Israeli Minister Calls for Allowing Jews to Pray at Temple Mount

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Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called for changing the policy at the Temple Mount on Aug. 13 to allow Jews to pray at the holy site, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports.

Erdan called the current policy barring non-Muslims from praying at the Temple Mount an “injustice” on Israel’s Radio 90, saying that “we need to work to change it so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount.”

However, he acknowledged that such a change “needs to be achieved by diplomatic agreements and not by force.”

Erdan’s remarks come after Muslim worshippers rioted in front of the Temple Mount over the weekend in response to Jewish worshippers visiting the holy site as part of Tisha B’Av, resulting in 14 people injured. The Israeli police allowed Jewish worshippers to visit the holy site on Aug. 11 in response to “an uproar from right-wing ministers and lawmakers,” according to TOI; the Jewish holiday coincided with the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.

According to Jewish Virtual Library, the Temple Mount is the site where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac and the building of the First Temple at around 1000 BCE. After the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan had taken control of the Temple Mount; Israel reclaimed the temple in the 1967 Six Day War.

The Temple Mount is currently under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Waqf religious committee and Israeli security is charged with enforcing the Waqf’s decisions. Non-Muslims are typically barred from entering the site “in the hope of minimizing bloodshed and preventing a holy war,” although there have been myriad Palestinian riots at the Temple Mount over the years largely stemming from Palestinian leaders claiming that non-Muslims will be allowed to pray at the Temple Mount, according to Jewish Virtual Library.