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