President Reuven Rivlin this week thanked Jordan for its “critical role” in dealing with tensions and violence surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem over the past year, and vowed that Amman would continue to play a major part at the holy site.
“Israel is fully committed to ensuring this status will not change,” he said Thursday, speaking at a reception by the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv to mark Jordan’s Independence Day.
Relations between the two countries are delicate. While the neighbors are said to enjoy close but quiet cooperation on security matters, Amman has repeatedly criticized Israel for its policies towards the Palestinians, particularly on the Mount, leading to some strain in diplomatic ties.
Under the terms of a status quo in place for decades, Jews and other non-Muslims can visit the Temple Mount, but not worship there. The Hashemite Kingdom acts as custodian of the flashpoint site, which is the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest to Muslims.
Rivlin praised Jordan for its important stabilizing role in the Middle East, at a time when nations of the region have faced increasing turmoil.
“All over the Middle East, we face difficult challenges; the ongoing tragedy in Syria, the instability in Iraq, and the jihadist terrorism which dares to speak in the name of Islam, brings so many to seek refuge. The Hashemite Kingdom is facing all these challenges with honor, with dignity, and with great national and human solidarity,” he said.
The president said Jordan’s status as a moderate state in the region was a sign of its strength.
“Israel is proud to be Jordan’s partner and to stand at Jordan’s side, in promoting stability and quiet to our entire region,” he added.
Jordanian Ambassador Walid Obeidat spoke of growing cooperation between Jerusalem and Amman, particularly on issues of water which he hoped “will materialize soon for the benefit of Jordanians, Israelis, and Palestinians alike.
“We also hope to see our relations expand in the area of energy,” Obeidat said.