JERUSALEM — This combustible city at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been edging toward a new conflagration, with politicians on both sides stoking religious fervor over an ancient Jerusalem shrine sacred to Muslims and Jews.

After months of escalating violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday made a clear try to cool tempers, saying he won’t allow changes to a long-standing ban on Jewish worship at the Muslim-run site, despite such demands from ultranationalists in his coalition.

Netanyahu’s reassurances to Muslims came just days after the religious feud over the Old City shrine, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, threatened to spin out of control.

Israel closed the compound for a day last week, a rare move, after a Palestinian shot and wounded a prominent activist who has campaigned for more Jewish access to the site.

Angered by the closure, Jordan, the custodian of the mosque compound, warned it might seek diplomatic sanctions unless Israel halts what a Jordanian official said were “repeated violations” at the site. The U.S. has urged Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to show restraint.

Feuding over the Old City compound has sparked violence in the past, and both Netanyahu and Abbas seem leery of a new round. “It is very easy to ignite a religious fire, but much harder to extinguish it,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday.

It remains unclear to what extent Netanyahu is willing to clash with coalition members lobbying for a greater Jewish presence at the shrine, the holiest in Judaism as the site of former biblical temples. There’s growing buzz about early elections, and hardline parties are Netanyahu’s natural allies.

On Saturday evening, Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Jewish Home party, a key coalition partner, ignored appeals to tone down the rhetoric. At a rally for Yehuda Glick, the rabbi wounded by the Palestinian gunman last week, Ariel was quoted as saying that “the status quo on the Temple Mount will change.”

Under that status quo, Muslim authorities reporting to Jordan continued to administer the site, home to the Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques, after east Jerusalem’s capture by Israel in 1967. Jews were allowed to visit, but not to pray there.

Abbas also called for calm. “We hope that this quiet will happen and that the status quo … at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be preserved,” he said at a meeting of Palestine Liberation Organization members Sunday.