In comments made during his Yesh Atid party’s faction meeting, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid says that the tense Jerusalem Day events yesterday passed relatively “peacefully,” but that they were “tainted by extremists” and “taken over by “racists.”
“Instead of a day of happiness, they tried to make it a day of hate,” the foreign minister says of violent participants at the so-called Flag March in Jerusalem’s Old City. “These people aren’t patriots.”
He adds: “Jerusalem deserves better.”
“We cannot accept that these are the images left at the end of Jerusalem Day. The Israeli majority must take back the Flag March, and Jerusalem, and the State of Israel. We are the majority. They are an extremist minority.”
Yesterday, Lapid struck out against right-wing group Lehava, after videos circulated on social networks in which flag-waving Jews chanted “Muhammad is dead” at the entrance to the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
Lapid says that the Temple Mount status quo whereby Muslims can visit and pray, but Jews may only visit, remains Israeli policy.
“The status quo on the Temple Mount hasn’t changed and won’t change on our shift,” Lapid says, while acknowledging that “maybe there are people who violate it.”
During yesterday’s heated Jerusalem Day, videos circulated of Jews praying and prostrating themselves on the Temple Mount. Israeli police removed several of them.