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Lapid Says No Change to Temple Mount Status Quo: Muslims Pray, Non-Muslims Visit

Israel “is committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount,” Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid said at a briefing for the foreign press at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Sunday. Israel’s top diplomat charged that terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad had been “trying to hijack the Al-Aqsa Mosque” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, “in order to create an outbreak of violence in Jerusalem, and from there, a violent conflict across the country.”

Despite rumors spread by the terrorist groups seeking to incite riots, Israel had no plan to divide the Temple Mount or change the status quo there, Lapid said. “Israel is committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount. Muslims pray on the Temple Mount, non-Muslims visit. There is no change. There will be no change. We have no plans to divide the Temple Mount between religions.”

The number of religious Jews visiting the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and the site of the biblical temples, has increased in recent years, and far-right Jewish extremists have called for a renewal of the Passover sacrifice there. Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, was established on the mount in the year 705 CE.

The foreign minister also commented on the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel in recent days. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for attacks on our territory. Because of such rocket fire, we took the decision not to enable workers from Gaza to enter Israel today.”