Netanyahu calls for ‘responsibility and restraint’ on Temple Mount, Jerrusalem

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for “responsibility and restraint” by lawmakers in Jerusalem and said he would not change the current arrangements on the Temple Mount.

“Let us not play into the hands of our extremist enemies. I think that what is necessary now is to show restraint and to work together to calm the situation. I ask that you join me in the effort to maintain the existing order, let nobody harm it, certainly not our right to go up to the Temple Mount, but we will not change the arrangements. I also ask that private initiatives be avoided as well as unbridled statements. At this time we must show responsibility and restraint,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

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Netanyahu said the government is “committed to the status quo for Jews, Muslims and Christians” on the Temple Mount, adding that “it is easy to start a religious fire, but much more difficult to extinguish it.”

He said the messages of restraint and the continuation of the status quo have been passed along to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as “to all elements in the area.”

Netanyahu made his remarks as unrest continued over the weekend at the Temple Mount and in eastern Jerusalem following the reopening of the holy site early Friday morning, after its closure in the wake of an assassination attempt Oct. 29 of a Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick.

Over the weekend, Israel Police arrested 17 suspects involved in disturbances in Jerusalem, according to the police. Some 111 suspects have been arrested since a Palestinian man drove his car into a Jerusalem light rail station in northern Jerusalem 10 days ago.

Israeli lawmaker Moshe Feiglin visited the Temple Mount on Sunday morning, saying he was trying to “shoulder the burden carried until now by our dear friend, Rabbi Yehuda Glick,”

“My visit to the Temple Mount was ‘accompanied’ by tens of Arabs shouting threats and curses. They feel that they have nothing to fear. Despite the attempted murder, Arabs were allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, while Jews were barred until today,” Feiglin said in a Facebook post after visiting the site.

“This morning on the Mount, I was surrounded by police security, while the Arabs were free to walk about. That is just one more way to see who feels at home on the Mount and who feels like an intruder. With G-d’s help, we will change that ‘status quo,’” he wrote.

Knesset security has assigned a bodyguard to Feiglin due to death threats that he has received.

Glick remains in serious condition and on a respirator at Shaarey Zedek Medical Center  in Jerusalem.