Arab, Jewish MKs to visit Temple Mount at separate times

The visitation allowance - a single day - is a pilot test after legislators were banned from the compound nearly 2 years ago.

August 27, 2017 21:31
2 minute read.
Orthodox man stands facing the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

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


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Knesset Security Officer Yosef Griff set rules for lawmakers intending to visit the Temple Mount on Tuesday.

MKs will be allowed to visit the holy site for one day, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned them from in October 2015. The one-day pilot comes ahead of the government’s deadline to respond to Likud MK Yehudah Glick’s petition to the Supreme Court against the ban, which is due next month.

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In a letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post Sunday, which was sent to lawmakers Thursday, they were told they must give Knesset security at least 24 hours notice before they go to the Temple Mount, and the Police Commissioner or Jerusalem Police Commander must authorize the visit according to the up-to-date security situation.

Lawmakers will not be permitted to make speeches or give media interviews during the visit, and they will not be able to hold meetings or discussions in the offices of the Jordanian Wakf Muslim religious trust, which administers the site. They also cannot accompany well known visitors from Israel or abroad to the Temple Mount or be accompanied by the media. The visiting MKs may not carry weapons.

Jewish legislators will be allowed to visit Judaism’s holiest site between 7:30- 11:00 a.m. on the regular, limited path for non-Muslim visitors, and will have to follow the rules set for all non-Muslims, including no prayer.

Muslim lawmakers will be able to enter the Mount from 12:00 pm until the site is closed, and they are free to pray in the mosque as all Muslim visitors are.

Last week, Glick called on lawmakers to behave themselves during the oneday pilot. The Likud MK, an advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount who survived an assassination attempt connected to his activism, hoped that it would not be a one-time thing, and that lawmakers would once again be able to regularly visit the holy site.

“Everyone who ascends the mount, please show responsibility and respect the dignity and holiness of the site, listen to police instructions and dedicate our ascendance only to worthy causes,” he wrote to all 120 MKs. “It would be appropriate for our political arguments to be left off the Mount and reserved for the Knesset, the media and our public and political activities... Let’s respect all visitors to the Mount, Jews and non-Jews, each in their own way and custom.”

Glick added that if lawmakers behave respectfully, “the place will fulfill its purpose to be a world center for peace and to call out the name of the one God.”

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