Hardline MK Feiglin ejected from Dome of the Rock

Feiglin insists his position as MK gives him right to enter; Temple Mount closed to visitors after incident.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
March 4, 2013 10:25
2 minute read.
Likudnik Moshe Feiglin at the Kotel

Likud activist Moshe Feiglin at the Kotel 390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Jerusalem police removed MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) from the Temple Mount on Monday morning after the politician demanded entry to the Dome of the Rock, saying he was exercising his rights as a Knesset member.

As Feiglin argued with members of the Muslim Waqf, the religious body that oversees the administration of the Temple Mount, a group of Muslim worshipers gathered around him and his entourage and began yelling “Allahu Akbar!” at the group. Police dispersed the protesters without arrests.

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Following the altercation, police closed the Temple Mount to visitors. According to Feiglin, he asked to enter the Dome of the Rock and was turned away by both the Waqf official and a police officer.

“I explained to the police officer that according to the law they cannot stop a Knesset Member from entering an area, and clearly not an area that is open to other citizens,” Feiglin wrote on his Facebook page.

“The officer’s answer was astounding – ‘This area belongs to the Muslim Waqf.’ Yes, here it is, in the heart of the Land of Israel, the place of the Holy of Holies, is under Muslim sovereignty – simply because no Jewish foot has stepped there because of its holiness.”

In the past the Dome of the Rock has occasionally been open to non-Muslims and tourists – depending on the security situation at the time – but around two years ago the area became accessible to Muslims only.

Feiglin goes to the Temple Mount on the 19th of every Jewish month. This is his fourth incident involving an altercation there over the past year. In January, days after the Likud Beytenu campaign asked him to avoid provocations ahead of the election, police detained Feiglin for prostrating himself at the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said in January police and the state attorney were debating whether or not to serve Feiglin with an indictment for disrupting the peace because of his monthly antics at the Temple Mount.

Since Feiglin was elected to the Knesset on January 22, he will most likely not be indicted, as any such move would have to be cleared by the Knesset’s legal adviser, a complicated process, explained Ben- Ruby.

Feiglin was quick to point out on Monday that he did not want to advocate for all Jews to attempt to gain access to the Dome of the Rock.

“There is a difference between myself as a member of Knesset and the general public, but from what happened this morning it is clear that we’re losing Jewish sovereignty on the Mount and we must all vote with our legs in order to change the situation,” he wrote.

Feiglin vowed to turn to the Knesset’s legal adviser to determine the “issue of sovereignty” and ensure police are enforcing the correct laws.


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