TEL AVIV – The Israel Police’s most recent security assessment may allow Israeli lawmakers and cabinet ministers to resume visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem a year after a ban was implemented, although no final decision has been made.
Shortly after the outbreak of the current wave of violence in October 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred cabinet ministers and MKs from ascending the holy site.
According to Israel Hayom, a new set of guidelines from the police may allow for the resumption of such visits in a limited capacity.
“Netanyahu will convene security officials and consult with them, and will subsequently determine whether a new policy should be devised,” a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said Tuesday, adding that “until such a decision is made, the current policy stands.”
Were visits to be resumed, MKs would be required to inform the police in advance and would not be allowed to make speeches at the site. MKs would also be prohibited from being accompanied by security guards and the media.
MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), a prominent activist for Jewish rights to the Temple Mount, urged the government to reverse the ban.
“I call on MKs who will ascend the Mount to make sure to follow police instructions and behave responsibly, and thus contribute to turning the place into a world center for peace, and not take advantage of the ascension,” he said.
Several Arab MKs did ignore the ban. “We do not agree to have the prime minister and police commissioner be the ones to decide whether we, as Muslims, can enter a mosque or not,” MK Ahmed Tibi, the head of the Joint List’s Jerusalem Committee, said.
“We do not accept the outrageous equivalency made between extremist Jewish MKs, who come to incite, and Muslim MKs, whose presence in the mosque is natural,” he added.
Jewish visitors are prohibited from entering the Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. They are permitted to visit certain areas of the compound at specified hours only, and must refrain from praying or taking part in any other activity considered a “provocation.”