Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount on Sunday, where Jews are forbidden to pray.
Despite the fact that the Temple Mount is “the holiest site” for Jews “ever since the time of our patriarch Abraham,” Jews will still be forbidden to pray.
“We are committed to the status quo for Jews, Muslims and Christians,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
“The Temple Mount is the most sensitive kilometer on earth. Alongside a strong insistence on our rights, we are determined to maintain the status quo…These messages have been passed along as clearly as possible to Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], as well as to all elements in the area and among us,” Netanyahu stated.
Amid mounting violence in Jerusalem, Netanyahu called for “responsibility and restraint” in responding to the unrest.
Last week, prominent Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot several times by an Islamic Jihad terrorist in an assassination attempt for his work on advancing the Jewish right to pray on the Mount.
While Netanyahu condemned the attack, he urged people to “work together to calm the situation.” The prime minister also asked “that private initiatives be avoided as well as unbridled statements.”
The prime minister emphasized that restoring peace to Jerusalem would be a “lengthy struggle” in which flaming the fire would only lead to a further deterioration of the situation.
“I have ordered massive reinforcements to be brought in and additional means to be used in order to ensure law and order in Israel’s capital,” Netanyahu said.
“We will certainly oppose all systematic and continuing attempts by Islamic extremist elements to stir up unrest,” he continued. “They would like to set a religious fire in Jerusalem and thereby ignite the entire Middle East. The place they are most determined on is the Temple Mount.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued rare praise for Netanyahu. In a statement issued by his office, Abbas said that preserving the status quo on the Temple Mount is a “step in the right direction.”
Abbas threatened that any “violations and provocations by the extremists…would lead to serious results in the entire region and ignite the instability in Palestine and the region.”
Abbas has repeatedly called for violence against Israel in defense of Muslim control over the Temple Mount.