Netanyahu: Decision on Temple Mount Security Measures Was ‘Tough’
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the security cabinet has approved up to NIS 100 million to develop technologies to enhance security at the Temple Mount, and added that the decision to remove metal detectors from the holy site last week was “not easy.”
“The past two weeks have been very busy, both for me and for our security forces,” Netanyahu said ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, adding a note of thanks for all branches of the security forces for their efforts in the aftermath of the July 14 terror attack in which three Arab Israelis emerged from the Mount and killed two on duty policemen at Lion’s Gate.
Islamic officials in Jerusalem have said they would not accept any new Israeli security measures at the site, which they say belongs to Muslims only. Following the July 14 attack Israel installed metal detectors and security cameras at entrances to the Mount, but the declared a boycott in response and demanded that the security measures be removed, leading to fears that the standoff could explode into a large-scale conflict. Last week, Netanyahu agreed to the demand, amidst harsh criticism from many Israelis, who said the move was a capitulation to Arab demands.
Sunday, Netanyahu admitted that the decision was fraught and said he took public opinion into account.
“I am in tune with peoples’ feelings, I understand the emotions, I know full-eel the the decision we made as not easy. Still, as prime minister, as the person who is responsible for Israel’s security, I have to make decisions calmly and rationally. I do so with an overall situation of the entire map, a broad view of the challenges and threats we face, some of which are not known by the public and the nature of which I cannot discuss in detail.
“I understand people’s feelings, I also understand the demands of leadership,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister added a warning to potential enemies, saying Israel would strike hard at any party trying to harm Israeli civilians, soldiers or members or police officers.