Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and a group of right-wing activists were besieged by hundreds of Arab youths incensed by the politician’s visit to the Temple Mount on Thursday morning, forcing police to remove him and his guests from the holy site.
Several of the youths in the mob threw stones at the group shortly before 8 a.m., resulting in two arrests. No one was injured during the melee, police said.
Reached by phone, Feiglin, who said he coordinated the visit in advance with police and other officials, accused the Wakf Islamic religious trust, which oversees the compound, of aiding and abetting his attackers.
“The Muslim Wakf is paying people to be on the mountain only when Jews go up to scare them and attack them,” he said. “I believe they were waiting specifically for me.”
Feiglin condemned police tolerance of Muslim rioting at the site and the government’s abdication of full sovereignty there.
“After the attack, [the police] sent the Jews out and gave the violent Muslims a prize, which is sad,” he said. “If there is a reason that the Temple Mount is a powder keg, it is because even today it has been proven that violence pays. Weakness invites more violence.”
Feiglin commended the Israel Police for their handling of the volatile situation, but added that removing Jews from the site is “inviting the continuation of violence and escalation.”
Feiglin, who initiated what may be the first Knesset hearing over reclaiming Jewish sovereignty of the site last month, has a long record of altercations there.
The frequently violent Arab response to Jewish visitation rights to the Temple Mount has a history dating back to when the Wakf was given oversight following the Six Day War in 1967.
Although the Supreme Court upheld Jewish prayer rights on the site, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship there if they believe such activity will incite a “disturbance to the public order.”
Right-wing Israeli politicians and activists continue to demand that the government assert control over the area and allow greater access to members of all religions.