While tensions are easing in Jerusalem's Temple Mount compound, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch remains concerned. During a Knesset session Tuesday he referred to the recent riots and pleaded with the Knesset members: "Be careful what you say, don't ignite the Temple Mount."
The minister added, "I appeal from this platform to all of you – from all sides of the political realm - promote moderation, not incitement. I say to whoever is listening – the volume must be turned down and the profile lowered."
Nevertheless, Aharonovitch refused to answer a question from one of the Arab MKs regarding the remarks made by Jerusalem District Police Commander Aharon Franco, who referred to the Arabs as "ungrateful".
The riots in east Jerusalem erupted some two weeks ago amid rumors that a group of Jewish extremists were planning to visit the Temple Mount compound, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque. Islamic leaders called on worshippers to "protect al-Aqsa."
'Temple mount open for visitors' (Photo: AFP)
The minister later mentioned the entrenchment of youths in the al-Aqsa mosque with stockpiles of stones and explained the decisions to restrict entry to the Temple Mount compound.
"I know we're only talking about a small portion of the Arab public. With this handful we won’t reach compromises," the minister stated.
He concluded with an optimistic note and said "During the Sukkot holiday hundreds of thousands of people visited the Old City and the Western Wall and handled themselves in an exemplary fashion and were virtually unaffected by the riots. The Temple Mount has been quiet for the past few days and is open to visitors."