Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch urged on Wednesday both Arabs and Jews to abstain from provocations, in the wake of recent riots in the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.
Addressing the issue of violence in the Old City at the Knesset, the minister said, "I will not allow leaders on both sides, the Arab and the Jewish, to further incite and use the holy sites for their political interests. I will not let the Temple Mount turn into a boxing ring."
Following a brief quiet spell, riots broke out again earlier in the week in Jerusalem's Old City. More than 20 people were detained while members of the Islamic Movement, accused by police of inflaming the crowds, claimed that Arabs only wished to pray at the site and slamming police for provoking the unrest by using excessive force.
Temple Mount riots this week (Photo: AFP)
Speaking at the Knesset on Wednesday, Aharonovitch said, "I call on both sides – the Jewish MKs, who encourage visits to the Temple Mount and falsely accuse the police, and the Arab MKs, who urge to save the al-Aqsa mosque thus stirring and inciting - you know that al-Aqsa wasn't in danger, is not in danger and will not be in danger in the future."
The minister went on to say, "The Temple Mount is a holy place and the public should not be dragged into violence at the site. I call on you to back law enforcement authorities and allow them to do their job.
Aharonovitch made a similar previous attempt to calm the tensions from the Knesset podium. Earlier this month he addressed MKs and pled with them to mince their words, urging them "not to set Temple Mount on fire."