Israel’s Ben-Gvir visits Al Aqsa despite threats

On Tuesday, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister of Israel, was seen at the Al Aqsa compound, causing a stir among Palestinians just after the ultra-right-wing government was officially formed.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry denounced the visit as “an unprecedented provocation”.

Despite Palestinian predictions that Mr Ben-Gvir’s presence at the contentious compound would lead to “an explosion”, he was still seen there with a heavy security detail, according to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan.

The minister, having taken his oath of office last Thursday, had made numerous trips to the compound while they were a member of Knesset (MK) and has continually advocated for Jews to be able to practice their religion at the location, which is currently forbidden by the status-quo arrangement with Jordan.

This location is the third most venerated in Islam and holds the highest status in Judaism as it was once the site of two holy temples.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has made it clear that his nation is ready to fight if Israel attempts to alter the status of the holy sites located in East Jerusalem, which is considered a “red line” by the kingdom.

Yair Lapid, the opposition leader and past head of government, cautioned that visits to the compound by Ben-Gvir could produce violence and possibly result in fatalities.

On Monday, Mr Lapid stated on Twitter that Mr Ben-Gvir should not visit the location.

He cautioned that the action taken could incite aggression and result in loss of life, imploring PM Netanyahu to take a stand against Mr Ben-Gvir.
According to the Kan news agency, citing the Likud party, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not give any caution to Mr Ben-Gvir concerning the tour.


Image Credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File

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