Naftali Bennett Stakes Israel's Claim to Temple Mount

Tells Presidents Conference More Jewish Control Needed

getty images

By Forward Staff

Published February 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Right wing leader Naftali Bennett reportedly told American Jewish leaders Monday that Israel wants more control over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a holy site that has long been a contentious point with the Muslim world.

Bennett, who is a key player in Benjamin Netanyahu’s shaky coalition government, told the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations that his goal is to exercise greater Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem would “ultimately influence the eastern side of Jerusalem, and that will include the Temple Mount,” Haaretz reported.

While acknowledging the “sensitivity” of the site, Bennett said Jews need to have more access to the holy site — and suggested that would come with more Israeli control.

“Unfortunately, the Temple Mount today doesn’t allow for the full exercise of freedom of religion, and there is discrimination against Jews there,” he said. “But we have to be very careful when dealing with the Temple Mount because of the huge sensitivity of the site.”

The Old City site is now run by a Muslim organization called the waqf. Israel seized the Temple Mount and the rest of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and has since annexed it.

The rest of the world does not recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli action and Palestinians plan to establish the capital of a future state in East Jersualem.

Bennett rejects any compromise with the Palestinians on Jerusalem and says the holy city’s problems would be solved by “gradually increasing the exercise of law in all of Jerusalem.” H

The right wing leader insisted Jewish West Bank settlements weren’t undermining U.S. efforts to strike a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, calling the ongoing 47-year occupation a “land dispute.”

“There’s a land dispute, that’s no secret, but it’s no occupation because you can’t occupy your own home,” he said, according to the paper. “The Palestinians living in Judaea and Samaria aren’t going anywhere, and the Jews aren’t going anywhere.”

Despite his sharp differences, Bennett defended peace mediator John Kerry against charges of anti-Semitism.

“America’s our friend, our biggest friend, but we can agree not to agree,” he said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.