Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night ordered police to prevent Israeli ministers and members of Knesset from entering the Temple Mount, in a move seemingly aimed at reducing recent sky-high tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The ban does not apply to Muslim Knesset members, however, who will still be allowed to access the al-Aqsa Mosque at the site.
The order comes as Israel has suffered from a surge in Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis and violent clashes between security forces and Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem and across the West Bank.
On Wednesday alone, five separate terror attacks have wounded a total of seven Israelis across the country.
Over the past week, four Israelis were killed in attacks in the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem and at least four more were injured, including a toddler.
In addition, violent clashes between the IDF and police and Palestinian rioters have persisted for weeks following tensions at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and third-holiest in Islam.
Jews and non-Muslims can visit the site but are forbidden from praying there, under law. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel does not seek to change this status quo.
Some Jewish politicians have visited the site in recent weeks, including Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), a reported frequent guest who supports the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, and MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) who was recently filmed yelling and cursing at a Palestinian woman at the site.
The recent unrest led the Netanyahu-led government to approve a series of measures aimed at combating the wave of terror, including harsher punishments for those who throw rocks and firebombs, the easing of rules governing the use of live fire in cases where lives are at risk, the widening of the use of administrative detentions against terror suspects and the expedition of the legal process to demolish terrorists’ homes.