J Street is alarmed that Israel’s new extreme-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir made a provocative visit to the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa compound today, amidst his broader effort to tamper with the religious status quo at the highly sensitive holy site.
Ben-Gvir’s reckless actions indicate a destructive willingness to escalate tensions in Jerusalem and beyond, without any concern for the potential violence he could provoke. They have already led to a serious diplomatic outcry from the international community, including the United States and Israel’s key Arab partners such as Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. We echo the US embassy’s statement that any actions that undermine the preservation of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif status quo are unacceptable.
Ben-Gvir’s action is just the latest evidence that the new far-right Israeli government intends to pursue dangerous and escalatory policies on a number of fronts, with Prime Minister Netanyahu apparently unwilling or unable to impose necessary restraint. As a pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy organization committed to a US-Israel relationship rooted in shared democratic values, J Street will continue to urge the Biden Administration and Congress to stand up clearly for the key principles and commitments that this government threatens.