Police patrol near the Temple Mount 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Knesset Interior Committee scheduled a hearing for Monday regarding
preparations for Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount over
Groups lobbying for Jewish prayer rights at the site criticized
the lack of access afforded to them over Rosh Hashana and are demanding that
Jewish visits over Succot be enabled by police.
Access was restricted on
the first day of Rosh Hashana and the site was closed on the second day to
Jewish and other non-Muslim visitors when non-Muslims are generally not given
In general, access for Jews and other non-Muslims is strictly
controlled, and police prohibit any non-Muslim prayer at the site as well as any
outward demonstrations of religious worship, in accordance with the demands of
the Jordanian Islamic trust, or Wakf, which administers the area.
Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin, a longtime Temple Mount prayer rights
advocate, is insisting that, in light of the problems encountered over Rosh
Hashana, police must prepare adequately for Jewish access over
The MK highlighted specifically the closure of the Temple Mount
to Jews and non-Muslims over the last two weeks of Ramadan. In light of this
policy, exclusive Jewish access should be provided by police during Succot, he
Feiglin also intends to publicly question the legality of the
Wakf and its authority to administer the Temple Mount.
He recently sent a
letter to the police, asking for clarification regarding the legal authority of
the body, and subsequently challenged the reply that a government decision taken
after the Six Day War authorized the Wakf to continue running the
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no such decision, and from a
reading of the words of the ministerial committee in 1968, it is clear that they
thought there was no such agreement,” Feiglin wrote to Insp.-Gen. Yohanan
Feiglin quoted then-justice minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira, who
said at a committee meeting in June 1968: “We never announced that the entirety
of the Temple Mount belongs to the Arabs.
We never announced that it is
forbidden for Jews to pray there. We never announced that it is forbidden for
Jews to establish a synagogue there.”
Feiglin wrote that in the absence
of such a decision, “all directives which discriminate between Muslims and non-
Muslims regarding entrance to the [Temple] Mount should be immediately
rescinded, and free entrance from all gates to the Mount be enabled, in
accordance with the law.”
The MK also demanded that all Wakf stewards be
removed from the site and raised questions about the Wakf’s legal status –
questions, which he plans to raise at Monday’s committee hearing.
claims the Wakf is not a registered institute in any state framework and
therefore does not pay the appropriate taxes and national insurance
contributions as required by law.
“It seems to me that this is a badge of
shame for the Israel Police force to cooperate with this criminal organization
and for its police officers to respond to the whims of its officials,” wrote