(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reassured the world that Israel was maintaining the status quo regarding exclusive Muslim prayer rights at the Temple Mount, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely clarified comments she made about the site, saying they reflected her own personal position and not that of the government.
On Monday morning, the Likud lawmaker said in an interview on the Knesset Channel that her "dream is to see the Israel flag flying over the Temple Mount. This is the holiest place for the Jewish people."
Later in the day she released a statement clarifying her position.
Likud's Tzipi Hotovely visits Temple Mount
"My personal opinions are not the government's policy, and I am certainly bound by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy as stated on Saturday evening in which he declared that there would be no change in the status quo at the Temple Mount."
In the wake of Hotovely's comments, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement reaffirming that the government's policy with regard to the Jerusalem site was expressed by Netanyahu in his statement on Saturday and there was no change to that policy.
"The prime minister has clarified that he expects all members of the government to act according to his statement on the matter," Netanyahu's office added.
Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson slammed Hotovely for her comments.
"Dismiss Hotovely this evening," Hasson said.
"With the stubbornness of a donkey, the messianic deputy minister continues to incite the entire Middle East," he said. "Every few months she repeats her call to have the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount, as if the situation here was not sensitive enough."