First cabinet member enters Temple Mount after 3 years as PM lifts ban


Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 8, 2018. (Courtesy)
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel the first to make use of new decision letting MKs visit flashpoint Jerusalem holy site once every 3 months; calls for completely free access

By Michael Bachner and TOI staff | The Times of Israel

An Israeli minister on Sunday entered the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the first such visit since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lifted a three-year ban on lawmakers entering the flashpoint holy site.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel of the religious right-wing Jewish Home party became the first lawmaker to make use of the permit and entered the compound, the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam, at the beginning of non-Muslim visitation hours shortly after 7 a.m.

Ariel last week welcomed the prime minister’s decision, but said that it did not go far enough.

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