Firebrand lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir ascended the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday morning in what he called a firm demonstration of Israeli sovereignty.
Ben-Gvir did not go up to the Temple Mount as planned last week on Jerusalem Day due to police concerns of a Muslim riot. A number of other Israeli lawmakers did visit Judaism’s holiest site on Jerusalem Day, and Hamas was fiercely mocked by Palestinians for failing to follow through on its threats to “defend” the Al-Aqsa Mosque from “Jewish invaders.”
“Happy to go up to the Temple Mount, the most important place for the people of Israel,” Ben-Gvir wrote in a statement shortly after the visit. “Hamas threats will not deter us, we are the owners of Jerusalem and the entire Land of Israel.”
The visit occurred early in the morning when the Temple Mount was not yet crowded with Muslim worshippers, and Ben-Gvir was surrounded by a large number of police officers and his own security agents. Even so, the officers on hand appeared stressed when Ben-Gvir stopped to read prayers from his phone.
As National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stops to apparently read prayers from his phone while atop the Temple Mount, his police escort looks stressed. pic.twitter.com/enAhfe3LMv
— Israel Today (@israeltoday) May 21, 2023
It remains astonishing, and quite telling, that a single Jew praying at a particular place can cause so much anxiety in Israel, so much consternation in the international community, and so much fury among supposedly peace-seeking Muslims.
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