Israel is committed to stopping the violence and keeping the Temple Mount open to visitors of all faiths despite the growing effort by Islamists to attack non-Muslim visitors.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated Prime Minister Netanyahu’s commitment to maintaining the right of members of all religions to visit the Temple Mount despite three days of rioting by Muslims during the Jewish New Year.
In an official statement, the ministry described rioters, who threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and explosive devices at Jewish worshipers, as “radical Islamic operatives” and said that Israel would not allow the mosque to become “a terrorist stronghold.”
Some 150 rioters prepared days in advance to attack Jews, stockpiling rocks and explosives and barricading themselves inside al-Aqsa Mosque before the start of Rosh Hashana. Article continues below…
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They belong to several organizations that have arisen over the past four years with the goal of ending non-Muslim access to the Temple Mount.
These organizations include the Murabitoun and the Murabitat, which are funded by Hamas and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, and were banned on September 8 due to the threat they present to the public order.
Similar riots took place in July during Tisha B’Av, the annual day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jewish Temples and other major tragedies in Jewish history.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly declared that the Government of Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and will oppose any attempt to change it forcefully. The status quo protects the right of Muslims to pray in the mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, whether Muslims, Christians, Jews or others, to visit the Temple Mount ,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“The radical Islamist rioters on Temple Mount have deliberately desecrated, damaged and endangered a site holy to Muslims and to Jews, turning it into a battle field, using stones, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices. Israel will not allow the al-Aqsa mosque to become a terrorist stronghold.”
Palestinian leaders, in the meantime, have praised the rioters. PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared that Jews have no right to “desecrate” the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, “with their filthy feet.” He also said that Muslim blood that is spilled attacking police at the site is “pure.”
By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel