Netanyahu bars Feiglin from Temple Mount

Feiglin: The government has handed over sovereignty of the Temple Mount to the Muslim Wakf.

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)
In a move certain to inflame tensions within his own party, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday banned fellow Likud member Moshe Feiglin from entering the Temple Mount, citing security concerns.
“Several minutes ago I received a phone call from Cmdr. Moshe Bareket, who informed me that due to a direct order from the prime minister, I will not be allowed entrance to the [Temple] Mount tomorrow,” Feiglin wrote on his Facebook page Sunday evening.
“The prime minister has no legal authority to give such an order, as it contradicts the [Israeli constitution],” said Feiglin, who goes to the Temple Mount on the 19th of every Jewish month.
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 disturbance of public order.
Indeed, according to a source at the Prime Minister’s Office who requested anonymity, Netanyahu’s decision to ban Feiglin from visiting the holy site was made in conjunction with security personnel and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
“After being briefed by security services and learning that there is a real threat to public security, it was decided not to authorize MK Feiglin to visit the Temple Mount,” the official said. “That decision took place in coordination with the attorney general.”
In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Feiglin said he was dubious of the prime minister’s security rationale.
“Talking about national security is a nice way to hide the truth, which no one can run away from – and that is that the government of Israel has handed over Israel sovereignty to the Muslim Wakf,” said Feiglin, referring to the religious body that oversees the Temple Mount.
“If the Wakf can decide who can go on the Temple Mount and who cannot, and the prime minister goes along with it, it means that Israel gave away sovereignty on the Temple Mount to [them].
There’s no other way to understand it.”
Feiglin asserted that despite numerous previous altercations with security personnel at the site, he posed no security threat, and that by barring him, Netanyahu is ostensibly capitulating to the Muslim organization.
“I can understand if there were [imminent] threats or rioting why [Netanyahu] would want me not to go there, but when that’s not the case, and you’re saying it a day before [I go], you’re crumbling from threats,” he said.
“Here comes a member of Knesset with all the rights and laws behind him to go to the Temple Mount and the Muslim Wakf threatens the Israeli government and the government [in turn] becomes a servant of the Wakf,” Feiglin continued.
“There’s a famous quote we had in the 1967 War, which was that the Temple Mount was in our hands when we liberated Jerusalem, and it’s not true anymore,” he said.
The Likud MK added that he was particularly troubled by Weinstein’s collaboration with Netanyahu in the decision.
“It’s ridiculous to me because I didn’t hear a single word about how this [demand] can be carried out from a legal point of view,” said Feiglin. “Instead [Weinstein] attacked me with lies by trying to say my behavior is what brought about the decision. But he didn’t say what was illegal about my behavior. And considering his behavior, he should be the last person criticizing me.”
In a letter to Netanyahu, the Joint Management of Temple Mount Organizations beseeched the prime minister Monday to immediately revoke the order preventing Feiglin from going to the site.
“We fear that this step will give our enemies the tools to continue their incitement to violence and the violation of the Jewish freedom of worship in our capital,” the letter stated.
It continued, “If you think there is a fear that his ascent to the Temple Mount would endanger the public order, it is required that you instruct the numerous security personnel who are scattered all over the Temple Mount area to provide MK Moshe Feiglin with full protection of his liberty and of his immunity as a member of the Knesset.”
In response to the controversy, Likud-Beytenu coalition chairman Yariv Levin’s spokesman issued a statement supporting Feiglin’s right to visit the Temple Mount.
“MK Levin turned to the Knesset today to find an arrangement that will ensure that any MK can exercise his right, under immunity, to go anywhere in Israel, including the Temple Mount,” it said.