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MKs threaten to enter Temple Mount

Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra said on Thursday that thousands of Jews planning to flood the Temple Mount is highly problematic and the police will not enable them to reach the site.

On Friday he said that Jewish Knesset members who have threatened to enter the Temple Mount on Sunday, together with the Revava organization planning the pilgrimage, will not be allowed to, while Arab MKs will be permitted entry.

Speaking with Army Radio, Ezra said that intelligence information indicates that far right activists may carry out some sort of an attack on the mount. He did not specify whether the nature of the warnings was specific.

"The movements that are organizing this rally do not have any intentions to perpetrate such an attack, but rather express the central theme the site has to the Jewish people. The Muslims were the ones that took it to an extreme, mistakenly thinking that these groups would want to stage an attack," Ezra said.

"Nonetheless," the minister said, "all it takes is a handful of people who could create an immense problem."

MKs Uri Ariel, Arye Eldad, and Michael Ratzon, have threatened that they will try to enter the Temple Mount in protest against Ezra's decisions to forbid Jews from entering the holy site.

Asked when the Temple Mount will reopen to Jewish visitors, Ezra said: "Jews will be allowed to visit on Monday, like all visitors who come not to pray." Jewish visitors are allowed to enter the Temple Mount in small groups, but are forbidden from praying, since it could provoke the Muslim Waqf that oversees the holy site.

On Friday, head of the Revava organization David Haivri met with Deputy Internal Securtiy Minister Ya'akov Edri in a last-ditch effort to allow the organization to bring the thousands of the Jews who they claim will gather at the Kotel on Sunday to enter the Temple Mount.

Haivri said that Edri rejected all of his attempts to reach a compromise. "We suggested that the police allow only Jewish men over the age of 40 to enter the Mount, just like they only allowed Muslims over the age of 40 to enter on Friday, " Haivri said. "Since they refused all our attempts to reach a compromise, Revava will not be responsible for the reactions of the worshippers who will come on Sunday."

Only Muslims aged 40 and above and in possession of Israeli identification cards were permitted to enter the Temple Mount Friday.

The police declared the restrictions out of suspicions that the Muslims would take advantage of their Friday prayers to disrupt law and order, in protest against the plans the activists to bring thousands of Jewish worshippers onto the Temple Mount on Sunday, Israel Radio reported.

However, no limits were placed on women wishing to enter the mount, Army Radio added.

Police Ins.-Gen. Moshe Karadi said that intelligence assessments indicate that Sunday's protest will pass quietly.

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