tour a "provocative entry to the holy site, which may complicated the sensitive situation."

Police officer at al-Aqsa Mosque area (Archive photo: AP)


Knesset Member Talab El-Sana (United-Arab List-Ta'al) decried the visit as "a pathetic provocation".


"If the purpose of this visit is to provoke Muslims and try to show them who's in charge, then he is trying to ignite a war and he will face the consequences," said El-Sana.


He added that he hoped the minister did not use the derogatory term for Arabs he was caught using last week during a visit to the Tel Aviv District Headquarters.


Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said in response, "The hooligan behavior of the Waqf members and Knesset Member El-Sana, and the incitement against the internal security minister, threaten the rule of law in Israel. Those who try to keep the minister away from the Temple Mount plan to keep Israel away from it."


Aharonovitch recently enraged Arab MKs when he meant to praise an undercover police agent in Tel Aviv and referred to him as an "Arabush" (Hebrew equivalent of "sand nigger").


Following the incident, the minister's office said he did not intend to insult anyone by using the derogatory term. Aharonovitch later issued a more strongly worded apology over his remark.


Efrat Weiss, Sharon Roffe-Ofir and Ali Waked contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.23.09, 12:05
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