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Israel to Maintain Temple Mount Access Status Quo During Ramadan

Ramadan is expected to begin on Monday, March 11.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced Tuesday that the government would not limit the number of participants allowed to celebrate the Ramadan holiday at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Expressing in a statement that “Ramadan is holy for Muslims, and the sanctity of the holiday will be preserved this year, as it is every year,” the policy allows for attendance levels that are comparable to previous observances during the venerated month.

Security officials noted that a “situational assessment around security and safety” will be done weekly to ensure that any disruptions can be avoided. This action is likely in response to last week’s declaration by the leader of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ismail Haniyeh, for supporters to "march to Al-Aqsa on the first day of Ramadan."

The decision has not been without controversy, as National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, sought to implement limits on the number and age of prospective worshippers. His plans were reportedly opposed by the Shin Bet and the military, fearing that they would incite violence.

The chairman of the Knesset’s Islamist Ra’am party, Mansour Abbas, publicly thanked the Prime Minister for the “responsible decision,” and encouraged Muslims in the region to pray at the holy site “while maintaining the law and public order.”

The Temple Mount is also the location of the two ancient holy Jewish temples.

Related Story: Palestinian Islamic Jihad Calls for Ramadan to Be ‘Month of Terror and Panic’

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