Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who called Monday for Israeli Arab protesters to move to Gaza and the West Bank, is being pressed hard from the right as he confronts what may be the biggest threat of his political career.
For nearly a century, Jordan has had stewardship over Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site. Prime Minister Netanyahu has reiterated that Israel has no plans to change the status quo there.
The city's light rail system runs roughly along the dividing line between the city's Jewish and Arab sectors. Wednesday's attack by a Palestinian driver who was shot dead by police has helped raise tensions to their highest level in a decade.
An assassination attempt of a rabbi, a provocative visit by an Israeli MP, and a Palestinian leader saying Israeli moves are tantamount to a "declaration of war" have Jerusalem at its most perilous moment since the end of the second intifada.
A disputed holy site was the immediate focus of the Jerusalem tensions, which spiked after the attack on a Jewish activist and the killing of his suspected assailant. But a new generation of Palestinian protesters has been in the streets for weeks.
Killing the men is unlikely to restore the quiet that prevailed before the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, given the escalation of violence and declining faith among Palestinians in a peaceful path to end the conflict.