THE TEMPLE MOUNT in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Responding to attempts by MKs to visit the Temple Mount, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein reiterated on Thursday that the ban against lawmakers visiting the site remains in place.
“It still is not permissible to ascend the Temple Mount,” Edelstein wrote in an email to all 120 lawmakers. “There is no change in this stance.”
The reminder was a reiteration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s order, in place since November 2015.
The state had planned to respond to the Supreme Court early this month to a petition by MK Yehudah Glick
(Likud) that seeks to open the Temple Mount to visits by politicians for five days, beginning on July 23, as a pilot program, but no official announcement has been made to that effect.
Glick’s office declined to comment on Edelstein’s reminder.
Last week, three Israeli Arabs shot and killed two Israeli policemen on the Temple Mount after which the site was closed for the weekend before reopening with metal detectors
at all entrances.
There has long been a metal detector at the one entrance through which Jews are allowed to enter the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
Muslim worshipers have been protesting since, sometimes violently, in the Old City, refusing to enter and pray at the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount until the metal detectors are removed.
Several Joint List MKs participated in the demonstration.
Netanyahu said Wednesday the metal detectors are meant to prevent further terrorist attacks and keep weapons off the Temple Mount, and are not a change of the status quo.
According to the status quo, the Jordanian Islamic Trust, known as the Wakf, manages the site, while Israel controls and secures access to it. In addition, non-Muslim visitors may not pray while on the Temple Mount.
After visiting the Old City, Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman said: “The right-wing government is looking for an escalation.”
“The drastic steps the government of Israel is taking are unprecedented and severely harm the way of life of Palestinian residents of the occupied city of east Jerusalem.
Security forces turned the Old City into a closed military zone, violating all the customs and international laws,” she said. “Israel is collectively punishing the Palestinians, which will lead to more cycles of bloodshed and great harm to the nations of the region.”