Photo Credit: Jamal Awad / Flash 90
Israeli security forces guard at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, during the holy month of Ramadan April 5, 2023.

Israel has banned Jewish visitors from ascending the Temple Mount until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The 10-day closure to Jews, which follows a years-long Israeli policy, came after multiple security assessments on the matter.


The Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet director Ronen Bar and Israel Police Inspector General Kobi Shabtai reached a unanimous decision on the issue following their meeting on Tuesday.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who was not present at the meeting, strongly criticized the move as a “serious mistake,” warning it could escalate the security situation even more.

“The prime minister’s decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews due to the wave of terrorism is a serious mistake that will not bring peace, but may only escalate the situation,” Ben Gvir said in a statement.

“The absence of Jews on the Temple Mount will automatically lead to the dilution of the police forces staying on the Mount, which will create a breeding ground for huge demonstrations inciting to murder Jews, and even a scenario of throwing rocks at Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall.

“When terrorism strikes us, we must strike back at it with tremendous force, not surrender to it and its whims,” he added.

Ben Gvir was present, however, at a subsequent assessment held together with Gallant, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the heads of the security services that evaluated the situation on the Temple Mount and the general security situation in the rest of Jerusalem and the state as a whole, including Judea and Samaria.

Following the assessment, “all necessary operational forces” were directed to protect worshipers going to the Western Wall and the routes leading to the site.

The prime minister commended the Israel Police for the way it operated on the Temple Mount and at the Western Wall during Passover. He also commended the security forces for their many counterterrorist operations and actions to protect the citizens of Israel, which saved many lives.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.