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Knesset discusses Jewish prayer at Al-Aqsa

Israeli ministers and parliamentarians were among the speakers at a Knesset-hosted conference yesterday organised by "Temple Mount" activists determined to see fundamental changes in the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Three cabinet ministers were among those at the gathering, which saw the launch of a new Knesset "Temple Mount Lobby".

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the gathering: "In my opinion, our right to the Temple Mount is unshakeable", complaining that "the current status quo…discriminates against the Jewish people."

According to Haaretz, "Erdan's appointment as public security minister marked a turning point" in how police handle "Temple Mount" activists, with the latter claiming that "restrictions against prayer [inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound] are enforced less strictly than in the past."

Meanwhile, Environmental Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin "applauded" the "Temple Mount" activists, saying: "Often you are doing the work that the government doesn't do."

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel urged for the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to be open to Jewish prayer, saying: "End the disgrace, end the wretchedness, end the lack of sovereignty."

Deputy Defence Minister Eli Ben-Dahan similarly told the conference: "We have to call upon the government and Knesset to permit Jewish prayer [in the compound], to make Jewish prayer something normal and permitted."

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely also "urge[d] everyone" to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound if they have not yet done so.

Yesterday marked the first time that this annual conference had been held at the Knesset, and was organised by veteran "Temple Mount" campaigner and Likud MK Yehuda Glick.

Rafael Morris, the founder of the "Return to the Mount" movement, told the conference: "When we can say the Temple Mount is ours and only ours and there isn't room there for anyone else, then we can be victorious in Amona [West Bank outpost], then we can conquer not only the Temple Mount but Jordan and Syria too, and establish a real Jewish state over all the land of Israel."

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