Netanyahu assesses allowing ministers and MKs to visit Temple Mount

According to the committee’s decision, the only restriction on lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount would be that they coordinate with the police ahead of time.

March 27, 2017 22:45
2 minute read.
Orthodox man stands facing the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Jerusalem Temple Mount. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Monday to assess past policy which disallowed lawmakers and ministers to visit the Temple Mount.

According to a Channel 2 news report, the measure will only come into force after considering the security situation in three months time, once the Jewish holidays and the Muslim month of Ramadan month have passed, which could spark violence.

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It was reported that Netanyahu met on Monday with security personnel, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Nadav Argaman and Jerusalem District police chief Yoram Halevy, to assess the measure.

The Knesset Ethics Committee decided in January to lift the ban prohibiting MKs from entering the area.

According to the committee’s decision, the only restriction on lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount would be that they coordinate with the police ahead of time.

In response to the move, MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), a Temple Mount activist, said he was saddened to think it was only his threat of petitioning the Supreme Court on the matter that pushed the prime minister to act.

“In the past 10 months, I was acting in every possible way to lift the ban on MKs visiting the Temple Mount,” he said. “I was discussing it with the attorney-general, the Knesset attorney-general and other senior figures.

“I am saddened to think that only my threat to file a petition to the Supreme Court brought to the decision that was revealed tonight,” he added. “As it wasn’t justified to bar MKs from visiting the Temple Mount – against every basic law and legal immunity – I do not understand why three more months are needed to open the gates of the complex, preventing me and others to do the mitzva of ascending the Temple Mount.”

Glick then stressed that he will file a petition that will prevent further delay on the matter and called on all visitors of the place to be coordinated with police.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel reiterated Glick’s criticism and wrote in his Twitter account that “The delay is unacceptable. Visiting Temple Mount should be allowed immediately.”

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi said that this decision by the prime minister does not apply to him, as Tibi never took into consideration decisions made by the government regarding the Temple Mount.

“The decision whether we visit or not was never in Netanyahu’s hands, said Tibi, who is also the chairman of the Jerusalem committee of the party. “Al-aksa mosque is a Muslim prayer mosque only, and the people who are inciting and fanning the flames here are Netanyahu’s friends and supporters – a group of right-wing politicians that are entering the compound.”

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