24 April 2019

Officials in the justice system and the Israel Police have reportedly warned that politicians gunning for the Justice and Public Security ministry posts would “destroy” the legal system, and spark mayhem by allowing Jews to perform religious rituals at Masjid al-Aqsa.

In focus are Betzalel Smotrich of the Union of Right-Wing Parties who could be appointed as justice minister or public security minister, along with Likud’s Miri Regev.

Both Regev and Smotrich have expressed support for religious carte blanche for Jews on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa. The public security ministry oversees the police, and is tasked with maintaining calm between Muslims and provocative Jewish settlers at the site.

In accordance with a decades-old status quo at the site, Jews and persons of other faiths are allowed to visit the site, but not pray there or perform religious rituals. Jewish and Israeli police presence is closely monitored and vehemently opposed by Muslim authorities and the Palestinian public, and has led to numerous flare-ups in the past.

An anonymous police source was quoted by Channel 12 news as saying that if Regev or Smotrich are appointed, “next year Jews will be allowed to perform ritual animal sacrifices” on the Jewish festival of Passover on the “Temple Mount.”

Responding to the reports, Smotrich said he believed he would be appointed justice minister, not public security minister, but called police notions regarding Jews being allowed to perform religious rituals at al-Aqsa “a good idea.”

ADAPTED FROM: Times of Israel