The Mayor of Jerusalem has called off a visit to London next week, Jewish News has learnt.
The postponement comes after weeks of escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians that have led to fears over a third intifada.
Israeli soldier Almog Shiloni, 20, and Dalia Lamkus, 26, were both stabbed in death in separate incidents this week.
Hit-and-run drivers have claimed four lives in three weeks, including that of a three-month-old baby, while a Palestinian gunman shot far-right religious nationalist Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for Jewish prayer rights at Temple Mount, home to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
While Glick survived, and his attacker was later killed in a gunfight, far-right politicians, such as Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, have continued to march on Islam’s third holiest site, drawing anger and widespread condemnation. Two Palestinian protestors have been shot dead amid the escalating crisis.
Now Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has cancelled a visit to the UK that had been due to feature a series of engagements including a Friday night dinner organised by the Centre for Jewish Life.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said the visit was potponed due to “the fragile situation in Jerusalem”, adding: “He looks forward to visiting London in the near future.”
CJL co-director Rabbi Yosef Vogel said: “It is obviously understandable that the Mayor is not able to join us. In light of this, we will be using this opportunity for Anglo-Jewry to show solidarity with our peope in Israel and we are grateful to Paralympic gold medallist Noam Gershony who has stepped in to join us for Shabbat.”
Following talks in Jordan involving Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abullah, US Secretary of State John Kerry said a path to easing tensions in the city had been worked out. He added: “The staus quo is clear and the status quo will be maintained,” Kerry said.Extra police have been deployed in Jerusalem today ahead of Friday prayers.