Despite being widely viewed as the most right-wing in Israeli history, the current government led by Benjamin Netanyahu plans to bar Jews from entering the Temple Mount holy site during the last 10 days of the Muslim month of Ramadan, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
The report cites a stormy discussion held over the weekend regarding the Israeli policy in recent years, which has prohibited non-Muslims from entering the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site during the culmination of Ramadan, when Muslims traditionally sleep at the site they revere as the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, or the Noble Sanctuary.
Kan reports the measure has faced staunch opposition from National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, a longtime proponent of changing the current status quo in which Jews are not allowed to pray at the Temple Mount and face numerous other restrictions on entry.
Ben Gvir reportedly argued during the meeting that the previous government, led by Naftali Bennett and which included centrist and left-wing parties, and an Islamist party, “closed the Temple Mount for fewer days than what you want” — nine versus 10. He also made clear he believes the site should not be off-limits to Jews at all.
Last year, Ben Gvir and his far-right running mate Bezalel Smotrich — now the finance minister — slammed the Bennett government’s move as a “surrender to terror.”