Israel’s government has announced a ban on Jewish entry to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount until the end of Ramadan, a move taken due to increased tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Temple Mount has historically been a site of clashes between Israeli security forces and Muslim worshippers during Ramadan, and last week’s evacuation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque saw Israeli security forces having to use force to remove protesting worshippers.
This decision comes after a series of violent attacks during Passover, including missile strikes on Israel and Israeli military raids in Palestinian areas. While the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, it is also revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Under current regulations, Muslims are permitted to pray on the mount while Jews and others may visit at limited times but are not allowed to pray publicly.
The ban was recommended unanimously by the Defense Ministry, Shin Bet, and Israel Police until the end of Ramadan.
The announcement of Tuesday’s decision came just hours after the Hamas terror group urged Palestinians to gather in large numbers at the mosque compound during the final ten days of Ramadan and to remain at the site. The group also cautioned Israel against allowing Jewish visits to the area.
According to his office, prime minister Netanyahu has instructed security agencies to deploy all necessary forces to ensure that the Western Wall remains secure for Jewish worshippers to continue their religious practices.
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