Economy Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and the police during Sunday’s cabinet session, claiming that the attack on right-wing activist Yehuda Glick could have been prevented. “Threats had been made against Glick. Why didn’t you stop the attack against him?” Bennett said during the meeting. “You didn’t do enough, and you didn’t deal with the incitement against him. If it had been an activist from Peace Now, the whole country would have been on its feet.”
Bennett also criticized high-ranking police officials in Jerusalem, reading out quotes from several officers on the police force who described Glick as an extremist or as “the most dangerous man in the Middle East” because of his activism promoting Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. “Glick was the one indicted,” Bennett said.
Israel Police Comissioner Yohanan Danino and Jerusalem District police chief Moshe (Chico) Edri rejected Bennett’s criticism, saying that Glick had never complained to the police about the threats Palestinians had made against him. “His only complaints concerned violence against him on the Temple Mount and property offenses,” they said. “There was no information about threats on his life.”
Aharonovitch said during the cabinet meeting that although the number of stone-throwing incidents in East Jerusalem has decreased significantly in recent weeks, dialogue with leaders of the Arab public must be encouraged and preserved. In reply, Housing Minister Uri Ariel told Aharonovitch that only in recent weeks has there been police activity in East Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods.
During the cabinet meeting, Ariel called for a change in the status quo on the Temple Mount, saying there should be an increase in the number of days and hours for Jewish worship there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Aharonovitch rejected Ariel’s demand, saying that such proposals threatened the stability of the security situation.
Netanyahu referred to the Temple Mount in his opening remarks at the cabinet meeting, accusing fanatical Islamic elements of “spreading false claims” that Israel intended to destroy or damage Al-Aqsa Mosque or prevent Muslims from praying on the Temple Mount.
“They use methods of verbal violence and physical violence in an effort to keep Jews from going up to the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow that to happen, and by the same token we will not change the worship arrangements or the accessibility that have existed on the Temple Mount for decades. We are committed to keeping the status quo for Jews, Muslims and Christians.
“Alongside the steadfast insistence on our rights, we are determined to keep the status quo for all faiths to prevent an eruption from the Temple Mount, within the Temple Mount, around the Temple Mount. It is very easy to start a religious fire, and much harder to extinguish it. These messages have been conveyed in the sharpest manner possible to Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and to all the elements in that area, and also among ourselves.”
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now