Israel agrees to remove metal detectors at Temple Mount

Israeli police officers and private security guards monitoring new security cameras and metal detectors placed at the Lions’ Gate entrance to the Temple Mount for Muslim worshippers, July 24, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli police officers and private security guards monitoring new security cameras and metal detectors placed at the Lions’ Gate entrance to the Temple Mount for Muslim worshippers, July 24, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) – Israel will remove metal detectors from entrances to the Temple Mount after days of rioting by Palestinians furious at the installation of the devices in the wake of a deadly terrorist attack.

“The Security Cabinet accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (‘smart checks’) and other measures instead of metal detectors in order to ensure the security of visitors and worshippers in the Old City and on the Temple Mount,” said a government statement released late Monday night.

The statement said Israel will pay up to 100 million shekels (about $30 million) over the next six months to install the new devices, which Haaretz reported include technologically advanced security cameras.

The area around the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and also the location of the Haram A-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam, has been riven with tensions since July 14, when three Arab-Israelis shot and killed two Israeli police officers there before they were shot to death.

Israeli authorities installed the metal detectors at the site in the wake of the attack. Muslims since then have refused to enter the Temple Mount, instead praying outside of its gates, leading to clashes and the deaths of at least five Palestinians in recent days.

The announcement came after days of intensive consultations among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordanian King Abdullah and the Trump administration, including President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, who flew in Sunday to help calm the tensions.

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