Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday called on Israeli-Arabs not to be deceived by "lies" about Israel digging under the Temple Mount.
Speaking at the start of Monday's cabinet meeting about the recent riots in Jerusalem, the prime minister said, "Last week, extremist elements tried to undermine quiet and peaceful life in Jerusalem. An extremist minority spread lies to the effect that we intend to dig, or were actually digging, under the Temple Mount. I would like to make it clear that this is an outright lie."
"I appreciate the fact that the vast majority of Israeli-Arabs were not dragged along after these provocations and didn't let the extremists exploit the lies," he continued. "This morning, I would like to appeal to Israel's Arab citizens who want to live good and peaceful lives here and tell you that you are an inseparable part of the state of Israel."
"We in the government want and will act so that you have fully equal opportunities in all areas - education, employment and infrastructure. Our intention is to implement the goals that we all share - peaceful coexistence, good neighborly relations and a prosperous future for our children, as citizens with equal rights in the state of Israel," added the prime minister. "I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the police and the security forces who did - and are doing - their utmost to maintain quiet and public order."
On Sunday meanwhile, it was announced that an agreement reached between the Israeli and Jordanian governments had allowed for a number of Muslim worshipers, who had reportedly been holed up inside Al-Aksa Mosque since the beginning of the tensions more than a week ago, to leave without being arrested.
Senior Israeli diplomatic officials said that in addition to Jordan, other international bodies were involved in mediating last week to get the group on the Temple Mount out quietly and without arrests. The goal, the official said, was to calm the situation on the Temple Mount and not allow last week's tensions to spiral out of control. The official said Israel received "quiet" in return for allowing the group to leave the Temple Mount compound.
In addition to Jordan, the UN - through its Mideast envoy Robert Serry - was also involved in the mediation efforts that led to the deal. While Palestinian sources had claimed that hundreds of worshipers had been inside the mosque, police on Sunday said that only a few dozen such worshipers had been there, and had left on Friday.
Police on Sunday also lifted the week-long restrictions on Muslim worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the site, and reopened the area to visitors, after Succot concluded Saturday night.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report
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