The ban imposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on visits by government ministers and Knesset members to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount lasted three straight years, barring some experimental interruptions in 2017. Netanyahu’s decision at the time was prompted by riots at the site and the so-called individual Palestinian intifada, which broke out in the fall of 2015. The murder of Alexander Levlovich in September 2015 and the murders of Eitam and Naama Henkin in the West Bank in October 2015 signaled the beginning of the intifada.
The tension in Jerusalem was intense, and the Palestinians accused Israel of seeking to change the status quo at the Temple Mount complex. Netanyahu feared that the Palestinians would view visits by right-wing ministers and Knesset members as provocations, engendering further violence. And so, he rightly issued the ban. Since then, the political right has applied relentless pressure on Netanyahu to lift it.