Ra’am chief Abbas warns allowing Jewish prayer on Temple Mount ‘will lead to war’

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Palestinians gesture during a protest against comments by French President Emmanuel Macron defending cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, outside the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on October 30, 2020. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

Any move by the incoming government to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount “will lead to war,” Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas has said.

Abbas told Channel 12 on Thursday that he was “worried” about the apparent new government, which is expected to be the most religious in Israel’s history and include members of the far right.

With members of Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit often speaking of seeking greater Jewish clout in Jerusalem and taking actions Arabs view as provocative in the Old City, Abbas said allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount — as desired by some on the religious right, notably including Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, a likely minister in the new coalition — “will lead to war.”

They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” Psalm 83:4

Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas at the Islamist party's campaign headquarters in the northern Arab Israeli town of Tamra, after exit polls were announced, November 1, 2022. (Flash90)

“Let’s not be naive,” said Abbas, whose Islamist party was a core component of the outgoing coalition. “When you’re talking about the most sensitive subject which is the holy sites… people’s minds stop working and religious feelings take over. We’ve seen how many rounds of escalation were sparked by provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Israel has for decades agreed to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount, whereby Jews are allowed to visit under police guard but not pray. For years Jewish visits were limited, but recent years have seen numbers balloon and authorities have quietly started allowing Jewish prayers.

Muslims have voiced growing alarm and anger at what they perceive as an Israeli attempt to increasingly control the site, which saw a record number of Jewish visitors during the recent High Holidays.

The presence of Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount is opposed by Palestinians and Hamas warned of violent “repercussions” over visits during the Jewish holidays, when some minor scuffles were recorded at the compound.

MK Ben Gvir, who heads the extremist Otzma Yehudit faction and emerged as the star of this week’s election, has often visited the Temple Mount while demanding Israel fully realize its sovereignty there.

During the recent holiday period, Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman took to blowing the shofar at a Muslim cemetery near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, an action heavily criticized by police for its combustive potential but allowed by courts.

Read More @ Times of Israel HERE