After reports on Jewish prayer, minister insists Temple Mt status quo ‘in place’

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev says police ‘scrupulously maintain’ regulations at flashpoint holy site, under which Jews are banned from worshiping

Illustrative: An Israeli police officer stands guard as a religious Jew in army uniform visits the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 3, 2021. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo, File)

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev insisted on Sunday that the status quo on the Temple Mount “was in place and will remain in place,” after months of media reports showing Jewish worshipers openly praying at the site while police turned a blind eye.

“Israel Police scrupulously maintains the status quo at the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims,” said Barlev, whose ministry is responsible for overseeing law enforcement.

Barlev made his remarks following a meeting with senior Israeli law enforcement officials, including Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai and Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman. Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet officials were also present, according to Barlev’s office.

 

“The police have worked to protect the status quo — save for exceptional circumstances — which they have quickly identified and acted against,” Barlev said.

The Temple Mount, known to Muslims for its Al-Aqsa Mosque, is the holiest site for Jews and site of the third holiest shrine in Islam. It is one of the most emotionally contested places in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and clashes there were part of the backdrop to the 11-day conflict launched by Hamas from Gaza in May.

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