Temple ideas

Amid heightened tensions, Ben Gvir aims to visit Temple Mount on Thursday

Amid heightened tensions across the country, far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir said he intended to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Although there is currently no intention by officials to prevent the visit, an assessment of the situation will take place on Wednesday on this subject, according to the media on Monday evening.

The final decision rests with Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, who after reports of Ben Gvir’s planned visit received calls from various politicians to prevent it.

In a statement responding to the reports, Ben Gvir said, “Just as I visit the Temple Mount at the start of each [Hebrew] month, I intend to do it next Thursday.

Ben Gvir later lashed out at Shabtai, calling it a “failure”, and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, whom he called a “leftist”, said he hopes the two “n ‘have no intention of disrupting the status quo on the Temple Mount and leading to an escalation’.

“An attempt to block an Israeli lawmaker from visiting the site will send a message of surrender to terrorism and will only fan the flames further,” he charged.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a ceremony at Israel Police National Headquarters in Jerusalem on September 5, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90)

The planned visit by the Religious Zionism lawmaker comes amid heightened tensions following a series of deadly terror attacks in recent days, the upcoming Land Day on March 30 and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on next week.

Land Day marks a 1976 decision by the Israeli government to seize thousands of dunums of Arab-owned land in Israel’s northern Galilee region.

In 2018, on Land Day – March 30 – Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launched the “Great March of Return,” a series of weekly protests and riots along the security fence.

Palestinian protesters take cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration commemorating Land Day, near the border with Israel, east of the Gaza City, March 30, 2018. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Israel argued that Hamas misappropriated the campaign for nefarious purposes, using civilian protesters as cover for violent military activity.

Current intelligence indicates that while recent deadly terror attacks were carried out in Beersheba (last Tuesday) and Hadera (Sunday), Jerusalem remains a primary sticking point, where future terror attacks are more likely to occur.

Channel 12 has reported that Shabtai, who has already ordered the call-up of six reserve Border Police companies to help thwart any further upsurge in terrorism and violence, is also offering to recruit another 500 police volunteers – all with operational backgrounds.

Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai speaks during a ceremony in Nazareth on November 9, 2021. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered that the presence of security forces be reinforced immediately, focusing on areas where there is a threat of violence. The ramp-up will remain in place until Independence Day, which this year begins on the evening of May 4.

As the Muslim holiday of Ramadan approaches, police say they will not ease security restrictions in the capital, although in the past they have allowed larger-than-usual gatherings at the gate of Damascus in honor of the holy month.

The intention is to call for volunteers for a week of service, to bolster police presence in inner cities across the country, both as a defensive measure and to increase citizens’ security feeling.

Israeli forces clash with demonstrators demonstrating against Israel’s plan to demolish some Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on May 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Last spring saw events in Jerusalem around the Temple Mount and the impending evictions of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood snowball into an 11-day war between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Fearing a repeat of that May 2021 violence, the Biden administration has urged Israel to take preemptive action to prevent a similar eruption in April, which will see a confluence of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Ramadan and the holiday. Christian Easter.

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