Minister gives New Year wishes in video from Temple Mount - to the sound of explosions and Arab curses in the background.
by Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) visited the Temple Mount on Wednesday ahead of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) - there he was met by Arab rioters hurling curses, rocks, bricks, and fireworks, who since the morning have ambushed police on the site.
Ariel uploaded a video greeting from the holiest site in Judaism, but his words were somewhat muffled by the background sounds of explosions and Arab protesters shouting, in epithets targeting him and those accompanying him.
During his visit, dozens of Arab rioters renewed their fusillade of fireworks at police forces at the Mughrabi Gate, the sole entrance for Jews to the site that is under the de facto control of the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust).
"The sovereignty over the Temple Mount is in our hands and we must strengthen it," said Ariel from the site. "It cannot be that rioters will time and again take advantage of the sanctity of the site for riots, disorder and attacks on Jews."
"I wish us that in the coming year - may it be a good year - the state of Israel will know to strengthen the sovereignty on the Temple Mount, to prevent the Arab rioting and chaos, and allow free entry to Jews and all those interested in doing so," added Ariel.
Ariel's Jewish Home party - and in particular Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan - have been pushing a law to allow Jews equal prayer rights on the Temple Mount for Jews - who until now have been prevented from worshipping at their holiest site due to Muslim pressure.
However, in June MK Zevulun Kalfa slammed his party's endorsement of recommendations to leave in place several controversial security measures - including shutting the site to visitors when riots break out - which he said amounted to leaving the Mount in the hands of Hamas.