Likud MK denied entry to Temple Mount, again

Feiglin: Denial shows sovereignty of site belongs to Wakf and not Israel; police spread out in e. J'lem to secure peace.

Likud activist Moshe Feiglin at the Kotel 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Likud activist Moshe Feiglin at the Kotel 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
For the second time in one month, newly elected MK Moshe Feiglin of Likud was prevented from entering the Temple Mount Wednesday morning, based on police warnings that his presence would incite violence among Palestinians. On March 4, Feiglin was also stopped from entering the holy site upon demanding entry to the Dome of the Rock, stating he was exercising his rights as a Knesset member.
“Based on indications we had from Palestinians, it was clear his visit would cause disturbances,” said Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“The police prevented him from going on the Temple Mount for his own personal safety and to ensure there was no public disturbance.
This is a standard measure.”
Rosenfeld added that after Feiglin vacated the area, visits to the site resumed as scheduled. Although the Supreme Court has upheld Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, the court allows the police to prevent prayer and other forms of worship if they believe that such activity will cause a public disturbance.
According to Israeli Radio, Feiglin claimed he was denied entry to the site despite having coordinated his visit with security services.
He added that his inability to visit the Temple Mount shows the “sovereignty of the site belongs to the Wakf [Muslim religious administration] and not to Israel.”
Meanwhile, Feiglin’s repeated attempts to enter the holy Muslim site were uniformly denounced by several Jews of various denominations visiting the Kotel Wednesday afternoon, and deemed as an unnecessary provocation against Arabs.
Avraham Rosen, an Orthodox Jew from Bayit Vagan, who came to the Wall with his 16-year-old son, Noam, to make a pilgrimage in observance of Passover, said that while he understands why Feiglin attempted to enter the Temple Mount, his actions were inappropriate.
“I think he wants to show that the connection to the Temple Mount with the Jews is still unbroken – even though it is holy to Muslims as well,” said Rosen. “He’s trying to make a point that the mount is still ours. But [Feiglin] is taking a dangerous risk.”
Rosen added that he, and the vast majority of rabbis, believe that it is inappropriate for Jews to attempt to enter the Temple Mount because based on Jewish law, they are considered “impure” to visit it until the Messiah comes.
“It’s a complicated issue religiously, so one should try to take great pains not to go there if one is a religious or secular Jew,” he said.
A rabbi near the Temple Mount’s entrance, who requested anonymity, said he concurred with Rosen’s sentiments, adding that he viewed Feiglin’s actions as a provocation of the Arab community.
“Maybe a lot of people feel the way [Feiglin] feels, but the way he’s going about it is wrong,” he said. “We have to think about how the world will judge such a provocation and ask ourselves what purpose it will serve? How will it help us as Jews?” Avi, a secular Jew who requested his last name not be published, said Feiglin’s actions were clearly meant to incite hatred among Arabs.
“I’m on the left side of the political map and believe there’s no question that this was a provocation. He’s a provocateur – this is what he does,” said Avi. “It’s just the way [Feiglin’s] mind works – he knows it’s a mistake, but he still does it.”
Shlomo, an Orthodox Jew who came to the Wall with his wife and infant son, and requested that his last name not be published, also expressed his disapproval over Feiglin’s attempts to enter the Temple Mount.
“I disagree with what he’s doing,” he said. “I think we have better things to do than upset Arabs. We don’t need to find excuses to [anger] them. We can prove to them that it’s our land without getting the whole Arab world upset. We have to be a voice of reason.”
Meanwhile, MK Aisaoi Farij (Meretz), issued a stronglyworded statement Wednesday condemning Feiglin’s actions.
“The prime minister wants to run a country, but he can’t control his own party members,” wrote Farij. “This is what Feiglin came to the Knesset to do – to provoke, incite violence and get headlines.
In the meantime, Netanyahu cannot try to sell us his peace speech while allowing extremists in his own party to run wild and try to incite violence during the Holiday of Freedom,” referring to the nickname for Passover.
Farij continued, “I want to stress that it is important to respect freedom of religion, even for Moshe Feiglin – but you have to balance this right and to restrict it if it’s done to incite violence and hatred.”
Feiglin has previously vowed to beseech the Knesset’s legal adviser to determine the “issue of sovereignty” and ensure police are enforcing the correct laws.
The Wakf Muslim religious trust, which administers the Temple Mount, is fiercely opposed to any non-Muslim prayer at the site, however, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), visited the Temple Mount on Monday without incident.
Feiglin could not be reached for comment.
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.