Lapid insists Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, which means no Jewish prayers
“Israel is committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a briefing to reporters at his ministry in Jerusalem.
“Muslims pray on the Temple Mount, only non-Muslims visit. There is no change, there will be no change,” Lapid reiterates.
While Israel remains publicly committed to this policy, Muslims complain that, in practice, some Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount pray. On Saturday evening, Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai gave an interview to Israel’s state television channel in which he confirmed a “deterioration” of the status quo.
“There are many more Jews going up the Temple Mount. There are some who stop along the way and pray, which was forbidden,” Shai told the Kan public broadcaster.
“Shai is misinformed,” Lapid asserts, in response to a question from The Times of Israel about the Diaspora Affairs Minister’s comments, while conceding: “Someone might sneak in once in a while.
Lapid says that, in accordance with official Israeli policy, police enforcing order on the Temple Mount are instructed to prevent Jewish prayer.
However, while maintaining the status quo policy, Lapid says he is critical of a policy that prevents Jewish worship in the Jewish state.
“By the way, I don’t feel comfortable with the idea that Jews don’t have freedom of religion in the State of Israel and that Jews are banned from the site,” he says. . “I know what instructions the police have – and they are enforcing them to the best of their abilities – that Muslims can pray on the Temple Mount and that other religions can visit.”