Jewish people must be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount during the High Holy Days and Succot, lawmakers in the Knesset Interior Committee said on Wednesday.
Deputy Jerusalem District Police commander Dep.-Ch. Avshalom Peled said Jews would be allowed to visit the Temple Mount in the upcoming months, but there were public safety considerations.
“There is a government instruction to allow Jews on the Temple Mount, and it must be implemented,” said Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud).
Regev added that in extreme cases, such as when there were riots, the site should be closed to everyone, not just non-Muslims.
She also suggested that Jews and Muslims be completely separated on the mount.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) agreed, recommending that there be a 100-meter empty buffer zone between Jews and Muslims at the site.
MK David Tsur (Hatnua), who was chairman of a subcommittee to examine the status of the Temple Mount, proposed that Jews and Muslims be allowed on the site at different times.
Activist Yehuda Glick described Muslim rioting on the Temple Mount, which he said had reached its peak on Ramadan’s Laylat al-Qadr, which Muslims believe is the night the first verses of the Koran were revealed to Muhammad.
On that night, Glick said, “there was a pogrom on the Temple Mount.”
Videos posted online during the July 24 holiday showed Arab rioters looting the police station in the area and burning its contents. Rioters also replaced the Israeli flag atop the police station with a Palestinian flag. Police left the station when the violent mob approached.
Feiglin told police representatives at the meeting that “there is no status quo [for Israeli authority] on the Temple Mount, and you are allowing the next murder to happen.”
Tsur recommended that the police not allow anyone who participated in rioting to return to the site.
“I see the mount as a place meant for prayer, not riots,” he said.
Peled said that 492 people had been arrested after the police station was vandalized, and 188 of them had been indicted and would remain in custody until legal proceedings were concluded.
As for the officers’ absence from the station at the time, Peled said there had been an agreement that they would leave during certain holidays.