77 Percent of Israelis Oppose Removal of Har HaBayis Security Apparatus

metal detectors
Heavy machinery begins removing the metal detectors at the entrance to Har HaBayis early Tuesday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

A large majority of Israelis disagree with the government decision to remove security measures from Har HaBayis. A poll broadcast on Channel Two showed that 77 percent of a representative sample of Israelis polled considered the removal of the body scanners and metal detectors from the entrances to Har HaBayis as “surrendering to terror.”

The poll, taken by the Midgam group on behalf of Channel Two, showed that 68 percent of Israelis believed that installing the security equipment was the proper reaction to the murder of two Israeli police officers a week and a half ago. The security measures were installed after terrorists who killed the police officers at the Lion’s Gate of Yerushalayim’s Old City ran away from pursuing officers and took refuge in mosques on Har HaBayis, where they had hidden weapons for the anticipated firefight with Israeli security officers.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who in polls last week had shown a strong increase in popularity, suffered a major blow. Only 23 percent of those polled said they were satisfied with the way Netanyahu handled the matter; 67 percent said they were not. A poll last Friday showed that Netanyahu had strengthened considerably in the midst of the crisis. According to the poll taken by the Geocartigrafia polling group on behalf of Channel Ten, the Likud would get 32 seats – eight more than the 24 it has in the current Knesset.

In another blow to the government, the High Court ruled Tuesday that the bodies of the three terrorists who killed Israeli police officers Ha’il Satawi and Kamil Shanan in the Har HaBayis terror attack must be returned to their families. Muhammad Jabrin, 29, Muhammad Abd-Allatif Jabrin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdel Jabrin, 19 – all relatives from Umm el-Faham – are Israeli citizens, the court said, and as such they were subject to laws that covered all Israelis. Unless and until the Knesset passes legislation that the government can hold onto bodies of Israeli Arab terrorists, as it does Palestinian Authority terrorists, the bodies needed to be released for burial. Police do have the right to set conditions on the funerals, such as limiting the number of attendees.

Commenting on the decision, Jewish Home chairperson MK Shuli Muaellem Refaeli said that “the High Court is once again interfering in the decision-making process of the security establishment. These terrorists not only murdered Israeli police officers, but also created a major international diplomatic incident. Returning the bodies will allow the terror organizations to turn the funerals into a carnival of anti-Israel incitement and their graves into an inspiration for further attacks.”

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