Eleven Israelis were killed in three separate attacks over the last week, marking one of the worst periods of terrorism in Israel in recent history. As the Israeli security establishment scrambles to respond, masses of Palestinians congregate at the Temple Mount in preparation for the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim month of ‘piety’ that has become a period of increased Islamic violence in recent years.
At the request of police officials, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the voluntary call-up of 300 Border Police reservists to bolster the current supplement. The order is valid for 30 days.
This is in addition to Gantz’s order on Wednesday to deploy 1,000 soldiers to reinforce the police. He justified these measures, saying that Israel is under a “murderous terror onslaught.”
“We are taking offensive and defensive actions,” Gantz said “If necessary, we will recruit thousands of reservists who will flood the streets and operate wherever operational activity is required.”
The IDF rarely resorts to reservists as it requires pulling civilians from their daily lives and they are paid at a substantially higher rate than conscripts.
“Whatever it takes, we will break this wave of terror. We will bring back peace and stability in a forceful, smart and responsible manner,”
In addition, the government approved NIS 181 million ($56.6 million) for the immediate recruitment of 200 Border Police non-commissioned officers, the establishment of a reserve Border Police company. The money will also go towards the procurement of 6,500 bulletproof vests, 4,000 helmets, and 40 motorcycles. The funding will also go towards bolstering the police’s volunteer apparatus.
The Prime Minister’s Office said NIS 111 million ($35 million) will be transferred immediately, and the rest by the end of August.
According to the Walla news site, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev originally requested NIS 250 million ($78 million) in emergency funding for the police.
This week, the police requested to limit the entry to the Temple Mount for Arab residents of Judea and Samaria during the first week of Ramadan which begins on Saturday night to those over the age of 60. Some ministers suggested Israel place Judea and Samaria on lockdown or take other measures to restrict Palestinian access to Jerusalem’s Old City. These requests were rejected at the security cabinet meeting on Wednesday night.
Instead, Israel will issue additional entry permits for elderly Muslim worshipers to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, expand the hours of such permits, and implement other measures aimed at easing freedom of movement for Palestinians.
Over 3,000 police officers will be posted around Jerusalem, with estimations that at least 400,000 people will visit Al-Aqsa during the course of the Muslim holy month.
Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said that Jewish visits to the Temple Mount during Ramadan will still be allowed but they will be limited. It should be noted that there have never been any incidents of Jewish violence at Judaism’s holiest site whereas the site has been used by Arabs as a launching point for riots and terrorist attacks.
After a rare meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II in Ramallah on Monday, the king threatened that the violence will increase if freedom of movement for Palestinians is not maintained during Ramadan.
At the same time, PM Bennett announced that the government would increase the number of permits for Gazans to work in Israel by an additional 8,000, bringing the total to 20,000 permits. This announcement came after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Palestinian Authority officials.
This sentiment was echoed by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid who warned against anger targeting Arabs.
“Terror’s purpose is not only to murder innocents but also to set us against each other in hatred and anger so that Israeli society will be undermined and dismantled from within through an exchange of accusations that would lead to internal violence,” Lapid said. “Terrorists want to see violent riots on the streets of Israel. We must not allow terrorists to determine our policies” or to “tear us apart from within,” Lapid said.
In addition, the Palestinian leaders announced that they are planning three large protests in Judea and Samaria. Israeli security officials have said that they fear mass casualties at the demonstrations could lead to widespread unrest.
At a Security Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi warned that the current wave of terrorist attacks in Israel could spread to Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.
“There is a real concern that the copycat effect could lead to efforts to hit Israeli and Jewish targets around the world,” Channel 13 quoted him as saying.