National Security Council discussed closure of Temple Mount to worshipers

The Islamic Waqf has thus far been opposed to any closure.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
Israel's National Security Council is holding discussions on closing the Temple Mount to both Jewish and Muslim worshipers in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a N12 report on Sunday.
The report noted that discussions commenced as Israel grapples with a growing number of coronavirus cases, which has become especially pronounced in areas surrounding the Temple Mount and among Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
The potential closure of the Temple Mount was discussed three months ago by Jerusalem's municipal government following a rise in the morbidity rate attributed to the virus, the report noted. Given the sensitivity of any closure, discussions are being held in conjunction with the Islamic Waqf, the Islamic religious trust that controls and manages Islamic holy sites, such as the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Thus far, the Waqf has been opposed to any closure. Approximately 18,000 to 22,000 worshipers enter the Temple Mount to pray every Friday, many of whom allegedly do not follow Health Ministry guidelines, praying close to one another without masks and generally not maintaining social distancing.
Coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu has previously sought to add Jerusalem's Old City neighborhoods as part of the "red city" hot zones in terms of their amount of cases, prompting discussions on the closure of other religious sites as well, including the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.