Israel's Public Security Ministry Insists on Maintaining Status Quo on Temple Mount

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 Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev
Public Security Minister Omer Bar-LevCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Public Security Ministry Omer Bar-Lev reaffirmed that current prayer and visitation regulations at the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, will remain "according to how they were set by Israeli governments in the past," amid growing concerns over Jewish prayer at the contested holy site.

The meeting was set up in order to review the holiday period and the conduct of security forces. It was attended by police officials, as well as representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the National Security Council and the Shin Bet security service.

"The status quo has been affirmed by every successive Israeli government, save for limited periods in which certain limitations were imposed," Bar-Lev said at the discussion. According to the status quo, as set by the Israeli government in 1967, Jews are permitted to pray at the Western Wall and Muslims at the mosques atop the Temple Mount. According to this status quo, the compound shall be open for visiting by non-Muslims, but not prayer.

The public security minister concluded the meeting by saying that “Israeli Police has been strictly upholding the regulations at the Temple Mount. The site is holy to Jews and Muslims, hence the sensitivity and volatility with every deviation from the status quo. As for visitors going up and praying, it’s important to preserve the status quo, and follow the conditions set by Israel’s government in 1967, immediately after the end of the Six-Day War, and affirmed by all Israeli governments since.”

Earlier in October, a lower court decided to lift a ban on Jews praying on the Temple Mount, but this was overturned Friday by the Jerusalem District Court, with the public security minister warning that unilateral steps at the sensitive religious site could rekindle violence.

The Waqf, the Islamic endowment that maintains the Al-Aqsa compound on the Mount, called the magistrate’s court ruling a “flagrant violation” of the complex’s sanctity and a “clear provocation” for Muslims worldwide.

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