Right-wing politicians clash over Temple Mount closure

Religious Zionist Party MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir accused Bennett of surrendering to terror. Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana defended Bennett's decision. 

 Itamar Ben-Gvir at the Knesset, April 6, 2022. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Itamar Ben-Gvir at the Knesset, April 6, 2022.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Politicians from parties on the Right sparred on Twitter on Wednesday over Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews at the end of Ramadan.

Bennett's associates said the same decision has been made every year, including repeatedly by Netanyahu when he was prime minister.

Religious Zionist Party MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir accused Bennett of surrendering to terror. Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana defended Bennett's decision. 

"Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, why are you blabbering to no end," Kahana wrote, "You have a golden opportunity to declare that when you are back in the coalition, the Temple Mount will be open to Jews all the time, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day."

Kahana said that if they were unwilling to make such a commitment, they should remain silent and let the prime minister handle the situation responsibly.

 MK Bezalel Smotrich at Knesset emergency meeting, April 6, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) MK Bezalel Smotrich at Knesset emergency meeting, April 6, 2022 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Smotrich posted an old tweet of Yamina minister Ayelet Shaked backing keeping the Temple Mount open to Jews. 

"There were days when Shaked understood well that surrendering to terror on the Temple Mount is dangerous and encourages more terror," Smotrich wrote. "The decision accepts the Arab lie that Jews are to blame for the current escalation."

Ben-Gvir wrote that preventing the prayer of Jews on the Mount was a victory for Hamas, terror and the rioters.

"This delusional decision will cost lives," Ben-Gvir wrote. "Surrendering to our enemies will only enhance terror."

Responding to Kahana's call to make a commitment, Ben-Gvir said Bennett should first keep his own promises that he made on live TV before the election.

Likud MK Galit Distal Atbaryan tweeted to Kahana that he had no supporters in the public and there his statements were shameful.