US amb. to Israel: We don't like provocative actions on Temple Mount

Tom Nides talks Temple Mount and the Jerusalem Pride Parade during a morning radio show.

 Tom Nides, the influential US ambassador to Israel. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Tom Nides, the influential US ambassador to Israel.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said on Thursday morning that "actions that are obviously provocative" are not particularly liked by the United States, referring to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's notable trip to the Temple Mount on Tuesday morning.

Speaking with Ilana Dayan on Army Radio, Nides said that the particularly big concern surrounding Ben-Gvir's actions is not one relating to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's control over his coalition, but rather that "we got up in the morning and saw many of Israel's allies and friends... voicing a huge amount of concern about this."

He clarified that the main concern is about Israel keeping relations calm with the surrounding countries with which it is at peace, including the Abraham Accords countries.

"We support maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, period, full stop," he said. "This is a democracy. If there are values that we believe are contrary to the values that we share... friends will differ. Friends have arguments."

"We support maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, period, full stop."

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides

Ben-Gvir's controversial visit to the Temple Mount on Tuesday, his first since the November election, was faced with broad criticism worldwide. This also led to threats of violence by Palestinian factions who saw Ben-Gvir's actions as an escalation on behalf of Israel.

 MK Itamar Ben-Gvir visits the Temple Mount, in May. (credit: Sinan Abu Mayzer/Reuters) MK Itamar Ben-Gvir visits the Temple Mount, in May. (credit: Sinan Abu Mayzer/Reuters)

Netanyahu, in the meantime, was briefed on Ben-Gvir's trip prior to its occurrence and did not express any opposition.

Pride parade concerns

Nides was additionally asked about his position on the right-wing government members who have expressed vocal opposition to Israel's pride parades, in particular, that which takes place in Jerusalem.

The homophobic Noam Party, represented in the coalition by party head MK Avi Maoz, has been outspoken in its hatred for the LGBTQ+ community and has voiced, alongside other coalition members, its desire to cancel Jerusalem Pride Parade.

"Will you march?" Nides was simply asked by Dayan on Thursday morning. 

"Of course I'm gonna march," he said. "I'll march at the front of the parade. I'll march in Jerusalem and I'll march in Tel Aviv, and I'm 100% certain this march will happen in Jerusalem, it will happen in Tel Aviv, Bibi Netanyahu has said that." 

MK Maoz received control, according to his coalition agreement with the Likud, over a branch in the Education Ministry that is responsible for all of the external programs that are offered to schools in Israel's public school system. 

Concerns over homophobia in the current government have only intensified after the Likud's coalition agreements with both United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and the Religious Zionist Party (RZP) included a clause that would enable discrimination in private businesses. This, of course, includes prejudice due to religious affiliation, including refusing business from LGBTQ+ people

"These are provocative comments," Nides said. "I'm not into provocateurs."