Government won’t restrict Arab Israeli worshipers at Temple Mount over Ramadan – report

Muslim worshipers perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Friday, April 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Muslim worshipers perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Friday, April 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

A week before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, the government appears set to approve recommendations from the IDF, police and Shin Bet not to put restrictions on Arab Israeli worshipers at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Channel 12 reports that a cabinet meeting on the issue did not take place today as planned as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was home sick with the flu, and will take place tomorrow instead.

The report adds that the security chiefs — Israel Defense Forces chief Herzi Halevi, Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar — are all in agreement about security arrangements, fearing that sweeping restrictions could amplify tensions stemming from the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A final decision will be made in the next day or so, according to Channel 12, and ongoing daily security assessments will be made throughout the holy month, which begins around March 10.

The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism, where two biblical Temples once stood, and the third-holiest site in Islam, making it a central flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims crowd the site for prayers each Ramadan. While Israel has imposed restrictions on Palestinian access during times of heightened security tensions, it has refrained from imposing those rules on the country’s Muslim minority.

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