In an apparent hot mic moment after meeting with members of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, President Isaac Herzog is heard warning Haredi lawmakers that “the entire world is anxious about” Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar Ben Gvir.
“There’s one issue I didn’t talk about because I don’t want to shame anyone,” Herzog is heard saying. “You’re going to have a problem with the Temple Mount. That’s a critical issue.”
In clear reference to the far-right Ben Gvir, Herzog goes on to say: “You have a partner that the entire world is anxious about. I told him that too, between us. It’s not for publication. I don’t want to cause a stir. But I think you have a responsibility.”
A Shas member is heard saying “but he’s moderated,” before the recording cuts off.
In response, Herzog’s office says he noted in his conversation with Shas members “appeals made to him to him with concern over MK Itamar Ben Gvir’s positions on certain matters,” while repeating that the president had raised the matter in a conversation with the MK a few days ago.
Jordan’s King Abdullah raised the issue of the Temple Mount and Ben Gvir during his meeting with Herzog earlier this week, warning Israel against making unilateral changes to the status quo at the holy site, a Middle East diplomat has told The Times of Israel.