A vast majority of Israelis oppose the security cabinet’s decision to remove metal detectors from outside the Temple Mount in the wake of massive protests from Muslim worshipers, a poll published Tuesday indicated.
Respondents were asked whether the security cabinet capitulated in its decision to remove the metal detectors, with 77 percent saying yes, 17% saying no and six percent saying they did not know.
The survey, conducted by Channel 2, was based on the responses of 502 Israeli adults.
While the government’s handling of the situation was widely criticized, most respondents were supportive of the initial decision to install the metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount. They were placed following a July 14 terror attack, during which two Israeli police officers were shot dead just outside the compound by three Arab Israelis who used guns they had smuggled into the holy site.
The poll found 68% said they agreed with the decision to install the detectors, 23% said they disagreed and nine percent did not know.
Asked about Netanyahu’s handing of the issue, 67% said it was not good, and 23% that it was good.
Following the shooting, Israel took the rare step of closing the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers on a Friday — the holiest day of the week in Islam — in order to search for weapons, before reopening the site two days later after installing metal detectors at the entrances to the compound. Previously detectors were only at the Mughrabi Gate, the entrance for non-Muslim visitors.
Israel has since removed the metal detectors and a number of security cameras that were installed, but some railings and barriers remain.
The move led to widespread anger among Muslims, who boycotted praying at the site in protest of the metal detectors, and sparked a series of violent clashes with Israeli security forces, during which five Palestinians were killed, including one who died when his Molotov cocktail exploded prematurely.
The tensions surrounding the site were also cited by assailants in two recent terror attacks, including last week when a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family in the West Bank settlement of Halamish as they celebrated Shabbat.
Despite the removal of the metal detectors and security cameras Tuesday, the Waqf called on worshipers to continue to boycott praying at the Temple Mount pending its review of the new Israeli security arrangements there, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that security cooperation with Israel would remain frozen until all measures put in place since the shooting “disappear.”