Vowing a harsh response if Hamas acts on threats over Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the mount, lawmaker Zvika Fogel says it would be ‘the last war’ after which ‘we can sit and raise doves and all the other beautiful birds that exist’Share in FacebookShare in Twitter
Far-right lawmaker Zvika Fogel said that should Hamas retaliate over National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Temple Mount visit on Tuesday, Israel would “respond as I think we should, and yes it would be worth it because this will be the last war and after that we can sit and raise doves and all the other beautiful birds that exist.”
The Otzma Yehudit lawmaker’s statement follows the visit of far-right Ben-Gvir to the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa compound on Tuesday morning, which drew threats from Hamas of “explosive violence.” It was Ben-Gvir’s first stop at the contested Jerusalem holy site since he assumed office last week.
Ben-Gvir stated both during and after the election that he wanted to bring about changes to the longstanding religious status quo on the Temple Mount to enable Jews to pray there. On the eve of the election, he stated that he would demand that Netanyahu introduce “equal rights for Jews” on the mountain.
Amid threats from Hamas that such a visit “would lead to an explosion,” the firebrand lawmaker had reportedly agreed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay the visit to the compound.
But a statement from Ben-Gvir declared that “Our government will not submit to Hamas threats. The Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel, and we maintain freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians, but Jews will also go up to the mount.”
The police reported that the minister held a situation assessment with them on Monday evening, at the end of which it was decided to allow his visit to the site “in coordination with the political echelons.” According to the police, the visit to the compound ended “without any unusual incidents.”
Ben-Gvir declared “that times have changed” following his visit, vowing that the Temple Mount “is open to all.”
Ben-Gvir’s party mate Fogel has become Otzma Yehudit’s more prominent firebrand since the election, taking after the party leader’s rhetoric from before he began to self-censor his public comments. Last month, Fogel expressed his desire to scrap the concept of proportionality in an interview with British broadcaster Channel 4, saying that “if it is one Israeli mother crying, or a thousand Palestinian mothers crying, then a thousand Palestinian mothers will cry.”