Defense chiefs warn Iran aiming for Temple Mount violence, urge ‘maximal’ access on Ramadan – TV report

In this handout photo, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (2nd left) meets with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (right), Mossad chief David Barnea (left) and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar (2nd right) on November 29, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/ Defense Ministry/ File)
In this handout photo, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (2nd left) meets with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (right), Mossad chief David Barnea (left) and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar (2nd right) on November 29, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/ Defense Ministry/ File)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief Herzi Halevi, and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar are urging maximal freedom of access for Muslim worshipers to pray at the Al-Aqsa compound atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount during Ramadan, with no limitations on Arab Israelis, given concern over efforts by Iran, as well as Hamas, to stir up violence, Channel 12 news reports.

Intelligence information points to “considerable efforts” being made by Iran to foster unrest, it says.

However, it says, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai wants to limit attendance to 50-60,000 people, and wants only Arab Israelis over 40 to be allowed access “in the initial stage” of Ramadan, which starts next week.

For his part, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir wants only a few thousand on the mount at any one time, and heavy restrictions on Arab Israelis, the report says.

Security chiefs held consultations on the issue last night. A cabinet discussion is supposed to be held tomorrow on the issue, the TV report says, but it is not clear whether it will happen because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the flu.

The TV report quotes an unnamed senior security source, saying: “The desire by Iran and Hamas to set the Middle East alight via the Temple Mount, together with the irresponsible remarks by politicians and the absence of decisions, are driving us crazy.”

Most Popular