After threats, housing minister to receive security
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After threats, housing minister to receive security

Uri Ariel is a proponent of changing status quo on Temple Mount, building in territories

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israel's Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel speaks at a prayer rally for Yehudah Glick at Safra Square in Jerusalem on November 1, 2014. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel's Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel speaks at a prayer rally for Yehudah Glick at Safra Square in Jerusalem on November 1, 2014. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Housing Minister Uri Ariel will receive personal security after threats against him surfaced on Arabic social media sites.

The Jewish Home party politician didn’t seem especially fazed by the development. “Apparently this is the price in the Middle East for standing for Zionist principles,” he said, according to the Walla news site. “The growing support for the way of settlement, and for the settler parties, proves that the principles we are fighting for win out in practice.”

Ariel is outspoken in his support of construction over the Green Line, and for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount. Earlier this month, he told a rally in Jerusalem that the status quo on the mount would change.

The move comes only weeks after Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein ordered the Knesset Guard to provide Likud MK Moshe Feiglin with full-time protection in the wake of the attempted assassination of Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick the previous night.

Feiglin is also known for strident demands for increased Israeli control of the Temple Mount, the site of Judaism’s two ancient temples and a holy site for Islam, from which the prophet Mohammed is believed to have ascended to Heaven.

Edelstein instructed the Knesset’s sergeant-at-arms, Brig. Gen. Yosef Grif to assign a bodyguard for Feiglin, and told Grif to provide security for any other MK, whether on the right or left, who feels threatened due to the rising tensions in the capital.

Glick is recovering at Shaare Zedek Medical Center after being shot by an assailant on a motorcycle upon leaving a conference in central Jerusalem last month. Feiglin also attended the conference, entitled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount,” as did his fellow party member MK Miri Regev and Jewish Home’s Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Eli Ben Dahan.

The Temple Mount is jointly administered by the Jordanian government and the Jerusalem-based Islamic Waqf, an arrangement that has been in place since Israel captured the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed them. Proposed changes to the status quo at the Mount are often a source of unrest.

Under current rules, Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, but may visit in coordination with police.

Lawmakers have called for increased Jewish access to the site, while Palestinians officials have urged Arabs to “defend” the area, which is home to the Dome of the Rock shrine and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Netanyahu has said repeatedly, including last week in Jordan, that Israel plans no change to the status quo at the site.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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