JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister publicly defended his decision to remove metal detectors and other security measures from the Temple Mount, calling it a difficult choice, but one made with a broad view.
Netanyahu also announced at the beginning of Sunday’s regular cabinet meeting, that he has authorized the reinforcement of security forces on the Temple Mount and throughout the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as instructed Israel Police and the cabinet to approve a $28 million budget for the development and acquisition of technology in order to create new security solutions for the site.
“I am attentive to the feelings of the public, I understand those feelings, I know that the decision we made is not an easy one,” Netanyahu said Sunday.” However, as prime minister of Israel, as the person who bears the responsibility for Israel’s security, I must make the decisions with coolness and discretion. I do that out of a view of the big picture, a wide view of the challenges and threats that are facing us. Some of them are not known to the public and as is of the nature of things that I cannot detail. I understand the feelings of the public. I also understand the duty of leadership, of those who sit in this chair and shoulder the ultimate responsibility for the security of Israel, and that is how I act.”
Netanyahu on Tuesday ordered the removal of metal detectors and other security measures put into place at the entrance gates for Muslim worshippers to the Temple Mount in an effort to increase security at the site following the July 14 attack by three Israeli-Arabs that left two Israel Police officers dead. The installation of the new security measures led Muslims to stay away from the site and hold prayers at the gates, leading to clashes with Israeli security forces. Muslim worshippers returned to the site on Friday,
On behalf of all Israel’s citizens, Netanyahu thanked Israel’s security forces “who work day and night to protect all of us, and I greatly appreciate their work and their deep dedication to the security of Israel.”
He also issued a warning “to our enemies on all fronts: The IDF, the Shin Bet and the Israel Police are prepared to act with all their might against anyone who tries to harm our citizens, our soldiers and our policemen. This is how we acted and we will act accordingly.”