The Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Amid increased visits by Jews to the Temple Mount over the intermediate days of Passover, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said on Wednesday that Jews who ascend to the Temple Mount are instigating war.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Gafni said that, according to religious law, there is a prohibition that prevents Jews from visiting the site until a new temple is built.
Gafni attributed the destruction of the Second Temple during Roman times to a similar failure to observe these religious bans.
The MK cited these violations as a serious problem that afford Muslim extremists a world audience in which they can blame Israel for things "that appear far more grievous than they actually are."
Gafni argued that the need to ascend to the historical site is unnecessary. "Israel is the only sovereign power in Jerusalem and therefore the need to visit the Temple Mount is superfluous and stupid."
The issue of Jews going up to the Temple Mount has been a particular source of tension of late, after two Muslim men were arrested on the Temple Mount on Tuesday for attacking a group of Jewish visitors, and nine Jews were removed from the site for breaching security protocols.
Video footage from Arab media emerged shortly after the incident showing the two Muslims assault the small group of Jews shortly after entering the compound. Seconds later, Border Police officers subdued the assailants following a wild melee.
This came after the Jordanian Media Affairs Minister Muhammad al-Momani accused “Israeli settlers and police” of flagrantly violating international laws and conventions by “storming al-Aksa Mosque” on Monday.
In response to these allegations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly and categorically denied accusations that Israel intends to alter the status quo at the site, which allows unlimited Muslim prayer and limited Jewish visitation.Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.