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U.N. Security Council Slated to Meet on Widely Decried Temple Mount Visit by Ben Gvir

Jews visit the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP/Maya Alleruzzo)
Jews visit the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP/Maya Alleruzzo)

The United Nations Security Council will convene an emergency session to discuss firebrand National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount, which drew a flood of international condemnations, a source said Tuesday.

A date has not been set for the Security Council meeting — which was formally requested by the United Arab Emirates and China on behalf of the Palestinian and Jordanian UN missions — but it could take place as early as Thursday, a diplomat on the top panel told The Times of Israel.

Ben Gvir, leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, toured the compound Tuesday morning, decrying the alleged “racism” against Jews at the site and scorning warnings of a significant backlash. The visit stoked concerns in the Muslim world that Israel’s government would move to change the status quo prohibiting Jewish prayer at the shrine — considered the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest to Muslims, who refer to it as the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary — despite repeated vows that the regulations will remain in place.

Ben Gvir has long been an advocate for formally altering the Temple Mount status quo, in which Muslims are allowed to pray and enter with few restrictions, while Jews can visit only during limited time slots via a single gate and walk on a predetermined route, closely accompanied by police.

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