JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s internal security minister made an unannounced visit to the Temple Mount compound.
Yitzhak Aharonovitch entered the Al-Aksa Mosque during his two-hour tour to review police positions in the volatile area.
A spokesman for Aharonovitch, who is a member of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party, told Reuters that the visit was coordinated with the Muslim Waqf, which is charged with caring for the site. But the Waqf foundation told Ynet that the visit was a "provocative entry to the holy site, which may complicate the sensitive situation."
Some claimed that a visit to the Temple Mount nine years ago by Ariel Sharon, when he was a candidate for prime minister, sparked the second Palestinian intifada.
Aharonovitch, accompanied by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen and Jerusalem Police Chief Aharon Franco, reportedly was briefed by officials charged with securing the compound.
Aharonovitch insulted Arab members of the Knesset last week when he used a racial slur to describe a dirty undercover Israeli police officer.