Israel's defense minister has outlawed two Muslim activist groups that have been holding rallies against Jewish visitors at a contentious Jerusalem holy site.

The Defense Ministry says the Mourabitoun and Mourabitat groups have been declared illegal and anyone who organizes or funds them can be prosecuted.

The two are informal movements of mostly Arab women and elderly men who demonstrate when Jews visit the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount. It's revered as Judaism's holiest site and Islam's third-holiest.

Religious Jews have been increasingly visiting the site, seeking to reverse an existing ban on Jewish prayer there. Palestinians say Israel is encroaching on the site.

Wednesday's ministry's statement says the activists seek to undermine Israel's sovereignty over the site by provoking visitors.