Netanyahu to Gradually Permit Israeli Politicians to Visit Jerusalem's Temple Mount After Ramadan

If security considerations permit it, from the end of June, Jewish and Muslim lawmakers will be allowed to visit the flashpoint site.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel visiting the Temple Mount in 2012.
Michal Fattal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Monday that if the security conditions permit it, Jewish and Muslim Israeli lawmakers will once again be allowed to visit Jerusalem's Temple Mount by the end of June, when the holiday of Ramadan ends. During the past 18 months, visits to the flashpoint site by Israeli lawmakers were prohibited as part of an attempt to prevent escalations.

Netanyahu made the decision following a discussion regarding the current state of affairs at the Temple Mount ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover and the subsequent Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The meeting was attended by Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman and National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel, as well as the head of the Jerusalem district police. The meeting and decision were first reported by Channel 2 News.

Netanyahu decided that if things remain calm until after Ramadan and if there is a positive assessment by the Shin Bet or the Israel Police, visitation to the site by lawmakers and ministers will be permitted for a test period. The visits will be under strict restrictions to be decided on by the Jerusalem police. During Passover and Ramadan, no lawmaker, either Israeli Jews or Arabs, will be allowed to visit the Temple Mount and current restrictions will remain in place.

Netanyahu and Erdan banned all Israeli lawmakers from visiting the Temple Mount after a wave of violence erupted at the flashpoint site last year.