Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to thwart any attempt to use the Temple Mount to spark violence during the Ramadan holiday by assuring Muslims that no changes had been made to the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound there.
‘I want to clarify, we strictly keep to the status quo on the Temple Mount,” said Netanyahu of the al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock that are the third holiest sites for Islam.
That compound is under the control of the Islamic Wakf and only Muslims are allowed to pray there, but others including Jews can visit.
“To my sorrow, this year again extremist elements are trying to stir up tensions in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
“They are inciting violence and spreading lies about Jews, the Temple Mount and our intentions regarding the al-Aksa mosque,” Netanyahu said.
“It is all lies,” he added.
“We make sure that Muslims have the right to freedom of worship. We will not allow any element to disturb the order and cause unrest and violence at the holy sites,” Netanyahu said.
“Muslim citizens of Israel, citizens of Arab states, I wish to bless you in honor of the month of Ramadan. Happy New Year,” the prime minister said in a short video he shot in honor of the holiday.
“Jews, Muslims and Druse, we all live here together in the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“Israel is a true lighthouse of coexistence and religious tolerance. We are very proud of this,” the prime minister said.
“Jerusalem is open to who ever wants to pray and visit,” Netanyahu said and ended with, “I wish you all happy Ramadan.”