Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following a deadly terror attack there was based on “pure security” and not political considerations, a former head of Israel’s internal security organization said Thursday.
At a press briefing hosted by The Israel Project, former Shin Bet chief and current Knesset member Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid) described his support for the government’s decision to put metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. While searching the area after the lethal assault, authorities say they found a stockpile of weapons, including a submachine gun.
The security decision was met with opposition by the Palestinians and parts of the Muslim World, who have accused Israel of upsetting the status-quo on the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam. The complex is administered by the Islamic Waqf, a trust based in Jordan, and non-Muslims are strictly forbidden from praying there, bringing non-Islamic religious objects, visiting on certain hours, and using all but one of the site’s entrances. The Waqf has led the opposition to the metal detectors, telling Muslim worshipers not to pray on the Temple Mount until the devices are removed.
MK Perry described the Palestinians’ accusation that Israel is attempting to change the status quo as “an outrage,” adding that “It’s in the interest of everybody—Islam, Judaism, governments, people, Jews and Palestinians—to try to protect these holy places better than they were protected before the act of terror.”
He also observed that “every sensitive holy place in the world is protected. Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the Vatican in Rome…” For example, the Saudi government installed metal and explosives detectors at the Holy Mosque in Mecca in 2011. All visitors to the Western Wall Plaza and those entering the Temple Mount through the Mugrabi Gate—the only entrance open to non-Muslims—are already required to undergo a security check including walking through a metal detector.
MK Perry said that in the aftermath of the terrorist attack last, when weapons “were smuggled or stolen or hidden on the Temple Mount, it’s a must to tighten the security belts and I hope that even the Palestinians…will understand this as well.” He went on to say that “I am 100 percent convinced that this decision is pure security. And it is not a hermetic-proof, not for intelligence and not for physical security means. But after a terrorist act I think that the conclusion to tighten the security belt, to add these electronic gates, was not a political decision but a pure security one.”
A complete recording of Perry’s remarks is embedded below.
[Photo: ILTV ISRAEL DAILY / YouTube ]