National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says he will keep going up to the Temple Mount, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jordan’s King Abdullah II that he would preserve the status quo at the holy site.
“I manage my own policy concerning the Temple Mount, not that of the Jordanian government,” Ben Gvir tells the Kan public broadcaster. “I went up to the Temple Mount; I will continue to go up to the Temple Mount.”
“With all due respect to Jordan, Israel is an independent country,” he says.
Earlier this month Ben Gvir made a provocative visit to the site, drawing condemnations from Jordan and across the Arab world.
Under an arrangement that has prevailed for decades under Jordan’s custodianship, Jews and other non-Muslims are permitted to visit the Temple Mount during certain hours but may not pray there. In recent years, Jewish religious nationalists, including members of the new governing coalition, have increasingly visited the site and demanded equal prayer rights for Jews there, infuriating the Palestinians and Muslims around the world.
Ahead of Ben Gvir’s tour, Amman had signaled that a visit by the minister or moves violating the status quo would have far-reaching consequences, including the possibility of a diplomatic downgrade.
AP contributed to this report